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Pac-12 Week 14 power rankings: USC finishes where it started

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USC-Ohio State headline Cotton Bowl Classic (1:17)

The College Football Playoff Selection Show looks ahead to USC's matchup against Ohio State in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. (1:17)

Here's a look at the Pac-12 power rankings headed into bowl season.

1. USC (11-2, 8-1): The Trojans finish the regular season right where they started. And while they won’t be going to the College Football Playoff, the season should still be considered a success because it netted the program its first conference title since 2008.

2. Washington (10-2, 7-2): Washington has reached the stage in its rise where its assistants are becoming head-coaching candidates. Offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith was hired by Oregon State, and there will surely be more in the future.

3. Stanford (9-4, 7-2): In the Pac-12 title game, the Cardinal gave USC a better game than the first time around, and Stanford heads to the Valero Alamo Bowl with a chance to make a statement against TCU.

4. Washington State (9-3, 6-3): It was one of the Cougars’ best seasons in recent memory, but the three lopsided losses -- including one in the Apple Cup -- were deflating. If they beat Michigan State in the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl, this season will be remembered favorably for years.

5. Arizona State (7-5, 6-3): ASU vice president for athletics Ray Anderson didn’t approve of coach Todd Graham’s performance, so he went out and hired ESPN NFL analyst Herm Edwards. In a press release announcing the hire, ASU also said there will be a structural change within the athletic department that will “allow the department to form a multilayered method to the talent evaluation and recruiting processes, increase its emphasis on both student-athlete and coach development and retention, and provide a boost in resource allocation and generation.” So, there's that.

6. Arizona (7-5, 5-4): With a healthy Khalil Tate starting all season, the Wildcats might have been a top-three team in the conference. The future is bright in Tucson.

7. Oregon (7-5, 4-5): QB Justin Herbert’s impact in Eugene was on par with Tate's at Arizona. Now the question is: Does Willie Taggart remain the coach?

8. UCLA (6-6, 4-5): When the Warriors didn’t win the NBA title in 2015, it contributed to their ability to sign Kevin Durant. UCLA lost just enough to lead to a coaching change that ended with Chip Kelly in Westwood.

9. Utah (6-6, 3-6): Let’s take a glass-half-full look. The Utes had a down year and still managed to reach a bowl.

10. Colorado (5-7, 2-7): Along with UCLA, the Buffaloes were one of the most disappointing teams in the conference. After winning the Pac-12 South in 2016, it’s a significant blow to momentum to come back this season and not qualify for a bowl.

11. California (5-7, 2-7): Despite where the Bears ended up in the rankings and standings, coach Justin Wilcox should get Pac-12 Coach of the Year consideration. It’s clear the Bears are headed down a better path.

12. Oregon State (1-11, 0-9): Can Jonathan Smith turn things around at his alma mater?