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Mid-Season Pac-12 Power Rankings

Checking in on the rest of the conference.

NCAA Football: Washington at Oregon Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

1. Oregon Ducks (5-1, 2-1), win over Washington, 30-27 (OT)

Oregon is one mind-boggling play from being an undefeated top 10 team. Against Stanford three weeks ago, the Ducks just had to knee the ball to drain the clock, but they ran instead and C.J. Verdell fumbled the ball. Stanford recovered, kicked the game-tying field goal and won in overtime. Stanford has since fallen off, but Oregon has surged to the top of the Pac-12. After a strong win over then-No. 24 California (Cal is now awful, lol), they hung on for a crucial OT win over Washington. They still have to visit Pullman next week — potential for complete chaos with GameDay finally there — and still have a road game at Utah. If they can survive those two, they should win the North.

2. Washington Huskies (5-2, 3-1), loss at Oregon, 30-27 (OT)

The Huskies lost an absolute heart-breaker to their rivals. They had the chance to win against the Ducks, but missed a field goal as time expired. Then in OT, they had a first-and-goal from the 3, but got too fancy and eventually had to settle for a field goal. Oregon preceded to win the game on a touchdown run. Washington’s season-opening loss to Auburn is looking worse by the week, but despite their two losses, they’re still probably the best team in the Pac-12. Their defense and offensive lines are way too good for them to finish with fewer than 9 or 10 wins.

3. Washington State Cougars (5-1, 2-1), bye

The Cougars have enjoyed a hard-earned bye week before they host Oregon and GameDay. Wazzu had doubts surrounding their passing attack before the season, but East Carolina transfer Gardner Minshew has been superb. With 19 touchdown passes and counting, he’s led the Cougs to tough victories at Wyoming and over Utah. Their only blemish was a home loss at USC, a game they had control over before they were gashed with big plays in the second half.

4. USC Trojans (4-2, 3-1), win over Colorado, 31-20

The Trojans have yet to put it all together, but they’re nonetheless poised to make a run to the Pac-12 Championship. With their win, they have a half-game lead on the Buffs in the South, and with CU playing Washington on Saturday, they will likely have complete control of the division. We can hold out hope that someone’s going to make them pay for their sloppy play, but an away game at Utah on Saturday is the only challenging game they have left.

5. Colorado Buffaloes (5-1, 2-1), loss at USC, 31-20

Colorado had every chance early on to take control over USC, but poor game strategy and unfocused play doomed them to a frustrating loss. The Buffs suffered their first loss and are still in position to win 9 or 10 games in the regular season, but USC did expose their inconsistent line and inexperienced secondary.

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

Stanford came into the season as the Pac-12's clear second best team, but they have scuffled. Bryce Love, a presumed Heisman contender, has been hampered by injuries and inconsistent line play. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside has broken out, but he can’t do it all. Stanford’s defense, meanwhile, was embarrassed in back-to-back weeks by Notre Dame and Utah. The tools are there for the Cardinal to make a run, but they have a lot to figure out during their bye.

7. Utah Utes (4-2, 2-2), win over Arizona, 42-10

Arizona is bad, apparently, and Utah did what they should and beat the hell out of them. Their offense struggled some to start the year, but in blowout wins over Stanford and Arizona, they have proved to have a balanced offense to compliment their always stifling defense. Tyler Huntley in particular has looked sharp, though he is still inconsistent and makes baffling decisions at times. Utah has a home-heavy schedule ahead — their toughest games are against Oregon, USC and at Colorado — so with some upsets they may be a legitimate contender in the Pac-12. We'll know more about their chances after they face USC this week.

8. Arizona State Sun Devils (3-3, 1-2), bye

ASU had a bye week following getting beaten up by the Buffs’ linemen. The Sun Devils have three genuine stars in WR N’Keal Harry, RB Eno Benjamin and QB Manny Wilkins, but they have too many holes in their defense to be anything more than a frustrating team. If they could shore up their defense in the slightest — the secondary stands to improve the most — they should make a bowl game, but that’s hard to say at this point.

9. Arizona Wildcats (3-3, 1-2), lost to Utah, 42-10

Arizona was losing 28-0 to Utah and opted to attempt a field goal, then down 35-0 after halftime, they kicked another field goal; needless to say, they were blown out. Also of note, Khalil Tate has 110 rushing yards in 6 games, and now he’s out with an ankle injury. So, yeah, the Kevin Sumlin era is off to a rough start.

10. California Golden Bears (3-3, 0-3)

Cal lost by 30 to previously winless UCLA, so it’s not going great.

11. UCLA Bruins (1-5, 1-2)

Congrats to UCLA for getting their first win!

12. Oregon State Beavers (1-5, 0-3), bye

Congrats to Oregon State on not losing this week!