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Pac-12 power rankings: Arizona continues to surge as Khalil Tate continues to dazzle

UPDATED: Tue., Oct. 31, 2017, 3:46 p.m.

Arizona Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate (14) explodes for a 82-yard run in the second quarter of the college football game between the Washington State Cougars and the Arizona Wildcats on October 28, 2017, at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. (Carlos Herrera / Associated Press)
Arizona Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate (14) explodes for a 82-yard run in the second quarter of the college football game between the Washington State Cougars and the Arizona Wildcats on October 28, 2017, at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. (Carlos Herrera / Associated Press)

By thrashing the Cougars, Arizona became the fifth team in the conference to get bowl-eligible, and as it stands, at six of the other seven could still qualify before the regular season wraps up. The only team guaranteed to be watching bowl season from home at this point is Oregon State, but in the wake of a one-point loss to No. 20 Stanford, the one-win Beavers might be able to spoil the fun for somebody else.

Arizona continues to move up – didn’t we have those guys at No. 11 earlier this year? – and the Cougars slide, while the Huskies retain the top spot in this week’s rankings.

1. Washington (7-1, 4-1; last week: No. 1) – If the Cardinal lose to the Cougars and the Cougars lose to the Utes, it’s possible the Huskies get through the regular season without playing a ranked team. But their closest Pac-12 win? Last weekend’s 21-point rout of UCLA.

2. USC (7-2, 5-1; last week: No. 4) – The Trojans looked like the team we once thought could contend for the CFP. Sam Darnold looked like the quarterback we once thought could win a Heisman.

3. Arizona (6-2, 4-1; last week: No. 6) – Khalil Tate’s month of October by the numbers … 4: Pac-12 Player of the Week honors. 840: rushing yards. 14: all-purpose touchdowns. 4: rushes of 70 yards or longer.

4. Washington State (7-2, 4-2; last week: No. 2) – The Cougars have had some mysterious results on the road, but now they return home to Martin Stadium, which has only produced great moments for Mike Leach’s team in 2017.

5. Stanford (6-2, 5-1; last week: No. 3) – It’s a good thing the Cardinal squeaked past Oregon State, because the Cardinal have a hellish stretch coming up: at No. 25 WSU, vs. No. 12 UW, vs. Cal and vs. No. 5 Notre Dame.

6. Arizona State (4-4, 3-2; last week: No. 5) – On Saturday, the Sun Devils looked more like the team that lost three of its first five than the one that upset Washington and clocked Utah.

7. Oregon (5-4, 2-4; last week: No. 10) – The Ducks broke out of a three-game skid against Utah, but with UW and Arizona on deck, their postseason fate might just rest on that Nov. 25 Civil War game.

8. Utah (4-4, 1-4; last week: No. 7) – A tale of two seasons: the Utes won their first four games, but have fallen in each of their last four. Which team shows up for the final four?

9. Colorado (5-4, 2-4; last week: No. 11) – The Buffs stiff-armed Cal one week after getting the same treatment from WSU a week earlier. Phillip Lindsay (1,254 rushing yards, 10 TDs) is hands-down the offensive MVP of this league in a year without Tate or Love.

10. UCLA (4-4, 2-3; last week: No. 9) – Josh Rosen’s health? Jim Mora’s job security? Both are talking points in Westwood as the Bruins head into the final stretch needing to go .500 to reach a bowl game.

11. Cal (4-5, 1-5; last week: No. 8) – The 34-point win over WSU continues to look like an outlier. Cal has now lost to three times which also sport a loss to the Cougars and the Golden Bears have just one conference win.

12. Oregon State (1-7, 0-5; last week: No. 12) – Oregon State’s season has been one of major disappointment, but no doubt the Beavers are playing some inspired ball under interim coach Cory Hall.


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