Pac-12 power rankings: Defeats of ranked opponents cement top spots for Oregon, Utah
Oregon cemented its status as the top team in the North with a 35-31 comeback win against its stiffest competitor in Washington. That keeps the Ducks three games better than four other teams and two better than Oregon State, whom it has yet to play.
In the South it was USC and Utah turning in convincing victories and sitting tied for first. The Utes will be looking for help however, because they've already lost their head-to-head against the Trojans.
There wasn't a whole lot of movement with most of the favorites doing what was expected.
1. Oregon (6-1, 4-0 Pac-12)
The Ducks all but wrapped up the North with a 35-31 win over Washington and they did it after trailing 28-14. A defense that allowed four touchdowns all season gave up three in the first half to the Huskies but Oregon rallied with the go-ahead points coming on a 5-yard pass from Justin Herbert to Jaylon Redd. The win keeps Oregon's hopes of a playoff berth alive, although it likely still needs some help from others.
Next: Saturday vs. Washington State, 10:30 p.m., ESPN.
Oregon offensive lineman Brady Aiello (left) hugs quarterback Justin Herbert (10) after the team's defeat of Washington at Husky Stadium. (Photo: Jennifer Buchanan / USA TODAY Sports)
2. Utah (6-1, 3-1)
The Utes looked every bit the part of a Pac-12 title contender throttling Arizona State 21-3 behind a relentless defense which gave up just 136 yards. Senior Zack Moss ran for 99 yards which gave him the school record for yards rushing (3,264 yards) passing Eddie Johnson, who had 3,219 from 1984-88. The Utes have rebounded nicely from the conference-opening loss to USC.
Next: Saturday vs. California, 10 p.m., FS1.
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3. Southern California (4-3, 3-1)
The Trojans turned in a gutty effort and beat Arizona 41-14 despite missing several players who were out with injuries. It was the seventh straight win for the Trojans over the Wildcats with USC holding quarterback Khalil Tate to 167 yards and no points in the first three quarters. But it was a blowout from the start with USC up 34 before Arizona scored for the first time.
Next: Friday at Colorado, 9 p.m., ESPN2.
4. Washington (5-3, 2-3)
The Huskies looked like they could make the Pac-12 North interesting again. They led Oregon 28-14 early in the third quarter but could not finish the job. The teams were nearly even in most statistical categories but Washington's biggest downfall was its failure to convert on third down (3 of 13). The Huskies did score 28 points against a Ducks team that allowed only that many all season.
Next: Nov. 2 vs. Utah.
5. Arizona State (5-2, 2-2)
The Sun Devils were no match for a tenacious Utah defense and lost 21-3 despite getting four takeaways. Most troublesome for coach Herm Edwards were the 122 yards in penalties, 70 more than the team had been averaging. ASU managed just 136 yards offense, 104 of that coming from Eno Benjamin on the ground.
Next: Saturday at UCLA, 3:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network.
6. Arizona (4-3, 2-2)
The Wildcats were upended by USC 41-14 and trailed 34-0 before finding the end zone for the first time. Khalil Tate passed for 47 yards and was sacked six times before freshman Grant Gunnell replaced him in the third quarter. Coach Kevin Sumlin said post-game that Tate will remain the starter however. Gunnell passed for 196 yards and two touchdowns long after the game was decided.
Next: Saturday at Stanford, 3:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network.
7. Washington State (4-3, 1-3)
The Cougars snapped a three-game conference losing streak and cruised past Colorado, 21-10. Anthony Gordon added to his already gaudy passing yardage total with 369 yards and four touchdown on 35 completions to eight different receivers. Washington State recorded three takeaways and improved to 28-5 since 2015 when forcing multiple turnovers.
Next: Saturday at Oregon, 10:30 p.m., ESPN
8. Oregon State (3-4, 2-2)
The much-maligned Beavers defense had perhaps their best performance of the season, limiting California to 282 yards although the Bears are more known for their defense than their offense anyway. Oregon State jumped out to 14-0 lead, lost it, then came back with B.J. Baylor scoring the game-winning touchdown with 4:41 to play. That showing comes a week after being throttle by Utah 52-7.
Next: Nov. 2 at Arizona.
9. California (4-3, 1-3)
Once upon a time the Golden Bears were 4-0 and ranked as high as No 15. While some teams have survived the loss of a quarterback the same can not be said for California which is still without starter Chase Garbers, Now, it's three consecutive losses and counting with a juggernaut on the horizon.
Next: Saturday at Utah, 10 p.m., FS1.
10. Colorado (3-4, 1-3)
And speaking of reeling teams, the Buffaloes lost their third game in a row, this one to Washington State, 41-10. Colorado could not get off the field on third downs, which continues what's been a season-long issue. Washington State converted 7-of-14 third downs. The Buffaloes had been allowing their opponents to convert 49% of their third down tries.
Next: Friday vs. USC, 9 p.m., ESPN2
11. UCLA (2-5, 2-2)
Struggling teams don't usually beat anybody convincingly but an injury riddled-Stanford was just the medicine the Bruins needed. UCLA chalked up a 34-16 win and snapped an 11-game losing streak against the Cardinal. Dorian Thompson-Robinson returned from a leg injury and threw for two touchdowns and ran for another while Joshua Kelley rushed for 176 yards.
Next: Saturday vs. Arizona State, 10:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network.
12. Stanford (3-4, 2-3)
It's been a never-ending series of injuries with the Cardinal down to third-string quarterback Jack West after injuries to starter K.J. Costello (thumb) and Davis Mills (knee). Now, add kicker Jet Toner to the list as he went down on the return of the opening kickoff. Stanford has also lost seven lineman with the only constant being center Drew Dalman.
Next: Saturday vs. Arizona, 3:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network.
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