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Pac-12 power rankings: Playoff hopes take a hit, but bowling is still plausible for 11 of the 12 teams

UPDATED: Tue., Oct. 24, 2017, 4:12 p.m.

Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush breaks through the Southern California defense as he scrambles during the first half of a game in South Bend last Saturday. (Carlos Osorio / Associated Press)
Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush breaks through the Southern California defense as he scrambles during the first half of a game in South Bend last Saturday. (Carlos Osorio / Associated Press)

The Pac-12 Conference needs some major help if it wants a return trip to the College Football Playoff, and even that may not be enough after USC’s South Bend slipup last weekend. The league might not be represented in Pasadena or New Orleans this year, but three teams are already bowl-eligible and eight others are still gunning for the postseason.

Here’s how we rank the league after eight weeks.

1. Washington (6-1, 3-1; last week: No. 1) – The Huskies, who were idle last weekend, are the ones who now have to shoulder the league’s remaining CFP hopes.

2. Washington State (7-1, 3-1; last week: No. 2) – The Cougars have kept Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay in check, but they aren’t out of the woods yet. Arizona’s Khalil Tate is next, and then it’s Stanford’s Bryce Love.

3. Stanford (5-2, 3-1; last week: No. 3) – The Cardinal may have a case for No. 1, but the losses to USC and San Diego State are looking worse by the week.

4. USC (6-2, 3-1; last week: No. 1) – Now that CFP contention is in the rearview mirror, the Trojans can focus on winning the Pac-12 South. But they might as well forget about that if they can’t beat Arizona State this weekend.

5. Arizona State (4-3, 3-1; last week: No. 7) – The Sun Devils have reinvented themselves on defense and allowed 17 points in their last two games. That comes after conceding 36.4 in their first five.

6. Arizona (5-2, 3-1; last week: No. 6) – An Arizona quarterback winning Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week three weeks in a row? At the start of the season, that would’ve seemed laughable at best.

7. Utah (4-3, 1-3; last week: No. 5) – Had the Wildcats started Tate one week earlier, the Utes would probably be winless in conference play.

8. Cal (4-4, 1-4; last week: No. 8) – Cal’s upset win over the Cougars is looking more and more like an anomaly. The Golden Bears have lost four of their last five.

9. UCLA (4-3, 2-2; last week: No. 9) – Despite all their shortcomings this season, the Bruins still haven’t lost a game at the Rose Bowl.

10. Oregon (4-3, 1-3; last week: No. 10) – The Ducks came into the Washington State game with the nation’s best offense, scoring 49.6 points per game. Sans Justin Herbert, they’ve combined to score 31 in their last three – all losses.

11. Colorado (4-4, 1-4; last week: No. 11) – Of all the things the reigning Pac-12 South champs expected to do this season, holding a midseason quarterback competition probably wasn’t one of them.

12. Oregon State (1-6, 0-4; last week: No. 12) – It is no longer the case of trying to find a game the Beavers can win, but rather one they can be slightly competitive in. Nov. 4 at Cal appears to be that game.


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