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Sports >  NCAA football

Pac-12 power ratings: WSU hangs on at No. 6; Oregon schools on top after key wins

UPDATED: Wed., Oct. 27, 2021

By Jon Wilner Bay Area News Group

Power ratings based entirely on the scoreboard, except when they aren’t.

1. Oregon (6-1, 3-1)

Last week: 1

Result: Won at UCLA 34-31

Next up: vs. Colorado (12:30 p.m., Fox)

Line: Oregon -26.5

Comment: Expected news Monday: After a start-to-finish wipeout of Colorado, the Ducks climbed to No. 6 in the AP poll and are just five wins from a likely spot in the College Football Playoff. The stretch run, however, is challenging, with Washington State and Oregon State at home, Utah and Washington on the road, plus a potential berth in the Pac-12 championship game. Meanwhile, Ohio State thumped Penn State to further boost the quality of Oregon’s Week 2 victory, and the Michigan-Michigan State result knocked another team from the ranks of the unbeaten.

2. Oregon State (5-2, 3-1)

Last week: 5

Result: Beat Utah 42-34

Next up: at Cal (4 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)

Line: OSU -1.5

Comment: Had you told us prior to the season that the Beavers would beat USC, Washington and Utah, we would have 1) asked for the coordinates to your universe and 2) expected OSU to have a bowl berth locked up before November. And here they are, on the brink of their first bid in eight years.

3. Utah (4-3, 3-1)

Last week: 2

Result: Lost at Oregon State 42-34

Next up: vs. UCLA (7 p.m., ESPN)

Line: Utah -5.5

Comment: The last time we watched an opponent carve up Utah to the tune of 42 points, 260 yards on the ground and a third-down conversion rate of 63.6%, the Utes were still ramping up their personnel to match the level needed in the Pac-12. Oregon State did to Utah what Utah has done to OSU – and many others – in recent years.

4. Arizona State (5-2, 3-1)

Last week: 3

Result: DNP

Next up: vs. Washington State (Noon, FS1)

Line: ASU -15

Comment: With their early momentum gone, the NCAA investigation progressing and their on-field discipline more concept than reality, the Sun Devils have reached a tipping point. Our hunch is they churn forward together and contend for the South title, but don’t discount the potential for an internal rupture.

5. UCLA (5-3, 3-2)

Last week: 4

Result: Lost to Oregon 34-31

Next up: at Utah (7 p.m., ESPN)

Line: UCLA +5.5

Comment: Maybe it’s just the Hotline, but UCLA’s talent and experience on defense don’t seem to match the results. In the three home losses (Fresno State, Arizona State and Oregon), the Bruins have allowed an average of 39 points and 483 yards per game, with opponents converting 51.5% of their third downs and averaging a whopping 9.3 yards-per-attempt. Shouldn’t the unit be more bend and less break?

6. Washington State (4-4, 3-2)

Last week: 6

Result: Lost to Brigham Young 21-19

Next up: at Arizona State (Noon, FS1)

Line: WSU +15

Comment: Predictable outcome with WSU suffering on offense following the dismissal of three key coaches on that side of scrimmage (head coach, offensive line coach, quarterbacks coach). And so we say it again: The players were the victims, not Nick Rolovich and his merry band of anti-vaxxers.

7. Stanford (3-4, 2-3)

Last week: 7

Result: DNP

Next up: vs. Washington (7:30 p.m., FS1)

Line: Stanford -2

Comment: The Cardinal’s overtime victory against Oregon makes less sense with each passing week. In that regard, it makes perfect sense.

8. USC (3-4, 2-3)

Last week: 8

Result: Lost at Notre Dame 31-16

Next up: vs. Arizona (4 p.m., ESPNU)

Line: USC -21

Comment: The Trojans are 0-3 at home in conference play (vs. Stanford, Oregon State and Utah), and they have allowed 40-plus points in each game. If either of those streaks is alive at the end of this week, USC should shut down and go home for the rest of the season. Seriously, just shut it down.

9. Washington (3-4, 2-2)

Last week: 9

Result: Won at Arizona 21-16

Next up: at Stanford (7:30 p.m., FS1)

Line: Washington +2

Comment: Not to get all doom and gloom after that come-from-behind victory, but please consider a morsel of context: The three teams UW has defeated this season are a combined 1-17 against FBS competition. Cal is 1-5 against FBS opponents, while Arizona and Arkansas State are both 0-6.

10. Cal (2-5, 1-3)

Last week: 10

Result: Beat Colorado 26-3

Next up: vs. Oregon State (4 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)

Line: Cal +1.5

Comment: You don’t need a Cal degree to make the bowl math work, at least not yet. But it all hinges on this week. Lose to the Beavers, and pre-algebra turns to advanced calculus. If you’re into betting nickels, toss one on the Bears finishing 5-7, with the Nevada loss being the most costly result.

11. Colorado (2-5, 1-3)

Last week: 11

Result: Lost at Cal 26-3

Next up: at Oregon (12:30 p.m., Fox)

Line: Colorado +26.5

Comment: It’s Halloween week, so here’s your horror show. Colorado’s national ranking in major offensive categories: No. 113 in yards-per-rush (3.3); No. 115 in passing yards-per-attempt (6.1); No. 118 in third-down conversions (31.4%); No. 125 in scoring (15.1 ppg); and No. 127 in yards-per-play (4.2). Remove the Northern Colorado game, and it all gets much, much worse.

12. Arizona (0-7, 0-4)

Last week: 12

Result: Lost to Washington 21-16

Next up: at USC (4 p.m., ESPNU)

Line: Arizona +21

Comment: As bad as Colorado on offense and even worse on defense, with all the marks of a program on liquid ground: The Wildcats are slightly better at home than on the road; they respond poorly to setbacks; and they can’t close out games when leading in the middle quarters. We expected the free fall to end this season. Now, we’re not so sure.

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