This week's power rankings for the Pac-10 are as follows:
#1- Arizona State Sun Devils (7-0, 4-0 Pac-10)
Last Week: 44-20 win versus Washington
This Week: Bye
By virtue of them being the only undefeated team left in the Pac-10, Dennis Erickson's Sun Devils are top dog in the power rankings. The only marginal games they have played were against Oregon State and Colorado, and both of those games were in Tempe. Their next game, against California, is also at home, a week from this Saturday, meaning that their only road games that are a challenge are at Oregon and at UCLA.
#2- Oregon Ducks (5-1, 2-1 Pac-10)
Last Week: 53-7 win versus Washington State
This Week: at Washington, 7:30 PM Eastern
After losing a close game to Cal, Oregon demolished Wazzou at Autzen Stadium. However, that win could end up costing the Ducks in the long run, because of injuries to two key players, Cameron Colvin and Jeremiah Johnson. Colvin, a senior reciever, was going to have an increased role because of Brian Paysinger's achilles injury, but he broke his ankle, and Johnson, a junior running back who was in a even timeshare with Jonathan Stewart, blew out his ACL. After the trip to Seattle, the Ducks have back-to-back home games against USC and Arizona State, which should determine the landscape of the Pac-10.
#3- California Golden Bears (5-1, 2-1 Pac-10)
Last Week: 28-31 loss versus Oregon State
This Week: at UCLA, 3:30 PM Eastern
California has to regroup quickly after being upset by the Oregon State Beavers to keep their BCS hopes alive. Their entire season now hinges on the health of quarterback Nate Longshore's ankle, because freshman back-up Kevin Riley has now shown that he is not ready for the big time. Had the Bears not lost to Oregon State, they would have been the unanimous #1 team in the nation, but now, because of their poor play against the Beavers, they are fighting for respect just in the Pac-10. The rest of their schedule looks daunting, with road games at UCLA and Arizona State, and USC looming on the horizon.
#4- USC Trojans (5-1, 3-1 Pac-10)
Last Week: 20-13 win versus Arizona
This Week: at Notre Dame, 3:30 PM Eastern
USC has been scuffling since John David Booty broke his middle finger at some point during the game against Stanford. After losing to the Cardinal, Mark Sanchez put in an uninspired effort against Arizona, with only 130 yards and an interception. Booty is rumored to be back this weekend, which is important, for the major rivalry game with Notre Dame is this Saturday. All rivalry games can be traps, for even the most moribund of teams, which the Fighting Irish are this year, are capable of playing inspired, so the Trojans must keep up their guard and come out energized. Once they make it through South Bend, USC has the hardest remaining schedule in the Pac-10, with the two teams that last year's Trojans lost to at the Coliseum, Oregon State and UCLA, mixed with road games at Oregon, Cal, and Arizona State.
#5- UCLA Bruins (4-2, 3-0 Pac-10)
Last Week: Bye
This Week: California, 3:30 PM Eastern
The Bruins of UCLA are the other undefeated team in the Pac-10, but their bad losses at Utah and at home against Notre Dame say that they haven't played anyone. Their best win is against Oregon State, and once you get past that, there is nothing left. Even the win against Oregon State is tarnished, for the Beavers did all that they could to squander their 14-13 halftime lead, including not fielding a kickoff. The Bruins' bye week fell at the best time possible, after completely and utterly chunking it against the Fighting Irish. If they can recover from that ugly loss, they might be able to give California a run for their money, but if they are hung over, they will be easy pickings for the Golden Bears. The rest of the schedule is going to be interesting, for after Cal, there two relative gimmes against Arizona and Washington State, followed by the gauntlet of Arizona State, Oregon (both at home), and USC.
#6- Oregon State Beavers (4-3, 2-2 Pac-10)
Last Week: 31-28 win at California
This Week: Bye
Mike Riley's Oregon State Beavers have had an up and down season this year, mostly thanks to inconsistant sophomore quarterback Sean Canfield. With one very, very nice win at California, and one not-so-good loss against the UCLA Bruins, the Beavers have missed Sammie Stroughter. Stroughter, a senior reciever, missed the first couple of games because two family members died within a week of each other, and after coming back for a couple of games, bruised his kidney, and will miss the rest of the season. The Beavers are seeking to medical redshirt him. The Beavers' remaining schedule is going to be relatively simple, with the only challenges USC, who they beat last season, and Oregon, where the home team has won the last 9 matchups, and this year's edition of the Civil War Game is in Eugene.
#7- Stanford Cardinal (2-4, 1-3 Pac-10)
Last Week: 36-38 loss versus TCU
This Week: at Arizona, 7:00 PM Eastern
Jim Harbaugh, world's greatest producer of white board quotes for the other team, and his Stanford Cardinal have grossly overachieved this season. At the beginning of this season, I would have guessed that they would have won no more than three games, and now, halfway through the season, they are 2/3 of the way there. Beating USC, by itself, will do more for that football program will do more for recruiting than anything else they do this season, even if they make it to a bowl game. That bowl game could be possible, with the only hard games against Oregon State and California. The rest of the games should be winnable if they channel their inner dragonslayer.
#8- Washington Huskies (2-4, 0-3 Pac-10)
Last Week: 20-44 loss at Arizona State
This Week: Oregon, 7:30 PM Eastern
Watch out where the Huskies go, don't you eat that yellow snow. Keep that in perspective, for their entire schedule seems to be nothing but immensely challenging games, which doesn't change at all this week, when the Ducks of Oregon come to town. Washington doesn't have a legitamate chance to do anything this week, because they haven't had a pulse since putting away Boise State back on September 8th. The only bright spot has been redshirt freshman quarterback Jake Locker, who is arguably the best freshman QB to play in the Pac-10 in the last 10 years. With remaining games against Cal and Hawai'i, and the four other bottom teams of the Pac-10, the Huskies should start looking towards the future.
#9- Arizona Wildcats (2-5, 1-3 Pac-10)
Last Week: 13-20 loss at USC
This Week: Stanford, 7:00 PM Eastern
The only reason Mike Stoops' Wildcats are not at the bottom of this list is because they beat Washington State. That's it. Looks like Coach Stoops' job is in jeopardy too. Shouldn't have claimed that they'd be in a BCS game within 5 years. Pretty much jinxed yourself there. Sure would have helped if Willie Tuitama wouldn't have been absolutely demolished this soon in his career. There's no reason a college student should have chronic concussions. The last two weeks of this season will punctuate this, as they have Oregon and Arizona State. Not looking healthy for the boys from Tucson.
#10- Washington State Cougars (2-5, 0-4 Pac-10)
Last Week: 7-53 loss at Oregon
This Week: Bye
Good news Cougar fans. You aren't going to lose this week. That's because you aren't playing. Washington State, soon to be not led by Bill Doba, has had yet another disappointing season, which all started when Mike Price left for Alabama (then met a co-ed, got fired before coaching a single game, and ended up coaching UTEP), and hasn't let up since. There isn't a single winnable game left on their schedule, so they may as well pack it up and hope that Drew Bledsoe and Ryan Leaf can convince another pocket quarterback to go to Pullman. Thank god that basketball season's coming.