Washington was a heavy favorite to win the Pac-12 in a preseason media poll and gets that chance Friday by virtue of clinching the North division title last week. The Huskies finish atop our final power rankings after a week in which the only changes were among the top four. Seven Pac-12 teams will play in bowl games starting Dec. 15 (Las Vegas) and continuing through Jan. 1 (Rose).
For comparison, these were are rankings after week 1: Stanford 1, USC 2, Washington 3, Utah 4, Oregon 5, Washington State 6, Arizona State 7, Colorado 8, California 9, Arizona 10, UCLA 11, Oregon State 12.
Jeff Metcalfe ranks all 12 teams in the conference after the 13th week of the season.
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12. Oregon State (2-10, 1-8 Pac-12)
Other than a where-did-that-come-from rally to beat Colorado, little went right in Jonathan Smith’s first year as Beavers coach particularly on defense (No. 128 nationally, giving up 45.7 ppg). Oregon cruised in the Civil War, 55-15, so Oregon State has a big gap to make up in-state after a two-year combined record of 3-21. No change from last week. Up next: 2019 season.
11. Colorado (5-7, 2-7)
Playing under an interim coach wasn’t an elixir for the Buffs, who suffered their seventh straight loss, 33-21 to California. Colorado trailed 21-0 after the first quarter, virtually assuring it would not get a sixth win and miss out on the postseason for the 10th time in the last 11 years. Unless Mike Leach leaves Washington State, Colorado appears to be the only Pac-12 coaching change. No change from last week. Up next: 2019 season.
10. USC (5-7, 4-5)
Clay Helton somehow survived USC’s worst season since 2000, ending with a competitive showing in a 24-17 loss to No. 3 Notre Dame. The Trojans lost five of their last six games with the only win in that stretch over Oregon State. But Helton was 21-6 combined in 2016-17 with New Year’s Six bowl appearances so he gets another chance. No change from last week. Up next: 2019 season.
9. UCLA (3-9, 3-6)
UCLA had its most losses since 1940 (1-9), lost four of its last five games including 49-42 to Stanford last week and still finished the season on more of perceived upswing than USC. But the Bruins have a lot of work ahead especially on defense (No. 105 nationally, giving up 34.1 ppg) and must decide whether to return to Dorian Thompson-Robinson at QB or look elsewhere. No change from last week. Up next: 2019 season.
8. Arizona (5-7, 4-5)
Like for Arizona State in 2016, Arizona’s 41-40 loss in the Territorial Cup will hurt for a long time given that the Wildcats opened the door repeatedly to allow the Sun Devils’ 20-0 fourth-quarter comeback. The pain will only increase if QB Khalil Tate transfers for his final season of eligibility. No change from last week. Up next: 2019 season.
7. California (7-4, 4-4)
The Bears continue to win primarily due to their defense, forcing five turnovers and returning two interceptions for touchdowns vs. Colorado. That carried Cal to its first winning record since 2015 with a chance still for two more victories since the Big Game was postponed until this week due to California fires. If the Bears lose to Stanford, they could wind up at the Cheez-It Bowl in Phoenix. No change from last week. Up next: Saturday vs. Stanford (7-4, 5-3).
6. Arizona State (7-5, 5-4)
ASU was picked to finish last in the South in a preseason media poll and ended up second, a field goal against Oregon away from winning the division. The Sun Devils are 4-5 in games decided by seven points or less and that tight-game experience paid off in the final nine minutes against Arizona. No change from last week. Up next: Bowl game to be determined.
azcentral sports’ Greg Moore, Michelle Gardner and Jeff Metcalfe discuss ASU’s Territorial Cup victory over UA in Tucson on Saturday.
Kynan Marlin, azcentral sports
5. Oregon (8-4, 5-4)
The Ducks won three of their final four, losing only to South champion Utah during that stretch, and ran up 55 in their rivalry game even though QB Justin Herbert went out with a first-half injury. Braxton Burmeister was plenty good enough as a replacement, and CJ Verdell scored 5 touchdowns (4 rushing). No change from last week. Up next: Bowl game to be determined.
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4. Stanford (7-4, 5-3)
Cardinal coach David Shaw described his team as an enigma after it survived a shootout with UCLA to keep hopes of a nine-win season alive. Quarterback K.J. Costello threw for 344 yards and 5 touchdowns against the Bruins and will be back next season, a solid starting point figuring Shaw is proven at fixing a rare off year in the run game. Down one place from last week. Up next: Saturday at California (7-4, 4-4).
3. Utah (9-3, 6-3)
The No. 17 Utes were down big — 27-7 in the third quarter — against BYU and could have just let the non-conference rivalry game go as a casualty of looking ahead to the Pac-12 Championship Game. Instead, Utah scored 28 unanswered for its third straight win since losing its starting quarterback and running back. Up one place from last week. Up next: Friday vs. No. 11 Washington in Santa Clara, Calif.
2. Washington State (10-2, 7-2)
Snow in Pullman grounded the No. 13 Cougars’ Air Raid offense, not to mention its CFP semifinal and Rose Bowl aspirations in a 28-15 loss to No. 11 Washington. QB Gardner Minshew was limited to 152 yards passing and conversely Washington State could not slow the Huskies’ run game. Still, the Cougars are a candidate to play in a New Year’s Six bowl. Down one place from last week. Up next: Bowl game to be determined.
1. Washington (9-3, 7-2)
Senior running back Myles Gaskin came through with 170 yards and 3 touchdowns in an Apple Cup that gave the Huskies their second North title in three years. It’s where Washington was expected to end up in the preseason but seemed out of reach following a 12-10 loss to Cal on Oct. 27. Now the Huskies are within a game of playing in their first Rose Bowl since the 2000 season. Up one place from last week. Up next: Friday vs. No. 17 Utah in Santa Clara, Calif.