PULLMAN – What a boring week of Pac-12 football Week 10 turned out to be. Not a single game was within single digits, nearly half the conference took the week off and the average margin of victory in the four games was five touchdowns.
At least Week 11 holds a little more intrigue, though not for the reason most expected at the start of the year. The Stanford at Oregon looked like it had Rose Bowl implications back in August, now it looks like a good excuse to get in a workout before the evening’s more interesting games.
But ESPN College GameDay is in Seattle for a big game between USC and No. 5 Washington. The Huskies do not exactly look vulnerable, but there may not be a group more underrated than the Trojans right now. And California and Washington State always manage to entertain, provided you can stay up late enough to see them.
1 Washington (9-0, 6-0; last week: No. 1) – Huskies get a dose of bad news before GameDay comes to town – defensive end Joe Mathis is out for the season. The UW pass rush has not been the same without him.
2 USC (6-3, 5-2; last week: No. 3) – The Trojans have looked like a legitimate Pac-12 contender for more than a month. We’ll know if USC is for real after Saturday.
3 Washington State (7-2, 6-0; last week: No. 4) – The Cougars celebrated their first day game in forever by putting together their most dominant conference win in school history. So of course the Cougars are back on the graveyard shift.
4 Utah (7-2, 4-2; last week: No. 2) – Sorry, Utes. You did nothing to deserve a two-spot drop in the rankings. In fact, you did nothing at all. But the Trojans and Cougars looked really good last weekend.
5 Colorado (7-2, 5-1; last week: No. 5) – CU entered the Pac-12 in 2011 and won two conference games. They never won more than one in any subsequent season, and entered 2016 with just five Pac-12 wins total. Now the Buffaloes are 5-1 and in pole position to head to the conference championship game.
6 Stanford (6-3, 4-3; last week: No. 7) – The Cardinal just are not very good this year, but at least Christian McCaffrey is fun to watch again.
7 Oregon (3-6, 1-5; last week: No. 6) – Considering the talent on the roster, Oregon’s inability to even keep it close against the Pac-12’s good teams is sort of remarkable.
8 California (4-5, 2-4; last week: No. 8) – California’s three toughest games all came in a row this year. At least that stretch ends after this weekend’s game at WSU. Then, the Bears will still have a decent shot at a season-ending bowl run.
9 Arizona State (5-4, 3-3; last week: No. 9) – The Sun Devils’ three-game losing streak is likely to be extended – games against Utah and Washington are up next.
10 UCLA (3-6, 1-5; last week: No. 10) – A four-game losing streak for the Pac-12 South’s preseason favorite. Sounds about right in 2016.
11 Oregon State (2-7, 1-5; last week: No. 11) – Give the Beavers this: They’re putting up more of a fight than the other Pac-12 teams that do not have realistic postseason dreams.
12 Arizona (2-7, 0-6; last week: No. 12) – The Wildcats, conversely, are putting up no fight whatsoever.
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