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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 21, 2011 at 9:45 AM

Pac-12 Rankings — Week Three

The bulk of Pac-12 non-conference play is over, and it’s not exactly a glittering tally.

Pac-12 teams are 20-9 overall in non-conference play, but just 13-8 against FBS schools and 4-6 against BCS schools. That’s not going to do much to quell the “East Coast bias.”

The good news is that at least perception really doesn’t matter much in determining post-season bids in college football — the Pac-12 has seven bowl guarantees and now just has to get seven teams to at least 6-6 to fill all those spots (and seven teams not named USC, since the Trojans aren’t eligible).

And already that’s looking a little dicey. UCLA (1-2) and Oregon State (0-2) appear longshots to get to the post-season, and Arizona (1-2) and Colorado (1-2 and playing 13 games in 13 weeks) don’t appear in much better shape. All of which askes the question — doesn’t anyone here want to go to the New Mexico Bowl?

On with the rankings. …

1, Stanford — Losing linebacker Shayne Skov, the heart and soul of the defense, is a tough blow, but the Cardinal just keeps rolling and now has the week off having won six straight games dating to last season by 27 points or more.

2, Oregon — Coming off two relative scrimmages to get well after the LSU loss, the Ducks now hit the road to play at Arizona.

3, USC — Don’t look now, but USC’s defense appears to be improving, allowing 313 yards per game so far and just 88 on the ground. If that holds up, and Matt Barkley continues to play as he has, Trojans could be the best of the South.

4, Utah — That supposed tough test at BYU didn’t turn out so tough, after all. Utah is doing it the old-fashioned way, with defense and a running game, and has the week off to get ready for a visit from the Huskies on Oct. 1.

5, Cal — Bears basically got last week off, as well, to get ready for the trip to UW, which will tell a lot about whether this is really a different Cal team, or another that simply looks good early and fades once conference play starts — especially on the road.

6, Arizona State — Devils lost a heartbreaker at Illinois that dimmied a lot of the enthusiasm of the Missouri win, and also have lost defensive end Junior Onyeali, likely for the season. He’s the fourth defensive starter ASU has lost since the spring.

7, Washington — A lot of what-might-have-beens coming out of the trip to Nebraska. But also still a lot of questions about the defense, and now what looms as a real swing game against the Bears.

8, Colorado — Buffs got a much-needed win last week against Colorado State, and are fourth in the conference in total defense and passing offense.

9, Washington State — Cougs blew a chance to make a statement with the fourth-quarter collapse at San Diego State. That game also exposed that WSU’s lines still have a ways to go. WSU off this week before a trip to Colorado on Oct. 1.

10, Arizona — Wildcats just got pushed around late by Stanford and now host Oregon in continuing just a brutal start to the season.

11, UCLA — Not much going right for the Bruins and the season could go completely off the rails if UCLA doesn’t win Saturday at Oregon State — the Bruins play on Oct. 1 at Stanford.

12, Oregon State — Beavers at least had last week off after a brutal start to the season and a switch in quarterbacks to Sean Mannion, who will become the first freshman to start at QB for the Beavers since Jonathan Smith in 1998.

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