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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 2, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Ranking the Pac — Week 9

I’ve been kind of lax in doing these the last few weeks, so time to get back on the horse and rank the Pac. …

1, Stanford — Stanford (now 8-0, 6-0) barely survived, but all championship teams have a game or two like that along the way. Should have smooth sailing this week at Oregon State before then facing Oregon, which could be its last real impediment to an undefeated season.

2, Oregon — Not a great effort by the Ducks (7-1, 5-0) last week, but maybe they were looking ahead while also shaking the rust off guys like Darron Thomas and LaMichael James. I’d expect they’ll play at a little higher pitch this week.

3, Arizona State — Don’t completely discount the way the Devils (6-2, 4-1) routed Colorado. Doing what is expected has been a chore for ASU in the past, so that may be a sign of a continually maturing team. But now ASU has a test at UCLA, a game it needs to win to basically clinch the Pac-12 South.

4, USC — Obviously, a bit of a strange role for the Trojans (6-2, 3-2) to get some congratulations after a loss. But the way USC played against Stanford shows a team that seems to be getting better. And the Trojans are doing it with one of the youngest teams in the league, starting just five seniors (though QB Matt Barkley, a junior, is also likely to head to the NFL after this season).

5, Washington — Huskies (6-2, 4-1) are right back where they were two weeks ago, seemingly a team on the rise but needing to play well against an established power to show they truly belong.

6, UCLA — Might seem high for the Bruins, but who else to put here — Utah? Arizona? UCLA had a nice win against Cal and continues to control its destiny in the Pac-12 South with a key game this week against visiting Arizona State. If the Bruins (4-4 overall, 3-2 in Pac-12 play) win it’s not inconceivable they could win the South and get to the Pac-12 title game (though they’d probably have to beat USC later to do it).

7, Arizona — Wildcats (2-6, 1-5) put up a good fight at UW last week before all the depth issues started to really take a toll, especially on defense and special teams. Wildcats need to win out to get to a bowl now, meaning a home game with Utah is a must win.

8, Utah — Just when you thought the Utes (4-4, 1-4) were completely dead, they rise up with one of their typical defense-running game efforts and throttle Oregon State. And don’t look now but Utah is 4-4 overall and with games at Arizona and WSU and at home against UCLA and Colorado could easily get a bowl game, if not win seven or eight overall.

9, Cal — Another really strange effort by the Bears (4-4, 1-4) last week as they allowed a shockingly high running total to UCLA (294) and had another bad game by QB Zach Maynard. Now 4-4, Cal has to win at home against WSU this week and Oregon State next week to keep bowl hopes alive as it finishes the year with games at Stanford and at ASU.

10, Oregon State — We’ll keep the Beavers (2-6, 2-3) ahead of the Cougars because they did just dominate WSU in Seattle two weeks ago. But that was a bad effort by OSU at Utah last Saturday that stalled what appeared to be the potential for a nice second-half rebound. And it’s easy to project OSU never winning again this year as it now hosts Stanford, plays at Cal, hosts UW and plays at Oregon to finish out the season.

11, Washington State — Cougs (3-5, 1-4) showed some grit in Eugene. But as even Paul Wulff admitted, the time for moral victories is gone for WSU. At 3-5, it’s a total must-win for WSU (and maybe Wulff) at Cal Saturday.

12, Colorado — Another week, another blowout for CU (1-8, 0-5) and now USC comes to town for a Friday night game that likely won’t be pretty.

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