Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
Power ratings based entirely on the scoreboard, except when they aren't.
(All times Pacific.)
1. Oregon (9-1/6-1)
Last week: 1
Result: Beat Washington State 38-24
Next up: at Utah (4:30 p.m., ABC)
Line: Oregon +3
Comment: Think the two-touchdown win over WSU was impressive? Consider this narrative that we assume is percolating beyond the Pac-12 footprint: "Oregon didn't even dominate a team that lost to Utah State and BYU; meanwhile, Ohio State blew the doors off a team (Purdue) that beat Iowa and Michigan State." Even if they keep winning, the Ducks could have a perception problem rooted in the Pac-12's poor September performance.
2. Utah (7-3/6-1)
Last week: 2
Result: Won at Arizona 38-29
Next up: vs. Oregon (4:30 p.m., ABC)
Line: Utah -3
Comment: How might things go wrong for the Utes on Saturday afternoon? Our list of possibilities starts with a massive breakdown on special teams that directly results in points for the Ducks or creates a change in field position that alters the trajectory of the game.
3. Arizona State (7-3/5-2)
Last week: 4
Result: Won at Washington 35-30
Next up: at Oregon State (7:30 p.m., ESPN)
Line: Arizona State -2.5
Comment: Sure doesn't look like Jayden Daniels has made significant progress as a pocket passer over his three-year career (eight touchdowns, eight interceptions this season). But it helps to have Rachaad White around to carry the load.
4. Washington State (5-5/4-3)
Last week: 3
Result: Lost at Oregon 38-24
Next up: vs. Arizona (Friday, 6 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)
Line: WSU -14
Comment: Note the extremely rare (and perhaps unprecedented) Friday night game on the Pac-12 Networks. What gives? Fox and ESPN weren't interested, apparently. But the move provides WSU with a full week to prepare for the Apple Cup, which is in Seattle on the day after Thanksgiving. Arizona had to agree, but the Wildcats will have an extra day to prep for ASU.
5. UCLA (6-4/4-3)
Last week: 5
Result: Beat Colorado 44-20
Next up: at USC (1 p.m., FOX)
Line: UCLA -3
Comment: Seems like there's a flaw in UCLA's bye week routine. In the first halves of the games immediately following a bye (Fresno State and Colorado), the Bruins were outscored 43-20.
6. Oregon State (6-4/4-3)
Last week: 6
Result: Beat Stanford 35-14
Next up: vs. Arizona State (7:30 p.m., ESPN)
Line: Oregon State +2.5
Comment: The only takeaway from Saturday's result is the most important piece: the victory itself. Otherwise, we learned nothing about the impact of the coordinator change or OSU's prospects for winning either of the last two. Stanford's quarterback situation was just that dire.
7. USC (4-5/3-4)
Last week: 7
Next up: vs. UCLA (1 p.m., FOX)
Line: USC +3
Comment: Meet the model for sane instability.
8. Washington (4-6/3-4)
Last week: 8
Result: Lost to Arizona State 35-30
Next up: at Colorado (12 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)
Line: Washington -5.5
Comment: Dylan Morris throwing a seven-yard incomplete pass when the situation required a Hail Mary was the most 2021 Husky thing ever. Can it get any worse? Actually, yes. UW could lose the Apple Cup.
9. Cal (3-6/2-4)
Last week: 9
Next up: at Stanford (4 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)
Line: Cal -4
Comment: The Bears are on track to play this week — and that includes quarterback Chase Garbers. So we're left to wonder: Will the missed practice time cancel out the benefits of having an extra week to prepare? Considering Stanford's depleted state, Cal seemingly has a substantial advantage.
10. Colorado (3-7/2-5)
Last week: 10
Result: Lost at UCLA 44-20
Next up: vs. Washington (12 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)
Line: Colorado +5.5
Comment: The Buffaloes were officially eliminated from the postseason, so let's update the tally: Over 11 years in the Pac-12, they have two bowl bids (2016 and 2020). Not what anyone envisioned when they agreed to join the conference in 2010.
11. Stanford (3-7/2-6)
Last week: 11
Result: Lost at Oregon State 35-14
Next up: vs. Cal (4 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)
Line: Stanford +4
Comment: The injuries, especially at quarterback, have skewed a reasonable assessment of the past month. But the broader your view, the bleaker things look: The Cardinal was 4-8 in 2019, produced an uptick during the COVID season, and has sunk back to the bottom with this full schedule of play.
12. Arizona (1-9/1-6)
Last week: 12
Result: Lost to Utah 38-29
Next up: at Washington State (Friday, 6 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)
Line: Arizona +14
Comment: Sure seems like something happened within the program after the 34-0 loss to Colorado. Since then, the Wildcats have gone from awful to not-very-good with remarkable speed. At this rate, they might approach respectable by kickoff for the Territorial Cup.
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.
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