We would encourage Pac-12 fans to take a screenshot of the current AP Top 25 rankings and consider saving it for posterity – or for March, in case the end comes early.
The top of the poll looks like this:
Three Pac-12 teams in the top six isn’t something that we could have foreseen when the season began, but the Trojans and Wildcats have walloped expectations thus far.
It marks the first time the Pac-12 has held down three of the top-six AP spots since the polling week of Feb. 20, 2017, when Arizona, UCLA and Oregon were among the best teams in the land.
According to the conference office, it’s just the second time in AP poll history – out of 1,231 total weeks – that the conference has occupied three of the top-six spots.
For USC, the No. 5 ranking represents its highest poll placement since December 1974. Given the upcoming schedule, with no games between the ranked teams, they might all be jammed into the top five by this time next week. (Although USC’s Tuesday afternoon loss at Stanford probably changes that.)
To the power ratings …
1. UCLA (10-1/2-0)
Last week: 1
Results: beat Long Beach State 96-78 and Cal 60-52
Next up: vs. Oregon (Thursday)
NET ranking: No. 20 (change from last week: +3)
Comment: If they handle Oregon, the Bruins should be undefeated in conference play when they head to Tucson the first week in February.
2. Arizona (12-1/2-0)
Last week: 2
Next up: vs. Colorado (Thursday)
NET ranking: No. 2 (no change from last week)
Comment: If they handle Colorado, the Wildcats should be undefeated in conference play when they host UCLA the first week in February.
3. USC (13-1, 3-1)
Last week: 3
Results: won at Cal 77-63, lost at Stanford 75-69
Next up: vs. Oregon State (Thursday)
NET ranking: No. 12 (change: -2)
Comment: This column was written before the Trojans’ perfect season ended with a loss at Stanford Tuesday afternoon.
4. Colorado (11-3/3-1)
Last week: 4
Results: beat WSU 83-78 and Washington 78-64
Next up: at Arizona (Thursday)
NET ranking: No. 97 (change: +13)
Comment: If the Buffaloes merely win the games they’re supposed to win, a coveted opening-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament will be within reach.
5. Oregon (9-6/2-2)
Last week: 5
Results: won at Oregon State 78-76
Next up: at UCLA (Thursday)
NET ranking: 90 (change: -3)
Comment: If you were tuned into football on Monday night, know that Eric Williams’ 3-pointer with 13 seconds remaining saved the Ducks from what could have been a bad loss in Corvallis.
6. Washington State (9-6/2-2)
Last week: 6
Results: lost at Colorado 83-78, won at Utah 77-61
Next up: vs. Stanford (Thursday)
NET ranking: No. 49 (change: +14)
Comment: The win in Salt Lake City was WSU’s first since 1946 and, more significantly, ended a 13-game losing streak to Utah. We hadn’t realized the extent of former coach Larry Krystkowiak’s mastery of the Cougars.
7. Cal (9-7/2-3)
Last week: 7
Results: lost to USC 77-63 and UCLA 60-52
Next up: at Washington (Tuesday)
NET ranking: No. 119 (change: -5)
Comment: The trip to Seattle and Pullman this week will provide more insight into Cal’s prospects for mediocrity than two games against the top-of-the-heap L.A. schools.
8. Stanford (8-4/1-1)
Last week: 8
Next up: vs. USC (Tuesday)
NET ranking: No. 101 (change: +1)
Comment: The Trojans would be a tough assignment for Stanford under normal circumstances, much less as the Cardinal’s first opponent in three weeks.
9. Arizona State (5-8/1-2)
Last week: 10
Next up: vs. Colorado (Saturday)
NET ranking: No. 147 (change: +1)
Comment: ASU’s scheduled game Thursday against Utah was postponed. Needless to say, the status of Saturday’s date with CU is hit or miss. (Given today’s environment, perhaps we should describe it as positive or negative.)
10. Washington (6-7/1-2)
Last week: 11
Results: won at Utah 74-68, lost at Colorado 78-64
Next up: vs. Cal (Tuesday)
NET ranking: No. 182 (change: +25)
Comment: Too soon to draw conclusions, but the Huskies appear to be markedly more competitive than they were last season.
11. Utah (8-8/1-5)
Last week: 9
Results: lost to Washington 74-68 and WSU 77-61
Next up: at Arizona (Saturday)
NET ranking: No. 121 (change: +20)
Comment: Yeah, yeah, the losses are mounting. But hey, wasn’t the Rose Bowl awesome?
12. Oregon State (3-11/1-3)
Last week: 12
Results: lost to Oregon 78-76
Next up: at USC (Thursday)
NET ranking: No. 209 (change: +16)
Comment: OSU’s NET ranking matters more to everyone else than to the Beavers at this point. They aren’t getting an at-large berth, but their NET position could impact the fate of others.
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