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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 9, 2009 at 7:50 AM

Ranking the Pac

Just four weekends of games left, and the conference seems as muddled as ever.
The easiest way to look at it right now is that Oregon and Arizona are the only two teams that control their own destiny — if either wins out, then it is the Pac-10 champion and will go to the Rose Bowl. And when they play each other in Tucson Nov. 21 it will obviously sort a lot of it out. Should each stumble another time or two, then USC, Oregon State and Stanford can get right back into it.
Now, the rankings (with standings at the bottom):
1, Arizona — Wildcats are a freak interception at UW away from being the lone undefeated team in the conference — and that was a game UA dominated statistically. Arizona leads the conference in total defense, is second in total offense, and if you think it’s all due to a soft non-conference schedule, UA’s slate is rated No. 16 in the country this year by Sagarin and included Iowa and Central Michigan (7-2 and headed to another bowl). Granted, Arizona has the toughest schedule left of any of the contenders, due in part to having played one fewer conference game. Arizona still has to go to Cal, USC and Arizona State, hosting Oregon in between. But this season has been an impressive step in showing that Mike Stoops has built something real in the desert.
2, Oregon — Ducks still in decent shape for first Rose Bowl since 1995 (and first BCS bowl since 2001) but won’t be easy with the game at Arizona and then a home game to end the year against OSU. But Ducks should get back on track this week at home against Arizona State.
3, USC — Don’t count out the Trojans to win an eighth straight conference title. Trojans now finish with three in a row at home against Stanford, UCLA and Arizona. If USC wins out and Arizona beats Oregon, you could have a three-way tie for title that due to a better non-conference record would, I think, favor the Trojans.
4, Stanford — No matter what happens from here, a breakthrough season for the Cardinal to get back to bowl eligibility for the first time since 2001 — that means Washington now has the longest Pac-10 streak of not being bowl eligibility unless the Huskies win out to get there this season. Stanford has some tough sledding now with a game at USC this week then home to Cal and Notre Dame.
5, Oregon State — Might seem kind of far-fetched on the face of it, but don’t count out the Beavers for making a run at the Pac-10 title. While a lot of the heavy-hitters play each other the next two weeks, OSU hosts Washington and travels to Washington State. Who knows? Could be a huge deadlock at the top when OSU finishes at Eugene Dec. 3.
6, Cal — Glad to hear that Jahvid Best is okay. Hard to tell if the Bears are. And while the notion that the Bears always collapse late isn’t really supported by the facts — 2007 is really the only year Cal totally lost it at the end — this is shaping up as another soft finish for Cal, which now hosts Arizona then finishes at Stanford and Washington.
7, UCLA — Rick Neuheisel seemed awful excited afterward Saturday’s game. Not so sure the UCLA fans were thought as much of that win as he did. But what the heck? It may have just gotten UCLA into a bowl as the Bruins now travel to WSU and host ASU before finishing against USC. Win the next two and the Bruins are sure to go to the post-season.
8, Arizona State — Dennis Erickson finally made the switch to Brock Osweiler. And the future seems to be all ASU has now. Games at UCLA and Oregon the next two weeks will probably have ASU assured a losing record by the time it hosts Arizona.
9, Washington — Huskies have lost five of six since that 2-1 start indicated so much promise. And suddenly, UW seems destined to finish right where everyone predicted before the season barring an upset or two the rest of the way.
10, Washington State — Cougars are simply a mess and hard to envision a win the rest of the way now.
And for reference sake, here are the standings this week:
Oregon 5-1 7-2
Arizona 4-1 6-2
Stanford 5-2 6-3
USC 4-2 7-2
Oregon State 4-2 6-3
California 3-3 6-3
Arizona State 2-4 4-5
Washington 2-4 3-6
UCLA 1-5 4-5
Washington State 0-6 1-8

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