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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Power rankings

What a year it was for Pacific 10 Conference football. All 10 teams battled throughout the regular season, earning a nationwide reputation as the toughest conference in the country, only to look outclassed in almost all of their bowl games.

But you can’t let a poor ending sour what was an exciting — even spectacular ­— season of football. Here’s a look at the final power rankings for the 2009 season:

1. Oregon (10-3, 8-1 Pac-10)

Oregon’s offense looked like men among boys for much of the 2009 campaign, slicing and dicing Pac-10 defenses on a regular basis on its way to the Rose Bowl. The Pac-10 Champs didn’t show up for the Grandaddy of ’em all, though, which might not be a bad thing considering the Ducks will return 18 angry starters in 2010, including 10 on offense.

2. Stanford (8-5, 6-3)

The Cardinal gets the award for best turnaround in the conference and is certainly in the conversation for the national award (not a real award, I know). Senior running back Toby Gerhart was the best player in the conference — and maybe the country — and he will be sorely missed next season. But quarterback Andrew Luck and a better recruiting class should keep Stanford in contention. A solid showing against Oklahoma in its bowl game and the retention of head coach Jim Harbaugh all bode well, too.

3. Arizona (8-5, 6-3)

You have to feel for the Wildcats after the way they played against Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. That was Arizona’s chance to become nationally relevant but unfortunately they look like the Arizona football program of old. Despite losing some critical seniors on defense as well as defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, the Wildcats should be ready to go next season, with almost every skill position player returning. Let’s hope the remaining players and staff do enough begging to keep superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski in school for his senior season.

4. USC (9-4, 5-4)

Who knew a nine-win season could be considered such a disgrace? USC can be excited about the development of quarterback Matt Barkley, but let’s be honest: the Trojans won’t be the same without Pete Carroll. The coolest man in college football leaves the coolest job in college football, and now the future of the Pac-10 is as wide open as it’s ever been.

5. Oregon State (8-5, 6-3)

From almost making the Rose Bowl to getting embarrassed in the Las Vegas Bowl, the Beavers had a very up-and-down season. They return a lot of talent next year, though, and considering Mike Riley has declared himself the head coach for the rest of his career, count on Oregon State to be pretty darn good next season.

6. California (8-5, 5-4)

Nobody rode the roller coaster more than the Bears this season, but considering their early struggle and the loss of RB Jahvid Best late in the season, Cal was pretty successful. While Best’s injury hurt the team considerably, it opened doors for younger running backs to get some snaps, and that should work in Cal’s favor next season.

7. UCLA (7-6, 3-6)

Not a very good year for UCLA, but winning a bowl game certainly puts a (very small) cherry on top. Remember when Rick Neuheisel said that UCLA would overtake the balance of power in the City of Angels? That might be happening now, but not because of anything UCLA has done.

8. Washington (5-7, 3-6)

Washington was probably the hardest-playing team in the Pac-10 this season. Winning five games with that schedule and below-average talent is a testament to new head coach Steve Sarkisian. The Huskies should be even better next year thanks to better recruits and Jake Locker, arguably the best quarterback in the country next season.

9. Arizona State (4-8, 2-7)

The defense should be good again, and the offense can only go up. The seat in coach Dennis Erickson’s office is awfully hot, though.

10. Washington State (1-11, 0-9)

2010 mission: win a conference game.

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