Welcome to the Pac-12 Week 10 Power Rankings. You can see last week’s rankings here. If you don’t like where you’re ranked, play better.
1. Washington 9-0, 6-0 (No. 1 last week)
Hopefully the playoff selection committee will recognize that California is a tougher team at home than on the road -- having beaten Texas (No. 11 at the time), Utah (No. 18 at the time) and Oregon in Berkeley. That’s back-to-back road wins for Washington, which has ripped off 12 straight -- the second-longest active streak in the FBS behind Alabama (21).
2. Washington State 7-2, 6-0 (No. 2 last week)
The Cougars' 69-7 win over Arizona was as complete of a victory as you’ll find. They dominated every phase of the game, were explosive in the air and on the ground, and the defense was tenacious. If they can match that effort over the final three weeks, we could be in for an amazing Apple Cup.
3. Colorado 7-2, 5-1 (No. 3 last week)
Defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt told me over the weekend he’d prefer to win every game by 50. Sure. Who wouldn’t? But it’s noteworthy that the Buffs have won their last two games (10-5 against Stanford, 20-10 against UCLA) in rather ugly fashion. Those were the games Colorado used to cough up. Now they are finishing.
4. Utah 7-2, 4-2 (No. 4 last week)
The Utes have had a week to marinate in their loss to Washington. How they respond Thursday night when they travel to Arizona State will be telling about this team in the stretch run.
5. USC 6-3, 5-2 (No. 5 last week)
Ronald Jones II will get a lot of the kudos for this game. And with four rushing touchdowns, rightfully so. But I came away more impressed with USC’s defense. It looked explosive, opportunistic and punishing. Can that hold up next week, when the bowl-eligible Trojans travel to Seattle to face undefeated Washington?
6. Stanford 6-3, 4-3 (No. 6 last week)
The Cardinal should feel mildly encouraged by the way the ground game came together in the win over Oregon State. (We say mildly because they failed to punch it in on fourth-and-goal from the 1 late in the game). Getting Christian McCaffrey going for a season-high 199 yards was key and should provide some confidence down the stretch. But the passing game continues to struggle as the bowl-eligible Cardinal ready for their trip to Oregon.
7. Arizona State 5-4, 2-4 (No. 7 last week)
Coming off the bye week -- hopefully healthier than they were when they went in -- the Sun Devils will look to snap a three-game losing streak when they host Utah. The South is out of their grasp, but bowl eligibility isn’t with three chances left (at Washington and at Arizona to close the year).
8. California 4-5, 2-4 (No. 8 last week)
The streak of not having a streak has come to an end. The Bears dropped back-to-back games for the first time this season after getting run out of their house by Washington. They need to win two of their last three (at Washington State and home against Stanford and UCLA) to become bowl eligible.
9. UCLA 3-6, 1-5 (No. 9 last week)
With Josh Rosen out for the year, Mike Fafaul learning on the job and a ground game that continues to struggle, the preseason favorites to win the South will try to snap their four-game losing streak when they host Oregon State. For the Bruins to make the postseason, they have to win out -- which includes a home date with USC and a trip to Cal in the finale.
10. Oregon 3-6, 1-5 (No. 10 last week)
The one thing Oregon could hang its hat on this season was the offense. Even with a midseason quarterback change, the Ducks continued to be competitive offensively. But after posting their lowest total of the year in a 45-20 loss to USC, their ability to score becomes a question in a season littered with head scratchers. A visit from Stanford awaits, where the Ducks will try to keep their slim postseason hopes alive.
11. Oregon State 2-7, 1-5 (No. 11 last week)
Yes, Oregon State lost again, and yes, the Beavers are officially eliminated from the postseason for the third straight year. But there was a moment against Stanford when the Cardinal launched a Hail Mary at the end of the first half and an Oregon State defender -- I believe it was Shawn Wilson -- knocked down the ball in the end zone instead of trying to catch it. It’s just one play, but it showed (1) good coaching and (2) good execution. Progress comes from doing the little things right. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it.
12. Arizona 2-7, 0-6 (No. 12 last week)
For anyone who said Arizona’s season can’t get any worse ... welcome to any worse.