Pac-12 power ratings: Utah climbs, USC falls and the highest-rated team in Washington resides in the Palouse

Utah quarterback Cameron Rising (7) runs against Southern California during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Los Angeles.

Utah quarterback Cameron Rising (7) runs against Southern California during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Los Angeles. (Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP Photo)

Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

Power ratings based entirely on the scoreboard, except when they aren't.

(All times Pacific. Opening lines used.)

1. Oregon (4-1/1-1)

Last week: 1

Result: DNP

Next up: vs. Cal (Friday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN)

Line: Oregon -14

Comment: The Ducks are three spots behind Ohio State in the AP poll and four behind in the Coaches poll — it's like the head-to-head never happened. What says the CFP selection committee? The first rankings are due out Nov. 2.

2. Arizona State (5-1/3-0)

Last week: 2

Result: Beat Stanford 28-10

Next up: at Utah (7 p.m., ESPN)

Line: Arizona State -2

Comment: You say the Sun Devils just beat the team that beat Oregon; we say Ohio State. You say the Sun Devils are the most statistically dominant team in the conference; we say Ohio State. You say one game shouldn't matter that much; we say … Ohio State.

3. UCLA (4-2/2-1)

Last week: 4

Result: Won at Arizona 34-16

Next up: at Washington (5:30 p.m., FOX)

Line: UCLA -1

Comment: The season hinges on the next three weeks as the Bruins visit Washington, host Oregon, then head to Utah. If they win at least two, the trajectory should remain positive. Anything less, and the grumbling will commence.

4. Oregon State (4-2/2-1)

Last week: 3

Result: Lost at Washington State 31-24

Next up: Idle

Line: N/A

Comment: Facts: The Beavers won at USC for the first time in 61 years and beat Washington for the first time in a decade. Fact: Oregon State has yet to defeat a team with a winning record.

5. Utah (3-2/2-0)

Last week: 7

Result: Won at USC 42-26

Next up: vs. Arizona State (7 p.m., ESPN)

Line: Utah +2

Comment: After a weekend in which Tavion Thomas pummeled USC, Devontae Booker (Giants) filled in for Saquon Barkley and Zack Moss (Bills) produced 92 yards from scrimmage, it's pretty clear that Utah is the closest thing to Tailback U in the conference these days.

6. Stanford (3-3/2-2)

Last week: 5

Result: Lost at Arizona State 28-10

Next up: at Washington State (4:30 p.m., ESPNU)

Line: Pick

Comment: Remember when Stanford had not only the best running game but also the best run defense in the conference? Welp, it's currently last in both. And that's a recipe for sustained mediocrity, no matter how effective the receivers might be with jump balls in the end zone.

7. USC (3-3/2-3)

Last week: 6

Result: Lost to Utah 42-26

Next up: Idle

Line: N/A

Comment: The defense is bad, the offense is worse and Jaxson Dart needs to play as soon as he's healthy. But at the root of all these embarrassing losses is the lack of discipline, accountability and toughness — both mental and physical — that festered for years under Clay Helton.

8. Washington State (3-3/2-2)

Last week: 9

Result: Beat Oregon State 31-24

Next up: vs. Stanford (4:30 p.m., ESPNU)

Line: Pick

Comment: Given the stretch-run road schedule (Tempe, Eugene and Seattle), the Cougars cannot whiff on winnable home games if they hope to make the bowl math work. And this is a winnable home game.

9. Washington (2-3/1-1)

Last week: 8

Result: DNP

Next up: vs. UCLA (5:30 p.m., FOX)

Line: Washington +1

Comment: National ranking in key offensive statistics: No. 88 in yards per play; No. 89 in passing yards per attempt; No. 90 in points per game; and No. 102 in rushing yards per game. So at least the Huskies are consistent.

10. Cal (1-4/0-2)

Last week: 10

Result: DNP

Next up: at Oregon (Friday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN)

Line: Cal +14

Comment: No team has defended the Ducks better in recent years than Cal. Then again, Cal's defense is nothing like what it was. However, the offense might have discovered its old, err, um, form.

11. Colorado (1-4/0-2)

Last week: 11

Result: DNP

Next up: vs. Arizona (12:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)

Line: Colorado -6

Comment: Breaking: Colorado is no longer last in the nation in points per game, having been overtaken (undercut?) by the juggernaut that is Vanderbilt. However, the Buffaloes are still looking up at UConn and UMass, so the world isn't completely off its axis.

12. Arizona (0-5/0-2)

Last week: 12

Result: Lost to UCLA 34-16

Next up: at Colorado (12:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)

Line: Arizona +6

Comment: Some might avoid watching Arizona-Colorado at all costs, for fear of being scarred for life. Here at the Hotline, we're counting the minutes until kickoff.

Jon Wilner's Pac-12 Hotline is brought to through a partnership with the Bay Area News Group.

Jon Wilner has been covering college sports for decades and is an AP Top 25 football and basketball voter as well as a Heisman Trophy voter. He was named Beat Writer of the Year in 2013 by the Football Writers Association of America for his coverage of the Pac-12, won first place for feature writing in 2016 in the Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest and is a five-time APSE honoree. You can follow him on Twitter @WilnerHotline or send an email at

Pac-12 Hotline: Subscribe to the Pac-12 Hotline Newsletter. Pac-12 Hotline is not endorsed or sponsored by the Pac-12 Conference, and the views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Conference.

Jon Wilner


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