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Pac-12 power rankings: With Washington at No. 1 and Oregon State at No. 12, we’re back to where we started

November 28, 2018

The regular season is over for everyone but Stanford and Cal, and after 13 weeks of power rankings shuffling back at where we started. Washington at No. 1 and Oregon State at No. 12.

Three five-win teams in the Pac-12 squandered chances to get over the hump last Saturday, leaving the conference with just seven bowl-eligible teams, as opposed to 10. But as we learned last year after the league went just 1-9 in the postseason, maybe quality is better than quantity anyway.

1. Washington (9-3, 7-2; last week: No. 2) – The Huskies may not be what many of us thought they could be this season – an undefeated Pac-12 North champ representing the conference in the four-team College Football Playoff –but the consolation prize isn’t bad. By beating Utah for the Pac-12 title, UW will have three consecutive 10-win seasons for the first time in program history.

2. Washington State (10-2, 7-2; last week: No. 1) – Who knows, had referees ejected Porter Gustin for targeting in week four, perhaps the Cougars clinch the North division before the Apple Cup. Given the last six results in the rivalry game, that’s what they should be shooting for next season.

3. Utah (9-3, 7-3; last week: No. 3) – Others may have given Utah the nod over the Cougars, but I would’ve taken either of the Evergreen State schools to edge the Utes in the Pac-12 championship game. Kyle Whittingham can prove me wrong this Friday, though.

4. Stanford (7-4, 5-3; last week: No. 4) – Through 11 games, Stanford wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside has 55 receptions and 14 touchdowns. That means the senior is getting into the end zone every 3.9 catches. Three of his seven receptions went for touchdowns against UCLA.

5. Oregon (8-4, 5-4; last week: No. 6) – Justin Herbert threw only 12 passes in what might have been his final game at Autzen Stadium, yet the Ducks still crushed the Beavers by 40 points in the Civil War, courtesy of 386 rushing yards and six touchdowns from Travis Dye and CJ Verdell.

6. Cal (7-4, 4-4; last week: No. 5) –Tim DeRuyter’s defense accounted for as many points as quarterback Chase Garbers in Saturday’s rout of Colorado, once again illustrating how good the Golden Bears could be with a top-flight signal-caller.

7. Arizona State (7-5, 5-5; last week: No. 7) – A seven or eight-win season for Herm Edwards his first year in charge? Not shabby, but now the Sun Devils lose Manny Wilkins and N’Keal Harry. This is where the true rebuild starts.

8. Arizona (5-7, 4-5; last week: No. 8) – The million dollar question: does Arizona get to a bowl game if Rich Rodriguez is still calling the shots in Tucson? My gut tells me yes.

9. USC (5-7, 4-5; last week: No. 9) – If there is a USC fan who’s OK with one more year of the Lynn Swann-Clay Helton arrangement, I haven’t seen them yet.

10. UCLA (3-9, 3-6; last week: No. 10) – The first year of Chip Kelly’s rebuild doesn’t look great on paper, but consider that the Bruins beat Cal by 30 points and only lost home games to Washington and Stanford by seven points. Kelly still has a good beat on the Pac-12 North and next year I bet he figures out the South.

11. Colorado (5-7, 2-7; last week: No. 11) – It’s basketball season in Boulder now. Phew.

12. Oregon State (2-10, 1-8; last week: No. 12) – Senior quarterback Jake Luton is graduating and sophomore quarterback Conor Blount is transferring. Sorting out who’ll be under center for the Beavers next season immediately becomes the top priority for Jonathan Smith.

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