2022 Week 9 Pac-12 Football Power Rankings

The Conference is nationally perceived as stronger when the Ducks are stringing together wins

Posted on October 25, 2022

  By Dane Miller, SuperWest Sports

The Conference of Champions is back on old footing after Oregon returned to the top of the hill.

The league is nationally perceived as stronger when the Ducks are stringing together wins, and the victory over UCLA was noted around the country.

But the game at Autzen Stadium wasn’t the only impactful result of the week.

Oregon State dominated Colorado and looks like a real threat, while Washington took care of California in a pivotal test for the Dawgs.

The results once again sent our writers and broadcasters back together to produce a new power ranking.

The list below is a composite of each voter’s picks, while the individual rankings appear in the table at the bottom.

1. Oregon (6-1, 4-0) ▲1
Kenny Dillingham’s offense is unstoppable.

Oregon Ducks Logo Pac-12The Oregon offensive coordinator has recast the national perception of Bo Nix with an effective scheme that plays to his quarterback’s strengths.

Combined with an elite offensive line, strong running backs, and speedy receivers that understand the system, the Ducks are legitimate Playoff contenders.

But there’s always room for improvement and the focus of the next two games figures to be on UO’s defense.

2. UCLA (6-1, 3-1) ▼1
One loss doesn’t define a season.

The Bruins settled for too many field goals and Bill McGovern’s defense couldn’t stop Oregon, but a road loss at Autzen Stadium is by no means a season-killer.

The Pac-12 Championship and Rose Bowl are still achievable, although a Playoff appearance is probably out of reach due to a weak nonconference resume.

Winning out is a must, yet Dorian Thompson-Robinson is more than capable of getting the job done.

3. USC (6-1, 4-1) ◄►
Coming off a bye week, the Trojans have utilized the free weekend to get healthy.

Wide receiver Jordan Addison and linebacker Eric Gentry’s status are described as “day-to-day,” potentially indicating a return is imminent.

The week off also permitted a focus on recruiting and internal analysis of the Utah matchup.

The late fourth-quarter clock management from Lincoln Riley is a fair topic, along with the defense’s inability to stop Dalton Kincaid.

4. Utah (5-2, 3-1) ◄►
The timing of Utah’s bye week was fortunate.

With a Thursday night matchup on the road, the Utes were able to utilize a normal practice schedule for the buildup. The result should be a team fully prepared for a nighttime matchup in Pullman.

The status of running back Tavion Thomas is in question due to what appears to be an internal team issue that has not been publicly disclosed.

That could indicate a disciplinary action has been taken, elevating Micah Bernard to a heavier role.

5. Oregon State (6-2, 3-2) ◄►
True freshman running back Damien Martinez had a career game against the porous Colorado defense.

Hyped as the real deal by the Oregon State media during the offseason, the Texas native scored three touchdowns and averaged 8.1 yards per carry.

The emergence of Martinez makes the Beavers a significantly deadlier offense, taking some of the burden off Ben Gulbranson in the passing game.

The result was Gulbranson’s highest QBR of the season.

With four contests remaining, eight wins appear to be a reasonable floor for the program.

6. Washington (6-2, 3-2) ◄►
Reaching bowl eligibility in Kalen DeBoer’s first season puts the rebuild in Seattle a year ahead of schedule.

Michael Penix Jr. and the offensive scheme are the primary reasons why, but a respectable defensive line is a substantial contributing factor.

Washington has struggled on “D” this year, particularly in the secondary, yet the D-Line is an exception. The group has helped produce the nation’s No. 13 defense in sacks per game.

Facing a handful of potent offenses to end the year, the remainder of UW’s season will be shaped by the production of its line.

7. Washington State (4-3, 1-3) ◄►

The Cougars return from their bye week for a Thursday night showdown with No. 14 Utah.

The Coug Raid has been ineffective the last two games, scoring a combined 24 points after averaging 29.6 points per game over the first five contests of the year.

The injury to Nakia Watson has an overweighted impact, with WSU unable to run the ball effectively without him in the game.

And with a series of tough matchups ahead of it, Washington State is in growing jeopardy of failing to reach bowl eligibility. 

8. Arizona (3-4, 1-3) ▲1

Jedd Fisch and the Arizona defense used their bye week to get back to basics.

Defensive issues have burdened the Wildcats all season, keeping the program from reaching bowl eligibility despite having one of the nation’s most explosive offenses.

Calls are growing to give freshmen on defense more opportunities, with the focus shifting toward building for the future.

But with USC visiting Tucson on homecoming weekend, defensive coordinator Johnny Nansen might stick with his most trusted players.

9. Stanford (3-4, 1-4) ▼1

Touchdowns aren’t needed to win games, apparently.

The Cardinal managed to beat Arizona State with five field goals and zero TD’s after David Shaw’s defense put together its second-straight game-winning performance.

The group has turned a corner since allowing 45 to Oregon at the start of October. But at the same time, Stanford’s offense has regressed.

Tanner McKee hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass in the last two games and the Tree are down to their third-string running back.

Until Shaw’s group puts together a complete game, the victories are arguably paper tigers. 

10. Cal (3-4, 1-3) ▲1

Another week, another similar result.

The California offensive scheme is incompetent and its offensive line is ineffective.

The injury to Jack Plummer doesn’t help his mobility, but there’s an apparent unwillingness to give backup Kai Millner a shot.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Until Justin Wilcox moves on from Bill Musgrave, the Bears will continue to lose football games. 

11. Arizona State (2-5, 1-3) ▼1
Interim coaches are sometimes provided with choices that could change their careers.

Shaun Aguano had one of those moments leading up to the Stanford game and undoubtedly whiffed. Trenton Bourguet should have started against the Tree, but Emory Jones got the nod.

As a result, the Sun Devils lost despite the Cardinal failing to score a touchdown. If that isn’t enough to give the starting job to Bourguet, then nothing will be.

Faith was growing around Aguano as a potential answer to the search for a new coach, but the mistake in playing Jones ended that buzz before it became a roar.

12. Colorado (1-6, 1-3) ◄►

There aren’t many positives to take away from the blowout defeat to Oregon State.

Wide receiver Jordyn Tyson had the most productive game of his career along with running back Jayle Stacks, but the CU offense was shut down by the Beavers’ elite defense.

Still, returning to Boulder this Saturday to face struggling Arizona State, the Buffs have a legitimate shot at an upset.

The status of Owen McCown is questionable, though, and Colorado faces a tougher road if he isn’t able to play. 

How our Senior Football Writers and Broadcasters Voted

Dane Miller

Jack Follman

Stephen Vilardo

Nick Bartlett

Steve Ritchie

Spencer McLaughlin

Matt Wadleigh

—More from Dane Miller—