Pac-10 Power Rankings - 11/1/09

November 1, 2009

Here's an early glimpse of how the Pac-10 teams rank at this point in the season. While there is still a scramble in the middle of the conference rankings, there is no doubt that the Ducks are firmly established at the top.

Although there are no hard rules about the criteria we use, it is important to note that a team that has an impressive road win is likely to get more respect.

1. OREGON DUCKS (two weeks ago: 1st)

The Ducks have clearly proven themselves to be the class of a very good and deep Pac-10 conference. In what was billed as the Pac-10 game of the year, the Ducks made the Trojans look as helpless as every other Pac-10 team has against them. Their 47-20 utter destruction of the Trojans was the most impressive performance against the Trojans by any Pac-10 team in a dozen years. The Ducks moved the ball and the Trojans vaunted defense looked helpless.

The opening loss at Boise State could have crushed the Ducks, but instead it has revitalized the team which inexplicably is playing better than any other in college football.

2. USC TROJANS (two weeks ago: 2nd)

The Trojans suffered their worst defeat in 12 years on Saturday. The Trojans, who struggled against teams like Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Oregon State, clearly met their match in the Ducks. The era of absolute Trojan dominance has finally come to an end in the Pac-10 and it will be interesting to see how the Trojans react to this reality. Will they stay motivated knowing they almost certainly can't win the conference? They better, because if they don't there is no guarantee they will even finish in the top 3 in this highly underrated conference.

3. CAL GOLDEN BEARS (two weeks ago: 4th)

The Bears saved their season by surviving at Arizona State on Saturday, 23-21. The Bears played a relatively sloppy game against the Sun Devils and both teams had chances to win. Nonetheless, the late drive by QB Kevin Riley to give the Bears the victory revealed what was a very uncharacteristic quality for this team: Character. In many ways Cal's season ended when they were destroyed by Oregon and USC a month ago after being ranked #6 in the country. Nonetheless, they have bounced back nicely and the next two weeks against Oregon State and Arizona will show whether the Bears are anywhere near as good as some people initially thought they were.

4. ARIZONA WILDCATS (two weeks ago: 3rd)

The Wildcats had a bye this week and still are a top 25 team deserving of respect. So why did they fall? Because they have yet to play Oregon, USC, or Cal and even mediocre Arizona State is on the road. It will be shocking if Arizona does not have at least 2 more conference losses after that closing stretch. Thankfully, they have yet another bye week to prepare this week - playing Washington State.

5. OREGON STATE BEAVERS (two weeks go: 6th)

The Beavers looked explosive in a loss at USC two weeks ago....which looked very impressive until the Ducks made the Trojans look that much worse last week. Additionally, the Beavers followed with an ordinary performance against the Bruins on Saturday, scraping by with a 26-19 win at home. One can argue the Beavers should be ranked higher or lower at this point. Road games against Cal and Oregon will help us figure it all out.

6. STANFORD CARDINAL (two weeks ago: 5th)

The Cardinal had a bye week and have looked very good at times this year. RB Toby Gerhardt has impressed everyone and Stanford has been highly competitive in every game this year. So how could a team this good be ranked 6th in the conference? (1) The conference is that good; (2) They have yet to play Oregon, USC, or Cal. An impressive close to the season will see the Cardinals get the respect they deserve.

7. UCLA BRUINS (two weeks ago: 7th)

Another close loss by the Bruins keeps them winless in Pac-10 play. The Pac-10 schedule this year was brutal for UCLA, as this team played all the better Pac-10 teams first. Considering this is a young team, that might prevent them from beating the Pac-10 teams they should beat down the stretch.

8. WASHINGTON HUSKIES (two weeks ago: 8th)

The Huskies should continue to celebrate that victory over USC, because that may be all they accomplish this year. Although there are still opportunities out there, and Washington has shown they can play well in stretches, there is very little to believe that the Huskies won't continue to disappoint this season. Nonetheless, a road victory at either UCLA or Oregon State before the season ends would merit some resect. Finishing the season with a victory at home against Cal would help just as much.


The fact that the Sun Devils, a team that nearly beat Georgia on the road, is ranked this low speaks to the depth of this conference. Further, the Sun Devils fought hard and nearly beat Cal at home this Saturday. Still, with games against USC, Oregon, and Arizona remaining (as well as a road game at UCLA), the Sun Devils still can't
rise in these rankings.

10. WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS (two weeks ago: 10th)

Washington State became the 3rd Pac-10 school to be defeated by Notre Dame this year, losing 40-14 in San Antonio. Considering the quality of that victory by the Irish over the Cougars, that would place Notre Dame somewhere in the middle of the Pac-10, possibly in the bottom half.

Manish Pandya
Staff Editor for

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