If this week’s power rankings look strikingly similar to last week’s, there’s a reason for that: There were no changes. The top six teams played the bottom six teams, and the top six won. No one loss was any “better” than another loss. If you don’t like where you’re ranked, play better.
1. Stanford Cardinal: Saturday’s victory over Colorado was textbook Stanford: power running, big hits off of play-action, red zone efficiency and points off turnovers. When the Cardinal are clicking like that, it doesn’t really matter who the opponent is. Next up, the Ducks in Palo Alto with a chance to clinch the division on the line.
2. Utah Utes: By the start of Week 11, you are who you are. Utah is a very good defensive football team and a one-dimensional offensive team. Granted, that one dimension (aka Devontae Booker) is pretty darn good. But the Utes are at their best when they get turnovers -- because the offense needs extra possessions. Case in point against Washington: Four turnovers turned into 17 points.
3. USC Trojans: Despite some inconsistent stretches and a slow start, the Trojans are clearly as explosive as any offense in the league. The win against Arizona keeps them in the South Division hunt and puts their fans in the awkward position of cheering for UCLA when the Bruins travel to Utah in Week 12. This should help you get acclimated, fans of Troy.
4. UCLA Bruins: The Bruins easily dismissed Oregon State, which is what they were supposed to do. A tough stretch to close out the year (vs. Washington State, at Utah, at USC) stands between them and the Pac-12 South. Win, and the Bruins are in. Any loss from here on out, and they are playing catch-up.
5. Washington State Cougars: Their win over Arizona State was big for a couple reasons. First, it made the Cougars bowl-eligible for the second time in three seasons. Second, it showed they can overcome a double-digit deficit and still win. It was a very mature performance on both sides of the ball.
6. Oregon Ducks: Some 777 yards later, the Ducks are still alive in the Pac-12 North race after knocking off California and confirming a two-team hierarchy in the division. Those teams -- Oregon and Stanford -- meet Saturday in Palo Alto, so the division will once again roll through either Eugene or the Farm. Oregon still needs Stanford to lose twice, but a victory at Stanford keeps the Ducks alive another week.
7. California Bears: The losing streak now stands at four games. More than likely, the Bears will be able to lock up bowl eligibility with a visit Saturday from Oregon State. But no one in Berkeley can be feeling good about the way things are going on either side of the ball.
8. Washington Huskies: Yes, there were some really bad calls in the loss to Utah. But it was the four turnovers and the 17 points Utah scored off said turnovers -- not the officiating -- that did the Huskies in. Washington needs to find two wins against Arizona State, Oregon State and Washington State to secure a bowl bid. That makes Saturday's trip to Tempe ...
9. Arizona State Sun Devils: ... high noon for both these teams. Head coach Todd Graham didn’t try to mask his disappointment at the way the season has played out following his team’s loss to Washington State. Nor should he. It’s been rough. Sure, the calls haven’t gone the Sun Devils' way. But that’s a veteran team with more than enough leadership to overcome a bad call in the second quarter. With Washington, Arizona and Cal left, I’d say it’s a coin flip if the Sun Devils make the postseason.
10: Arizona Wildcats: The Wildcats are in the middle of a three-game skid and have been sitting on five wins since the middle of October. Remember, their bye week is Week 13, so they only have two opportunities left -- at home Saturday against Utah and then at ASU -- to make the postseason. The Rich Rodriguez-to-(insert school of choice) rumors are also swirling.
11. Colorado Buffaloes: Not sure what can be said about the Buffs that hasn’t already been said. Yes, they are a better team than last season, but at some point you need to win. The Buffaloes aren’t officially out of the bowl picture, but I wouldn’t bank on the their running off three straight against USC, Washington State and Utah.
12: Oregon State Beavers: The Beavers are officially eliminated from bowl contention. All that’s left is pride and a search for that first conference win under Gary Andersen. I’m reminded of the scene from "The Lion in Winter:" “When the fall is all there is, it matters.”