BERKELEY'S NEWS • OCTOBER 02, 2022

Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 9

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The Utes are riding high after their latest victory, which puts the squad in ninth-place in the Daily Cal sports desk's weekly rankings.

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NOVEMBER 02, 2012

1. Oregon (8-0, 5-0)

There’s not much more you can ask of Oregon. Through eight games this year, the Ducks have outscored their opponents 427-155 and have yet to be held under 40 points in a game. Saturday’s 70-14 win over Colorado was just the latest blowout in what might end up being one of the most dominant seasons in college football history.

And yet the BCS rankings rewarded them by keeping the squad at No. 4, behind Notre Dame, Kansas State and Alabama. The fact that USC and Oregon State lost and that Stanford looked terribly average against Washington State might have robbed the Ducks of a shot at a signature victory in 2012, which could be the sole factor that keeps them out of the BCS championship game. Unless two of the teams above them lose a game or two — because in the SEC losses apparently count as wins sometimes — Oregon could be looking at a 12-0 season that ended short of a national championship berth.

— Connor Byrne

2. Oregon State (6-1, 4-1)

The Beavers were due for a loss, and Washington has a knack for upsetting top-10 teams. Oregon State’s defense was solid, holding the Huskies to under 200 yards passing and under 100 yards rushing. But Sean Mannion threw four interceptions in his return from injury, giving Washington the advantage in the critical statistic. The Beavers Rose Bowl hopes did not end in Seattle on Saturday — if Oregon State wins out, it is assured of a spot in the Pac-12 Championship game.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

3. Stanford (6-2, 4-1)

It wasn’t pretty, but an ugly win is still a win. Stanford needed a total team effort and a full 60 minutes to stave off Washington State Saturday’s 24-17 home victory. Stepfan taylor was held under 60 rushing yards, and quarterback Josh Nunes wasn’t much better, completing just seven passes. In fact, the Cougars outplayed the Cardinal, with the edge in nearly every line on the box score. But Stanford, unlike Washington State, knows how to win and how to finish off games. The Cardinal will have an easier time this Saturday when they take on Colorado.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

4. Arizona (5-3, 2-3)

Two weeks ago, the Wildcats were in last place in the Pac-12, winless in conference play. Now, they are ranked in the top 25 nationally. Arizona proved its blowout of Washington last week was no fluke with an upset of USC this past Saturday. With the fourth-best offense in the country, the Wildcats successfully outscored a potent Trojan club. USC edged Arizona in total yards but had four more turnovers than the Wildcats. Even with Matt Scott throwing 50 passes — and completing 27 of them for 369 yards — Arizona still had a pair of 100-yard rushers. The Wildcats jumped out to a 10-0 lead in Tucson. They were down 28-13 early in the third quarter but scored 26 unanswered to pull away and keep their Rose Bowl hopes realistic. The worst part of Arizona’s schedule is over — the squad faces Colorado and Utah, as well as No. 25 UCLA and rival Arizona State, to close out the season.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

5. USC (6-2, 3-2)

It isn’t on fire yet, but coach Lane Kiffin’s seat is starting to heat up. After two mediocre seasons, 2012 was supposed to result in a Pac-12 championship and a shot at the national championship. Given the talent at his disposal, Kiffin’s 6-2 record is more than just underwhelming — it’s almost shocking. Despite wide receiver Marqise Lee’s 345-yard day against Arizona, the offense continues to produce a fraction of what it should, plagued by penalties, turnovers and miscues. When 618 total yards produce 36 points and lose you a game, something is very wrong.

USC’s defense continues to be an enigma, and will likely have another long day on Saturday against Oregon. If Arizona can rack up 219 yards on the ground, just imagine what the Ducks will do. A loss will essentially put the Pac-12 South title out of reach, and leave some major explaining to do for Kiffin.

