PULLMAN – Regime change came quickly in the Pac-12, and it does not appear to be a one-year blip, either. It’s Week 9 and the Washington schools have yet to lose a conference game.
Meanwhile, the preseason favorite has already lost three Pac-12 games and perennial contender Oregon has yet to pick up a win.
Take a look at their respective recruiting classes of all those schools. The Northerners will be replacing their talent with more talent, while Stanford and UO will be sending players off to the NFL and replacing them with, well, less-coveted prospects than usual.
Here is my take on how the conference currently stacks up:
1 Washington (7-0, 4-0; last week: No. 1) – Conspiracy theorists are beginning to wonder if the Pac-12 teams have a pact to let UW win so all can share in the playoff payout.
2 USC (4-3, 3-2; last week: No. 2) Yes, other teams have better records. But the Trojans are currently the most dangerous group outside of the Puget Sound.
3 Washington State (5-2, 4-0; last week: No. 4) In Tempe, WSU ended yet another long losing streak as part of its 2016 Revenge Tour.
4 Utah (7-1, 4-1; last week: No. 6) The return of running Joe Williams gives Utah an actual offense and makes the Utes exponentially more dangerous.
5 Colorado (6-2, 4-1; last week: No. 3) It turns out, it is not so important who plays quarterback when you have one of the best defenses around.
6 UCLA (3-5, 1-4; last week: No. 7) The UCLA offense finally shows up and the Bruins still could not get a win.
7 Arizona State (5-3, 2-3; last week: No. 8) So the Sun Devils offense actually looks OK sans quarterback.
8 Stanford (4-3, 2-3; last week: No. 5) It looks like David Shaw’s recruiting is going to have to begin and end with academics.
9 California (4-3, 2-2; last week: No. 11) When the season started, just about everybody probably correctly assumed the Golden Bears would go 1-1 against the Oregon schools. Just about nobody probably correctly guessed which team Cal would beat.
10 Oregon (2-5, 0-4; last week: No. 10) Justin Herbert looked really good at Cal right up until he threw the game-losing interception.
11 Oregon State (2-5, 1-3; last week: No. 9) The Beavers already got their token conference win out of the way, so not a lot to look forward to in Corvallis.
12 Arizona (2-5, 0-4; last week: No. 12) The bye week vacation is over. Back to the Wildcats’ terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year.
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