Pac 10 Rankings - 11/8/09

November 8, 2009

This week's Pac-10 rankings reveal quite a shakeup.

1. OREGON DUCKS (Last week: 1st)

The Ducks started slow and seemed to have no answer for Stanford's offensive firepower on Saturday. Nonetheless, the Ducks did get their offense going again and it is unlikely that they will allow themselves to fall so far behind in future conference games. This is still the best team in the conference and nobody should doubt that. In fact, as the DSH noted three weeks ago, there was no way anybody was going to win all their games in this year's Pac 10.

2. USC TROJANS (Last week: 2nd)

The Trojans struggled to victory at ASU this Saturday. Again, this was fairly predictable, even though the Sun Devils are not exactly a great team. After all, neither are the Trojans at this point. The offense looks pretty anemic at this late stage in the season. If the Trojans don't pick it up, they may finish in the middle of the conference.

3. STANFORD CARDINAL (Last week: 5th)

The Cardinal beat the previously unbeaten Ducks at their own game: they simply outscored them. A resounding 51-42 victory over Oregon in Palo Alto put everyone on notice of how good the Cardinal can be. Running back Toby Gerhardt and quarterback Andrew Luck may be the best offensive duo in the conference and the Cardinal can really make a statement if they beat the Trojans as well. On the other hand, like every other team in the conference, they shouldn't get too carried away with themselves. Things change dramatically from week to week as almost none of the conference teams are so good they can easily separate from all the rest.

4. OREGON STATE BEAVERS (Last week: 6th)

The Beavers have been improving as the season has gone along and the victory at Berkeley should come as no surprise. Oregon State won its fourth straight on Cal's home field on Saturday. For whatever reason, the Beavers have the Bears number and always appear ready for this matchup. Of course, "clever strategy" and "proper execution" helped, but probably they weren't even necessary once the Bears lost Best.

5. ARIZONA WILDCATS (Last week: 4th)

The Wildcats cruised over Washington State, 48-7. However, we have dropped them in the conference rankings. Is that fair to the team that is tied for the Pac 10 lead right now with only one loss? It is, because Arizona still has to prove themselves against USC and Oregon. They play at Cal next week, where victory seems much more likely with Jahvid Best gone. On the other hand, if any trends are consistent in the Pac 10, it's that nobody can simply expect to win in this conference, especially on the road.

6. CAL GOLDEN BEARS (Last week: 3rd)

The Bears season may have effectively ended in the second quarter on Saturday with the terrifying injury to star running back Jahvid Best. The brutal fall in the end zone from nearly 6 feet resulted in a "severe concussion" and looked much worse. Watching the play live, I instinctively thought, "Is this what someone who gets paralyzed looks like immediately after the accident?" While players prayed for the approximately 15 minutes it took to cart Best off the field, you had to wonder if you were witnessing a "Hank Gathers" moment.

As for the game, Best's athletic leap into the end zone in the 2nd quarter seemed capable of revitalizing the Bears, who once again were struggling against Oregon State. (Fun Stat: In its last 39 home games, Cal is 0-4 against the Beavers, 0-3 against the Trojans, and 32-0 against everybody else.) His subsequent fall ended any hopes of a decent bowl game, considering that it is unlikely Best will play again this season and the Bears offense, despite what the coaching staff and media like to say, suffers a huge drop off with running back Shane Vereen. That's not an insult to Vereen, but an acknowledgment of Best's talent.

7. UCLA BRUINS (Last week: 7th)

Another close and sloppily played conference game by the Bruins...only this time they pulled out the victory. The 24-23 defeat of the Huskies wasn't pretty, but put the Bruins back on course to make a run at a bowl game. The Bruins must hope that the difficulties of the conference season thus far have matured their young offensive talent. If it didn't, next year could be a rebuilding year as well.

8. ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS (Last week: 9th)

The Sun Devils are actually a pretty good team with a gritty defense. They have now lost close games to Georgia, USC, and Cal that they could have won. The fact that they are still 8th on this list speaks once again to just how good this deep conference is.

9. WASHINGTON HUSKIES(Last week: 8th)

The Huskies played hard at UCLA on Saturday, but their inability to defeat the Bruins despite causing 5 turnovers makes you wonder if they really are on track. Clearly they have some talent, as evidenced by their win over USC. Yet they have a long way to go to get back to the top of the Pac 10.

10. WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS (Last week: 10th)

Another week, another crushing defeat. This time to Arizona, 48-7.

Manish Pandya
Staff Editor for

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