PAC-12 Power Rankings: A Champ Is Crowned
1. Stanford (11-2)
Cardinals handle UCLA on the Farm to win the PAC-12 championship. If not for that loss to Washington and a questionable call at Notre Dame, the Cardinal could be playing for the national championship. David Shaw deserves coach of the year honors in the PAC-12. Next up: Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.
2. Oregon (11-1)
Idle this week. Ducks await BCS bowl berth while chatter of Chip Kelly leaving is heard in the background. Is he a legit NFL coaching candidate? I’m not sold on it yet, I think it’s a recipe for failure, but perhaps Auburn or Arkansas should come-a-knocking. Could Kelly handle the SEC? Hard to imagine not being able to turn Oregon’s national championship run into recruiting success, but the Ducks sit at #34, according to scout.com – fifth best in the conference behind USC, Washington, UCLA, and Arizona. Next up: Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl; could be the most exciting match up of the bowl season.
3. UCLA (9-3)
Lost to Stanford in the PAC-12 championship game in a classic battle that just came up short. A 12th ranked recruiting class awaits Mora after his first season in Westwood, which when you add in the defeat of hated USC, marks a wildly successful season. Next up: Baylor in the Holiday Bowl. Should be a fun game all around – Baylor is on a roll, Bruins took two hits from Stanford – expect both teams to be very motivated and an exciting game to unfold. Last one with the ball wins this game.
4. Oregon State (9-3)
Another successful season in Corvallis for Mike Riley. I keep saying this; when are programs of higher prestige going to call Riley? Wake up. I’d hate to see him leave the PAC-12 but at some point someone needs to look at his success at OSU – doing more with less – and try and lure him away. Would USC make a run at him next season if Kiffin falters? Should I say if or when? Next up; Texas in the Alamo Bowl. Riley will have his crew ready to play, will Mack Brown?
5. Arizona State (7-5)
Started strong, finished on the ropes against the top teams in the conference, but beat in state rival UA for bragging rights. Solid year for Todd Graham. Next up; Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl vs. Navy. Another uninspiring bowl game match-up between two teams with no history. Best part of this game is at least we’re fighting hunger.
6. Arizona (7-5)
Idle this week. A great first season for Rich Rod. In one season he gives folks in Tucson something to talk about besides college basketball. ‘Cats have a strong recruiting class lined up (#22 per scouts.com) and a bowl game. Big upside for this program. Bear Down – football is relevant again at UA. Next up: Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl. Two things that just don’t go together; Nevada and quality football. A disappointing match-up.