Welcome to the Week 8 Pac-12 Power Rankings. You can see last week’s rankings here. If you don’t like where you’re ranked, play better.
1. Washington 7-0, 4-0 (No. 1 last week)
A blowout over Oregon State was the expected outcome. Will next week’s trip to Salt Lake City be a preview of the Pac-12 championship game? It’s big enough to bring out College GameDay to see if the Huskies can extend their 10-game winning streak, which is tied for the second longest in FBS.
2. Utah 7-1, 4-1 (No. 2 last week)
The story of the 52-45 win over UCLA was -- without question -- Joe Williams and his school-record-setting 332 rushing yards with four touchdowns. And it should be. But the big plays allowed on defense (nine of 15-plus yards) and suspect protection on the offensive line (five sacks allowed) shouldn’t go unnoticed. Washington thrives on creating pressure with just four rushers. That’ll likely be a major storyline next week.
3. Colorado 6-2, 4-1 (No. 3 last week)
Welcome to bowl eligibility. But that almost feels like an afterthought after a gritty road win at Stanford to stay tied with Utah atop the Pac-12 South standings. This team wants – and is capable of – a lot more than a lower-tier bowl.
4. Washington State 5-2, 4-0 (No. 4 last week)
The Pac-12 blog respectfully declines to comment on Washington State this week for fear of being publicly reprimanded or fined. (But that five-game winning streak looks pretty darn nice and the Cougars are 4-0 in league play for the first time since 2003.)
5. USC 4-3, 3-2 (No. 5 last week)
Rested following their bye week, the Trojans make the second-half push to defend their South title. Worth noting that USC only has four conference games left (home to Cal and Oregon then at Washington and UCLA) before closing out the season with Notre Dame.
6. California 4-3, 2-2 (No. 8 last week)
The game against Oregon played out much like many thought it would: tons of offense, little defense. But Cal made the defensive plays when it counted in overtime. The Bears are yet to have a two-game winning streak. They are also yet to have a two-game losing streak. W, L, W, L, W, L, W. What happens next Thursday at USC?
7. Arizona State 5-3, 2-3 (No. 6 last week)
Credit the Sun Devils for keeping it close with Washington State despite losing quarterback Manny Wilkins in the first quarter. But they have dropped three of four after starting the season 4-0. The Sun Devils are on the road for three of their final four. And the home game is against Utah. Finding that sixth win will be tough, especially if Wilkins continues to be plagued by injuries.
8. Stanford 4-3, 2-3 (No. 7 last week)
The Cardinal have dropped three of their past four and have just three offensive touchdowns during that stretch. Taking away defensive scores, the Cardinal offense has produced 25 points in four games. Head coach David Shaw is correct to point the finger at himself.
9. UCLA 3-5, 1-4 (No. 9 last week)
Forget the South. Can the Bruins find three wins out of their next four to even make a bowl game? They head into the bye week on a three-game skid (all one-possession losses) before a final four that includes games at Colorado, at home to Oregon State and USC before closing out the year at Cal.
10. Oregon State 2-5, 1-3 (No. 10 last week)
Even a fully healthy Beavers squad probably wouldn’t have fared much better against Hurricane Husky. Watch the film, learn from it and move on.
11. Arizona 2-5, 0-4 (No. 11 last week)
We’ll see if the bye week did the Wildcats any good when they host Stanford next Saturday. They enter the game having lost four straight -- this year and in the series with the Cardinal.
12. Oregon 2-5, 0-4 (No. 12 last week)
The Ducks showed plenty of fight in coming from behind on the road in the double-overtime loss to California. But fight doesn’t always translate into wins. The Ducks need to win four of their final five to go bowling. That includes ASU, at USC, Stanford, at Utah and Oregon State. And that just doesn’t seem likely.