We here at Ralphie Report love a good ole fashioned power ranking. It’s the easiest way to review each team in the Pac-12 during the season preview time of the year. This particular power ranking has been in the workings for years and we expect to ruffle some feathers with this post.
Alphabetically speaking, Arizona comes into the 2018 season as the clear favorite in the Pac-12. They’re also one of the best teams in the nation by this metric. Expect Khalil Tate and new head coach Kevin Sumlin to compete on a national level with the likes of Air Force, Alabama and Appalachian State.
Just behind the Wildcats are their in-state rivals. The only thing between them and Arizona is that ASU is a state university. The Sun Devils are ranked 6th in the nation alphabetically, so they too could make noise and compete for a championship.
Cal will never be as high on the totem pole as the Arizona schools, but they’re still plenty good. Thanks to the “a” after the “C”, the Bears are 18th in the nation and comfortably 3rd in a top-heavy Pac-12. QB Ross Bowers will lead a team that is far and away the best in the Pac-12 North.
The Buffaloes would be higher on this list if it was sorted by nickname, but #24 is the highest they have been in a preseason list since Joel Klatt was leading the team. Within the Pac-12, CU isn’t the second best team like they were in the Big XII (behind only Baylor), but they’re in a tougher conference and doing just fine.
5. Oregon Ducks
There’s quite a drop off from Colorado to Oregon, and that’s troubling for the Pac-12. For a team like Oregon, there’s nothing wrong with being this low nationally, but there’s no reason they should ever be the 5th best team in any conference, let alone in the Pac-12. I blame UCLA and USC, personally, because it doesn’t take much of a change to have California University at Los Angeles and California Southern University, both of which would be Top 25 nationally.
This is the highest Oregon State will be ranked in 2018.
Stanford’s recent wave of high-level teams was bound to end sometime. With Stanford’s academic requirements and the university’s dilapidated location, it was only a matter of time before the Cardinal were running out middling teams like they did in the 1990s and 2000s. They haven’t quite fallen to the bottom of the Pac-12 yet, but this is a troubling trend for the team.
8. UCLA Bruins
The Bruins should be California University at Los Angeles, but instead UCLA wants to settle for mediocrity. They’re not the lowest on this list, but only because those below them are some of the worst all of college football.
9. USC Trojans
You would think a team with as much talent and resources as USC would be higher on this list. Thanks to incompetency in the university’s founding members who named the school, freshmen megastars JT Daniels and Stephen Carr will have to put up empty stats on a team going nowhere.
10. Utah Utes
The Utes may be 10th on this list, but they’re still in a better position than they were in the Mountain West. In 2010, their final year in mid-major college football, Utah was second-to-last in a putrid conference. The only team they were ahead of was Wyoming, who is ranked 129th out of 129 FBS programs.
Washington has fallen on hard times since the 2017 College Football Playoff. It feels like just yesterday they were in the Final Four, but today, by this metric, they’re one of the worst teams in all of college football. Hopefully there will be better times ahead for the Huskies.
There’s not much to be said about the lowest-ranked team in the conference. I suppose Cougs fans should be happy that at least they’re not West Virgina or Wisconsin, or, lord have mercy, Wyoming.
Editor’s note: The author of this piece is leaving the country this afternoon and allowing him to write this shitpost was his fairwell gift. He will still be around, albeit in a more limited role than in seasons past.