Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
Power ratings based entirely on the scoreboard, except when they aren't.
(All times Pacific.)
1. Oregon (7-1/4-1)
Last week: 1
Result: Beat Colorado 52-29
Next up: at Washington (4:30 p.m., ABC)
Line: Oregon -7
Comment: What should fans root for, above and beyond five more wins? It depends entirely on Ohio State's position Tuesday in the playoff rankings. If the Buckeyes are ahead of the Ducks (an impediment), then Oregon needs OSU to lose. If the Buckeyes are behind the Ducks (résumé fuel), then Oregon needs OSU to keep winning.
2. Utah (5-3/4-1)
Last week: 3
Result: Beat UCLA 44-24
Next up: at Stanford (Friday, 7:30 p.m., FS1)
Line: Utah -6
Comment: Each year, a handful of Pac-12 results simply don't make sense within the context of a team's total performance. Utah's defensive no-show at Oregon State two Saturdays ago is near the top of the 2021 list. The Utes surrendered 42 points. In their other four conference games, they have allowed an average of 21.
3. Washington State (5-4/4-2)
Last week: 6
Result: Won at Arizona State 34-21
Next up: Idle
Comment: What if we had told you: The Cougars would have a four-game conference winning streak and control of their destiny in the division on Nov. 1 — and neither of those things would be anywhere close to the most surprising development of their season.
4. UCLA (5-4/3-3)
Last week: 5
Result: Lost at Utah 44-24
Next up: Idle
Comment: Not sure who will be coaching the Bruins next season as the losses mount and Chip Kelly's future grows increasing tenuous. But it's pretty clear who will be quarterbacking the Bruins next season. Ethan Garbers is the real deal.
5. Oregon State (5-3/3-2)
Last week: 2
Result: Lost at Cal 39-25
Next up: at Colorado (4 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)
Line: Oregon State -12
Comment: We thought the Beavers were beyond the point of experiencing all-systems breakdowns. But the effort in Berkeley was so poor that we wonder if they're capable of staying within a game of Oregon and creating a make-or-break finale.
6. Arizona State (5-3/3-2)
Last week: 4
Result: Lost to Washington State 34-21
Next up: vs. USC (7:30 p.m., ESPN)
Line: ASU -10
Comment: With each passing week, the Herm Edwards era looks worse in comparison to the Todd Graham era. And the Todd Graham era did not include an NCAA investigation into deplorable recruiting transgressions that could kneecap the program for years to come.
7. USC (4-4/3-3)
Last week: 8
Result: Beat Arizona 41-34
Next up: at Arizona State (7:30 p.m., ESPN)
Line: USC +10
Comment: The Trojans are yielding 34 points per game at home and only 19.7 on the road. They're allowing 6.95 yards per play at home and just 4.73 on the road. And they're permitting opponents to convert 43.3% of their third-down attempts in the Coliseum against just 37.1% on the road. All of which is another way of saying: Take the points.
8. Washington (4-4/3-2)
Last week: 9
Result: Won at Stanford 20-13
Next up: vs. Oregon (4:30 p.m., ABC)
Line: Washington +7
Comment: A funny thing happens when you find ways to get the ball to your playmakers: They make plays.
9. Cal (3-5/2-3)
Last week: 10
Result: Beat Oregon State 39-25
Next up: at Arizona (12 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)
Line: Cal -12
Comment: That was the Cal team we expected to see at the start of the decade, after the Bears finished 2019 with three consecutive wins and had a strong returning core. But then COVID.
10. Stanford (3-5/2-4)
Last week: 7
Result: Lost to Washington 20-13
Next up: vs. Utah (Friday, 7:30 p.m., FS1)
Line: Stanford +6
Comment: The Cardinal is No. 125 nationally in rushing yards per game and No. 119 in rushing yards allowed per game. That might be a sustainable existence if the wideouts were healthy or if Mike Leach was calling the plays. But nothing about this team seems to fit with David Shaw's coaching philosophy or comfort zone.
11. Colorado (2-6/1-4)
Last week: 11
Result: Lost at Oregon 52-29
Next up: vs. Oregon State (4 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)
Line: Colorado +12
Comment: Consider us skeptical of CU's production spike: None of the four touchdowns came when the game was competitive — or more to the point, none of them came when Oregon's defense thought the game was competitive.
12. Arizona (0-8/0-5)
Last week: 12
Result: Lost at USC 41-34
Next up: vs. Cal (12 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)
Line: Arizona +12
Comment: The sentiment took us by surprise and probably won't last, but after watching ASU's meltdown and Arizona's gutty effort, we considered the possibility that the Territorial Cup might actually be … competitive?
Jon Wilner's Pac-12 Hotline is brought to KSL.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.