— Connor Byrne

6. UCLA (6-2, 3-2)

The Bruins needed a last-second field goal from Ka’imi Fairbairn to edge Arizona State, 45-43, on Saturday in Tempe, Ariz. Johnathan Franklin continued his tear with 164 rushing yards, while Brett Hundley was an efficient 19-of-29 for 274 yards and four touchdowns to one interception. The Bruins just had trouble stopping the Sun Devils. Next week won’t get any easier for UCLA, as the team faces Arizona, a top-20 scoring and top-five passing team, on Saturday in Pasadena.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

7. Washington (4-4, 2-3)

The Huskies feist on top teams. They upset Stanford and Oregon State and lost to USC by just 10. But how will Washington fare on Friday night against the middling Bears? The Huskies certainly have a tactical advantage with two former Cal assistants on their staff. More impactful will be the absence of Bears star receiver Keenan Allen, whose injury should take some pressure off Washington’s defense.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

8. Arizona State (5-3, 3-2)

The Sun Devils are just a different team without defensive linemen Junior Onyeali and Will Sutton. UCLA had its way at the line of scrimmage all game long, riding its mediocre offensive line for 212 yards on the ground for a 45-43 win. Before their two defensive linemen went out, the Sun Devils depended on their ability to force turnovers and disrupt the quarterback in order to get wins. Sutton and Onyeali could both potentially play this weekend against No. 11 Oregon State. If they don’t, ASU could be looking at its third straight loss.

— Connor Byrne

9. Utah (3-5, 1-4)

The Bears must have brought a defibrillator with them to Salt Lake City, because they successfully resuscitated Utah’s season. Like Cal, the Utes still need three more wins to become bowl eligible. However, they have one more game and a much more favorable schedule. Colorado and Washington States should be wins for Utah, meaning the squad would only have to split its other two games against Washington and No. 24 Arizona to reach the postseason.

After rushing for 1,519 yards last year, senior John White had a slow to start to his 2012 campaign. He looked to be back to his 2011 form against Cal, gaining 105 yards and scoring two touchdowns on 22 carries. Head coach Kyle Whittingham might want to give the ball to Reggie Dunn a little more too. The senior receiver, who has caught 10 passes and taken 10 handoffs this season, scored his first two touchdowns of 2012 Saturday on a pair of 100-yard kick returns.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

10. Cal (3-6, 2-4)

Three weeks aways from what will almost certainly be his second losing season in three games, Jeff Tedford is understandably stressed. So, he is considering getting into running.

“I’m thinking right now, I may take five minutes after practice and jog around the laps on the field two or three times, hopefully,” Tedford said. “People keep telling me if I do that it will relieve a lot of stress.”

So will winning. After beating UCLA and Washington State, Cal looked like it had turned its season around. Since then, the Bears have lost to Stanford and Utah by a combined score of 70-30. Cal committed three turnovers against the Utes and gave up two touchdowns on kick returns. To become bowl eligible, the Bears have to defeat No. 2 Oregon, No. 13 Oregon State and, this Friday, a Washington squad fresh off an upset of the Beavers. Tedford, in his 11th year as head coach, said he feels pressure all the time, but it comes with the job.

“I care about what happens here, deeply,” he said. “I have a knot in my stomach every single week … I used to look a lot different.” So did Cal’s record.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

11. Washington State (2-6, 0-5)

Washington State’s defense did exactly what it was supposed to do against Stanford in their 24-17 loss: stack the box and make quarterback Josh Nunes throw the ball. With eight and sometimes even nine players at or around the line of scrimmage on every play, a defense that usually lets its opponents score almost 30 points a game held Cardinal running back Stepfan Taylor to just 58 yards and give its offense a chance to win the game. Unfortunately, the Cougars netted -16 yards on the ground, forcing quarterback Jeff Tuel to throw the ball 60 times. One of those passes landed into the hands of cornerback Ed Reynolds, who took it back 25 yards for a fourth quarter touchdown, which proved to be the difference in the game.

Either way, the performances from both Washington State and Stanford should make Cal feel thoroughly embarrassed about how it played in the Big Game.

— Connor Byrne

12. Colorado (1-7, 1-4)

At least Colorado held Oregon under 100. Saturday’s matchup pitted arguably the worst Pac-12 team with unequivocally the best one. The result was 70-14 decision, a final that looked better still than the halftime score of 56-0. There were silver linings other than the ones on Oregon’s jerseys. The Buffaloes held Kenjon Barner to 104 rushing yards. They almost eclipsed 100 passing yards. They were 2-for-3 on fourth down. Also, freshman Donta Abron got a lot of practice, as he returned nine kickoffs. The good news for Colorado is the worst is over. Stanford will beat the Buffaloes on Saturday, but the Cardinal rarely run up the score (unless they are playing USC).

Colorado may only have one win, but it was over Washington State, meaning the Buffs are only in second-to-last place in the conference. They’ll likely stay there.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

Contact Jonathan Kuperberg at 

LAST UPDATED

NOVEMBER 02, 2012


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