Posted on November 2, 2022
But in the Mountain West, Boise State is beginning to turn heads with a revitalized offense.
At the same time, BYU suffered another loss and San Diego State collapsed in the final two minutes against Fresno State.
The results sent our Senior Writers and Broadcasters back together to produce a new Power Ranking. The list below is a composite of each voter’s picks, while the table at the bottom contains the individual lists.
1. Oregon (7-1, 5-0) ◄►The Ducks started slow in Berkeley but put it together in the second quarter.
The 18-point road victory was a respectable box score for the East Coast Playoff Committee members that were likely preoccupied with other games.
As the Pac-12’s primary threat to make the CFP, margin of victory will remain pivotal in the final four games of the regular season.
And having scored more than 40 points in all but one contest this season, UO has the offense to get back to the Promised Land.
2. UCLA (7-1, 4-1) ◄►Zach Charbonnet ran all over the Stanford defense as the Bruins crushed the Cardinal in Pasadena.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson didn’t throw a touchdown pass, but he secured a score on the ground and posted 50 yards rushing.
The victory keeps UCLA in contention for the Pac-12 Championship Game with a relatively soft schedule to finish the year.
Apart from the matchup with USC in late November, the Bruins face three programs with a combined record of 9-15.
And boasting the nation’s No. 11 scoring offense, UCLA controls its own destiny.
3. USC (7-1, 5-1) ◄►
The Trojans did not look like a College Football Playoff team on the road in Tucson.
Alex Grinch’s defense allowed 37 points and 543 total yards of offense to the Wildcats, and the game entered the fourth quarter with USC up just two.
The eight-point win was narrower than expected, although a controversial end to the first half and injuries played a role.
Still, road victories will be taken however they come and three of SC’s final four games are at the Coliseum.
But with just one win over a ranked opponent, the Trojans’ Playoff hopes seem tenuous.
4. Utah (6-2, 4-1) ◄►Without Cam Rising, Tavion Thomas, and Micah Bernard, the Utes made the long journey to Pullman and left with a victory.
True freshman running back Jaylon Glover stepped up to carry the burden in the backfield, along with converted quarterback Ja’Quinden Jackson.
The duo combined for two touchdowns and 119 yards rushing on 30 carries.
The road win displayed the depth Kyle Whittingham has built on offense and kept Utah on track to the Pac-12 Championship Game.
5. Oregon State (6-2, 3-2) ◄►Entering the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2013, Oregon State is one of the hottest teams in the Pac-12.
Reports out of Corvallis indicate Chance Nolan has returned to practice this week, but it remains to be seen if he will start on Friday.
And even if Nolan is ready to go it might be wise to stick with Gulbranson.
Regardless, the Beavers enter the matchup in Seattle with the Conference’s No. 1 pass-efficiency defense.
In simpler terms, OSU has forced more interceptions (10) than passing touchdowns allowed (8), making its secondary among the nation’s elite.
6. Washington (6-2, 3-2) ◄►Coming off a bye week, the Dawgs enter the final stretch of their season with several noteworthy accolades.
Washington is No. 10 in the nation in scoring offense and No. 1 in passing offense.
Kalen DeBoer has transformed the program in just a single offseason, turning the page on the disastrous Jimmy Lake era.
With a chance to knock off a ranked opponent this Friday, the Huskies can eliminate the lingering disappointment from the loss to Arizona State with a resounding win.
7. Boise State (6-2, 5-0) ▲1Dominating Colorado State, the Broncos showed off their improved offense under the command of Taylen Green. The redshirt freshman threw for a career-high 305 yards passing and added a score on the ground.
The blowout victory sets the table for a season-defining showdown with BYU this Saturday.
Boise State’s year has been a tale of two halves, and the ugly first few games of the year might be forgotten with a win over the Cougars.
Doubling the stakes, a victory over BYU would probably convince enough AP Voters to put BSU back in the Top 25.
8. Washington State (4-4, 1-4) ▼1
The Coug Raid is broken. Ever since the injury to Nakia Watson, the Washington State offense has been stuck in the Stone Age.
Too many throws behind the line of scrimmage and ineffective wide receiver screens have led to an offense putting up just 13.6 points per game over the last three contests.
Opposing coordinators have enough game film to properly defend the scheme, and the traditional rushing attack has been all but abandoned.
That’s worrying for a team facing three competent offenses over its final four games.
