Posted on October 18, 2022
The defeat hurt the league’s Playoff hopes, but simultaneously amplifies this weekend’s matchup between No. 9 UCLA and No. 10 Oregon.
The undefeated Bruins control their own destiny but haven’t won in Eugene since 2004.
In other Conference matchups, Oregon State handled Washington State, while California stumbled at Colorado.
The results sent our Senior Writers and Broadcasters back to the drawing board to rank the 12 teams. The list below is a composite of each voter’s selections, while the table at the bottom displays each individual list.
1. UCLA (6-0, 3-0) ▲1Moving up to No. 9 in the AP Top 25, UCLA secured its highest ranking in the media poll since the 2015 season.
Nobody has been able to stop Chip Kelly’s offense this year.
The Bruins are No. 12 in the nation in scoring offense, putting up 41.5 points per game. But the surprise of the season has been Bill McGovern’s defense.
McGovern’s group is the No. 5 scoring defense in the Pac-12, holding opponents to 22.6 points per game.
2. Oregon (5-1, 3-0) ▲1With an extra week to prepare for UCLA’s offense, the Ducks are ready for College GameDay and one of the top matchups in the Pac-12 this season.
Oregon holds a seven-game win streak over the Bruins at Autzen Stadium and hasn’t lost to UCLA in Eugene since 2004.
But Dan Lanning’s defense faces a difficult task in slowing down Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Chip Kelly’s scheme.
Yet, with UO’s Playoff hopes still alive and well, the crowd at Autzen promises to make life difficult for the Bruin offense.
3. USC (6-1, 4-1) ▼2For the seventh-straight game, the Trojans fell short against a team ranked in the AP Top 25.
The last time USC beat a ranked opponent was on September 20, 2019, and the most recent true road victory over a Top 25 program was all the way back in 2016.
The losing streaks are evidence of the remaining hurdles Lincoln Riley faces to return SC back to its glory days.
Entering a bye week, injuries to star wide receiver Jordan Addison and linebacker Eric Gentry are the focus.
4. Utah (5-2, 3-1) ◄►Morgan Scalley’s defense wasn’t able to contain a high-powered offense for the second game in a row, but the Utes still secured the win in Salt Lake City.
Kyle Whittingham’s decision to go for two paid off and the largest crowd in Rice-Eccles Stadium history rushed the field.
The victory saved Utah’s season and put it back in contention for a New Year’s Six Bowl.
With a bye week ahead of it, the UU staff can focus on recruiting and beginning early preparation for the road test at Washington State.
5. Oregon State (5-2, 2-2) ▲2The Beavers shut down Cam Ward and the Washington State offense.
Expected to be a close battle, Oregon State forced the Cougars into an inefficient one-dimensional passing team.
The victory sets the table for a strong finish to the year.
Matched up with Colorado this weekend, OSU is likely to reach bowl eligibility for back-to-back years for the first time since the 2012-2013 seasons.
6. Washington (5-2, 2-2) ◄►Facing a weak Arizona defense, Washington lopped 49 on the scoreboard and appeared to return to form.
Still, the victory covers up a growing problem that must be addressed. Over the past three games, the Husky defense is allowing 41.3 points per night.
That’s unsustainable and indicates the need for changes on the defensive staff. Kalen DeBoer may wait until the offseason to make changes, but the writing is on the wall for moves to be made.
7. Washington State (4-3, 1-3) ▼2The absence of starting running back Nakia Watson was on full display in Corvallis.
Unable to run the ball, the Coug Raid became one-dimensional and was shut down by Oregon State’s secondary.
Cam Ward was sacked six times and completed a season-low 46.3 percent of his passes, despite throwing for a season-high 54 attempts.
The defeat throws the remainder of the season into question.
Needing two more victories to reach bowl eligibility, the games against Stanford, Arizona State, and Arizona are no longer viewed as easy wins.
8. Stanford (2-4, 1-4) ▲3Snapping an 11-game losing streak to FBS opponents, Stanford shocked the College Football world with a victory on the road against Notre Dame.
The win recasts the remainder of the Cardinal’s season in a new light.
A daunting schedule remains, yet the matchups with Arizona State and Washington State at home are suddenly viewed as winnable.
The turnaround is primarily attributable to an improved defense, as the Tree have held their opponent to fewer points than the game prior for the second weekend in a row.
9. Arizona (3-4, 1-3) ◄►The Wildcat defense is an unmitigated disaster. Johnny Nansen’s 4-2-5 base scheme isn’t effective with Arizona’s personnel, putting the players into position to fail.
Contrasted with a potent offense that has taken several leaps forward, the defense has regressed despite returning a majority of its talent and adding productive pieces.
The common denominator is coaching and the first-year coordinator is rightly on the hot seat. Results on the field matter and Nansen isn’t getting the job done.
10. Arizona State (2-4, 1-2) ◄►There’s a quarterback controversy brewing in Tempe.
Despite what interim head coach Shaun Aguano states publicly, there’s little doubt that Emory Jones’ hold on starting role is up in the air.
Trenton Bourguet played too well against the Washington defense to keep him sidelined. If Jones struggles in the first half against Stanford this weekend, Bourguet will likely get another opportunity.
And facing a must-win for bowl eligibility, Jones may only get a couple drives to keep the job.
11. Cal (3-3, 1-2) ▼3The defeat at winless Colorado was one of the worst losses in modern California history. The offensive game plan was dramatically inadequate and the loss puts Justin Wilcox on the hot seat.
The CU defense was dead-last in the nation at defending the run and the Bears have one of the top running backs in the Pac-12 in Jaydn Ott.
Yet, for reasons unknown, Cal didn’t focus on running the ball.
It’s too late to change offensive schemes at this point in the season, but it would be shocking if Bill Musgrave is Cal’s offensive coordinator next season.
12. Colorado (1-5, 1-2) ◄►The Buffs’ surprise upset over California was exactly what Colorado Football needed.
Coaching changes occasionally have a rallying effect on a program, and Mike Sanford took full advantage. With new life injected into the team, the rebuild for the future can begin.
The home crowd at Folsom Field was impressive considering the state of the program, indicating a sleeping giant in Boulder.
Winning on the road this season is probably unachievable, but the home game against Arizona State is undoubtedly circled.
How our Senior Football Writers and Broadcasters Voted
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