Chaos and disarray reign supreme in the “Conference of Champions.” Utah beats Stanford, Arizona beats Utah. Cats and birds living together in perfect harmony. Is nothing sacred? For those of us who bristle at the idea of change and want our porridge to taste exactly the same every morning there is always old reliable Oregon to take solace in. Actually, Cal is pretty reliable as well. Everything in between, however, is a lawless anarchy. Bring order to your universe with our power rankings for week 9.
1. Oregon (7-0, 4-0 in Pac-12; last week: 1) The biggest problem facing the Ducks is how to incorporate superstar De’Anthony Thomas into an offense that can’t find enough touches for its playmakers no matter how many plays it runs. It’s not a bad problem to have.
2. Stanford (6-1, 4-1 in Pac-12; last week: 3) For all of one week Stanford wasn’t the conference’s clear No. 2 team. A rugged victory over the Bruins and a number of losses by higher-ranked teams cured the Cardinal’s ailments.
3. Oregon St. (6-1, 4-0; last week: 5) Nobody is playing the “what if” game more than the Beavers, who will be perennially underrated thanks to a season-opening loss to Eastern Washington. Brandin Cooks could stop right now and finish the season as one of the Pac-12’s leaders in receiving.
4. UCLA (5-1, 3-1; last week: 2) The Bruins have talent, everywhere, but Stanford showed that they can still be overwhelmed by a bigger, stronger opponent.
5. Arizona St. (4-2, 2-1; last week: 6) The Sun Devils beat the snot out of a Washington team on the tail end of a brutal three-game stretch. ASU’s offense may not have the household names of other programs, but it’s hard to argue with the results.
6. Southern Cal (4-4, 1-2; last week: 8) This is where the rankings start to get tricky as the teams all have head-to-head examples of why they should be ranked higher or lower than each other. Give the Trojans credit for nearly knocking off Notre Dame on the road.
7. Washington (4-3, 1-3; last week: 7) A bad loss for the Huskies, to be sure. But the UW’s talent and previous success would likely have it favored against the lower-ranked teams on this list on a neutral field.
8. Arizona (4-2, 1-2; last week: 9) Quarterback B.J. Denker is improving and Kadeem Carey is a stud. If the Wildcats can keep it up, they’ll continue to slowly climb this list.
9. Utah (4-3, 1-3 in Pac-12; last week: 4) The Utes had a big jump thanks to an impressive win over Stanford, and now suffer a big drop because of a deflating loss to the Wildcats. Quarterback Travis Wilson may or may not be healthy enough to play this weekend.
10. WSU (4-4, 2-3; last week: 10) A road trip to Autzen went more or less as one would expect. Now the Cougars finally have a desperately-needed bye week to lick their wounds.
11. Colorado (3-3, 0-3; last week: 12) The battle of “who’s worse” continues to rage between Cal and Colorado. The Buffs take pole position this week thanks to an emphatic win over some small college.
12. California (1-6, 0-4; last week: 11) The ecstasy of Cal’s thrilling 37-30 victory over Portland State has faded into a distant memory as the Golden Bears’ long march to the offseason continues.