9. Arizona (3-5, 1-4) ▲1Jedd Fisch and the Wildcats are not that far off.
After battling the Trojans to the end, Arizona showed where it truly falls on the Pac-12 pecking order.
Holding the No. 3 passing offense in the country, the next step in the evolution of the program is to build the defense.
The transfer portal figures to be the primary tool to do so, but freshmen such as Ephesians Prysock and Jacob Manu will play pivotal roles.
With matchups remaining against Washington State and Arizona State in Tucson, a five-win season appears reasonable.
10. BYU (4-5) ▼1Over-hyped and underperforming, BYU is in the midst of a four-game losing streak.
Entering the season, some were pointing to the Cougars as a legitimate New Year’s Six team. But after nine games, Kalani Sitake’s group is at risk of missing a bowl game.
The defense may have taken a small step forward in the second half against East Carolina, but the Cougars are 104th in the FBS in points allowed per game.
And facing the top team in the Mountain West on the road this week, it’s fair to wonder just how bad it will get.
11. Fresno State (4-4, 3-1) ▲2
It took a miracle, but Fresno State got it done.
Jake Haener made a surprise return against San Diego State in one of the better-kept secrets this season.
Nobody outside of the Bulldog staff was expecting him to play in the matchup, although his mobility was clearly hampered.
Haener was sacked seven times and threw two interceptions against the Aztecs. Yet, the win puts Fresno State in position to return to the Mountain West Championship.
To get there, though, Jeff Tedford’s team must win out while handling UNLV and Wyoming over the next four weeks.
12. Arizona State (3-5, 2-3) ▲2It took interim coach Shaun Aguano too long, but he finally found his starting quarterback for the foreseeable future.
Trenton Bourguet passed for 435 yards with three touchdowns in Arizona State’s 42-34 victory over Colorado.
The Sun Devils can only wonder what their record would be if the staff went with Bourguet earlier in the season, but that’s neither here nor there.
Bowl eligibility remains a possibility with games against Washington State, Oregon State, and Arizona left on the schedule.
13. Cal (3-5, 1-4) ▼1What once appeared to be a promising season has devolved into a slow-burning disaster.
California’s offensive line is statistically one of the worst in the Pac-12, allowing 3.12 sacks per game, which ties it for 11th in the league.
Jack Plummer has constantly taken hits this year, leading to an injury that has hampered his mobility.
Backup Kai Millner played well in the fourth quarter against Oregon, but the path to bowl eligibility has been virtually eliminated.
14. San Diego State (4-4, 2-2) ▲1It’s been that kind of year for Brady Hoke and San Diego State.
With the game appearing to be sealed, Fresno State scored 15 points in 17 seconds to snatch the victory away.
The collapse overshadows the strongest offensive output of the year against an FBS opponent.
Jalen Mayden completed 79.2 percent of his passes and posted four total touchdowns.
It’s an unkind silver lining, but the offensive upswing gives legitimate expectations to reach bowl eligibility by the end of the season.
15. Stanford (3-4, 1-4) ▼4The Cardinal were exposed after stringing together back-to-back wins.
The victories over a struggling Notre Dame team and an Arizona State roster led by Emory Jones were arguably faux victories that are fairly characterized as a mirage.
Facing a competent offensive scheme last weekend, David Shaw’s group gave up 38 points and only scored 13.
With just two touchdowns over the past three games, the problems on offense might be too much to overcome.
Still, with games remaining against Washington State, California, and BYU, Stanford still has a shot at bowl eligibility.
12. Colorado (1-6, 1-3) ◄►
Colorado battled back to make it a game but wasn’t able to contain Arizona State’s offense under the command of Trenton Bourguet.
Jordyn Tyson was recognized as the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week, though, and running back Deion Smith had his most productive game of the season.
But until Owen McCown is healthy enough to play, upset victories will probably remain out of reach.
And facing a gauntlet of Oregon, USC, Washington, and Utah to finish the year, a one-win season appears to be a lock.
How our Senior Football Writers and Broadcasters Voted
|Ore St||UW||Ore St||UW||Ore St||Ore St||BYU|
|UW||Ore St||UW||Ore St||BSU||UW||UW|
|WSU||Cal||WSU||WSU||Fresno St||Arizona||Fresno St|
|Cal||Fresno St||Fresno St||Stanford||Cal||Cal||ASU|
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