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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Jacob Thorpe’s Week 6 Pac-12 power rankings

PULLMAN – When the North-South split was made for the Pac-12 conference, rather than the “zipper” alignment preferred by the northern schools, it was assumed by many people that the Pac-12 South would become the dominant division.

Both Los Angeles schools are in the South Division, and so those six schools all play in L.A. at least once a year, which is a nice thing to able to tell recruits from the Pac-12’s most fertile recruiting area.

For the past couple seasons, however, power in the Pac-12 has crept north. Now it has made it all the way to the Washington schools. Both Washington State and Washington had statement wins this past weekend against the previous conference powers, Oregon and Stanford, respectively, and there is a decent chance they could complete the sweep this upcoming weekend.

All of a sudden, the Apple Cup looks likely to regain its spot as one of the most important games in the conference each season. And with the Huskies ranked in the top-5 and this year’s game being played in Pullman, it’s no wonder the game is already sold out.

Here’s how the conference currently stacks up.

1 Washington (5-0, 2-0; last week: No. 2) – The Huskies can make a legitimate argument to have the Pac-12’s best defense, offense and special teams. (*Note to copy desk: Please put 10 or so spaces between UW and the rest of the league.)

2 Colorado (4-1, 2-0; last week: No. 5) – The Buffaloes were 5-40 in Pac-12 play entering the year. Now they might mess around and win the division.

3 California (3-2, 1-1; last week: No. 7) – Cal is shaping up to be the most dangerous 7-5 team in the country.

4 Stanford (3-1, 1-1; last week: No. 1) – Let’s all give a hearty “Ha Ha” at the bully who finally got shoved into his own locker.

5 Utah (4-1, 1-1; last week: No. 3) – Consider the rest of this season to be Kyle Whittingham’s audition for the USC job.

6 USC (2-3, 1-1; last week: No. 9) – An eight-win season was enough to get Clay Helton the fulltime USC head coaching job. But will an eight-win season be enough to keep it?

7 UCLA (3-2, 1-1; last week: No. 8) – The Bruins offense finally showed up against Arizona. It probably is not going anywhere against Arizona state.

8 Washington State (2-2, 1-0; last week: No. 11) – So far, WSU is following the same pattern it did in 2015. So, expect the Cougars to rise up these rankings pretty quickly.

9 Arizona State (4-1, 1-1; last week: No. 4) – FBS teams are averaging 41.3 points per game against the Sun Devils defense. Not even Kalen Ballage can score enough touchdowns to keep up.

10 Oregon (2-3, 0-2; last week: No. 6) – Oregon should shelve the ultra-alternate uniforms for a while. These Ducks are no longer flashy enough to pull off the Bowie-in-cleats look.

11 Arizona (2-3, 0-2; last week: No. 10) – Feels like Arizona fans will look back on this season and fondly remember that time they almost beat a good team in the conference opener.

12 Oregon State (1-3, 0-1; last week: No. 12) – The Beavers are bad and do not seem to be in a hurry to get any better. What was Gary Andersen thinking when he left Wisconsin?

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