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Jacob Thorpe’s Pac-12 football power rankings

Week 12 was supposed to be the Pac-12’s lull before the storm, with no ranked teams playing each other, the divisions practically wrapped up already and every game seemingly featuring an obvious favorite and underdog. Instead, chaos reigned on Saturday. The aftermath is that every Pac-12 South team other than Colorado has a shot at the divisional crown. How does this conference stack up anymore? Nobody knows, but here’s our best guess.

1 Oregon (9-1, 6-1; last week: No. 1) Oregon was smart to take off a weekend that saw the teams ranked No. 1, No. 6 and No. 9 knocked off while No. 3 Florida State and No. 4 TCU had to mount furious comebacks to beat unranked opponents.

2 UCLA (8-2, 5-2; last week: No. 3) UCLA may not have appeared to be living up to the preseason hype for most of the season but look who is once again ranked in the Top-10 and about to win the Pac-12 South.

3 Utah (7-3, 4-3; last week: No. 4) Nate Orchard single-handedly blew apart Stanford’s vaunted offensive line, sacking quarterback Kevin Hogan 3 1/2 times and becoming Utah’s all-time single-season sack leader.

4 USC (7-3, 6-2; last week: No. 5) USC has outscored its last two opponents 55-16 in the first half, but the Trojans are going to need to be able to make halftime adjustments against UCLA and Notre Dame.

5 Arizona St. (8-2, 5-2; last week: No. 2) Scholars will debate whether Arizona State’s offense or its pass rush had a more hapless second half, but one group that won’t be arguing over the Sun Devils is the playoff selection committee.

6 Stanford (5-5, 3-4; last week: No. 7) The Cardinal have quickly gone from competing for a national championship to fighting for a conference championship all the way down to fighting for a bowl game.

7 Oregon St. (5-5, 2-5; last week: No. 11) Those plucky Beavers silenced a lot of critics with that win over the Sun Devils but they’ll need to take care of their instate rival to turn this season around.

8 Arizona (8-2, 5-2; last week: No. 6) A team doesn’t get power rankings credit for a victory when its game-winning play at home is the opposing coach’s decision to trust his chart over his eyes.

9 Washington (6-5, 2-5; last week: No. 10) The Huskies nearly overcame a plethora of turnovers and penalties to get a badly needed win in Tucson. But in the end simple math proved to be their undoing.

10 California (5-5, 3-5; last week: No. 8) Poetic justice more or less demands that the Golden Bears knock off Stanford this weekend to cap eyebrow-raising seasons by two teams headed in the opposite directions. So Stanford will probably win by 30.

11 Washington St. (3-7, 2-5; last week: No. 9) The Cougars slide because of solid displays by teams ranked below them during their bye week. Don’t worry; WSU will have plenty of opportunity to climb back up this weekend.

12 Colorado (2-8, 0-7; last week: No. 12) Somehow the seemingly much-improved Buffaloes are practically guaranteed to win half as many games as last season.


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