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Pac-12 Power Rankings: This conference is deep

Oregon is looking like the 6th best team in the conference, and that's scary to think

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The Pac-12 never stops surprising, and there's no reason to believe that will stop any time soon.

I mean, Oregon can still win the North and go to the Rose Bowl. Did you see that coming two, three weeks ago?

Here's how we see the conference stacking up with just three weeks left:

1. Stanford Cardinal

Previous ranking: 1

Stanford has been headlining these rankings for quite some time now. This is one of the most complete teams in the conference, and they'll likely win out in conference play. This is the Pac-12's last chance of having a team in the College Football Playoff, unless Utah can make some moves and take them down.

Stanford has a heavyweight battle vs. Notre Dame to end the season, and that could be for the final spot in the playoff, given that Stanford wins in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

2. Utah Utes

Previous ranking: 2

In Rich Rod's press conference this week, he said that Utah doesn't have any weaknesses in any of the three phases. And when you think about it, he's totally right. On offense you could say that Travis Wilson is the weak spot, but he's still not a liability. His experience guides him, and keeps his offense rolling, as long as Devontae Booker is moving.

When it comes to the defense, they like to attack and use man coverage to pester the quarterback. They have a great front, who has some injuries right now, that will get a lot of pressure. And their special teams unit might be one of the best in the country. Both specialists, Andy Phillips and Tom Hackett, are among the best. And then there's freshman standout Britain Covey as the return specialist.

With all that being said, this team is still vulnerable.

3. Washington State Cougars

Previous ranking: 4

Washington State continues to win, and if it weren't for that loss to Portland State at home, this would be a team ranked somewhere inside the top 20, possibly even 17 or so. No one is stopping their air-raid offense, and they're out-dueling everyone right now, with a missed field goal being the difference of leading the Pac-12 North, and being tied for 2nd with Oregon.

4. USC Trojans

Previous ranking: 3

USC likes to play down to their opponents at times, and that can get them in some serious trouble, as it almost did vs. Arizona this past weekend. With Colorado, Oregon and UCLA remaining, they have quite a tough road ahead.

They seem to always play better under an interim head coach, and Clay Helton is keeping this ship afloat. USC is still very much in play for the Pac-12 South, only needing one Utah loss, with USC winning out.

5. UCLA Bruins

Previous ranking: 5

UCLA is still 7-2, and they're not completely out of the hunt for the Pac-12 South. They'll need some things to happen, but it only takes a Utah and USC loss for everything to come to form -- crazier things have happened.

For having a true freshman quarterback, and a terribly banged up defense, this is a very encouraging position for UCLA to be in. Shutting down Oregon State is nothing to be blown away by, but heading up to Corvallis, with such defense, is impressive to say the least.

6. Oregon Ducks

Previous ranking: 7

Oregon might not be the powerhouse that they have been, but this is still a very solid team. Their losses have all been respectable at this point, and they're capable of knocking off USC, and maybe even Stanford.

As long as Vernon Adams can outscore the opposing team, this defense will be fine. And the offense, led by Vernon Adams, doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

7. California Golden Bears

Previous ranking: 6

California is falling, and they're falling fast. After a 5-0 start, they're now looking at a 5-4 record, and they're likely to only win one more game this season, and that's Oregon State. Of course, whenever a team starts to lose, there's always some sort of coaching rumors, and rumor has it that Sonny Dykes has checked out. If he really is checked out, then this team will lose to Oregon State this weekend, handing the Beavers their first Pac-12 win of the season.

8. Washington Huskies

Previous ranking: 9

Washington fell victim to Utah in the 4th quarter, much like every team this season, it seems. It's only a matter of time until their defense finally bends, and their offense can't catch up. Their defense keeps them in games, which might help them get to six wins this season, despite the current 4-5 record.

9. Arizona State Sun Devils

Previous ranking: 8

ASU dropped another game, making it three-straight, and five overall on the season. This team is very similar to Arizona in the fact that they have the guys there to make plays, and they just can't execute. If Todd Graham is actually stealing signs, he's doing a terrible job.

Now, they're in a worse position than Arizona, needing two wins in three weeks to hit a .500 record and bowl eligibility, but they're still a more talented team in all three phases of the game. But when it comes to the actual Territorial Cup, in a day game up in Tempe, all bets are off.

10. Arizona Wildcats

Previous ranking: 11

Maybe moving Arizona down one spot was a bit too harsh, but their performance against Washington was abysmal. They came out and responded with a 14-0 lead in the first quarter at USC.

The performance was encouraging for sure, but this team is still capable of going back to the old ways. Arizona State and Arizona are essentially 9a and 9b here, but Arizona State does hold a win vs. UCLA, which I would value more over closer losses to Washington State and USC.

11. Colorado Buffaloes

Previous ranking: 10

Colorado didn't really stand much of a chance against Stanford, but it was a good effort. They play USC, Washington State and Utah to end the season, and I can't imagine Colorado being remotely close to creating an upset alert.

12. Oregon State Beavers

Previous ranking: 12

Oregon State still isn't good. They got shut out by UCLA at home, and things aren't looking good towards the tail end of their season. Another week at the bottom of these power rankings, such a shame.