Stanford still has a shot at the College Football Playoff, despite their late loss to Oregon. Not only is Oregon coming back to form, but the Cardinal get to play the Notre Dame Fighting Irish this weekend, and will square off against the winner of the UCLA vs. USC game in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Led by Christian McCaffrey, this is a fun team to watch in the conference.
It was a bit of a jump throwing Washington State up at No. 2 last week, but the way things have shaken up in the past two weeks, I feel pretty confident about the pick now. But Luke Falk was taken out of the game vs. Colorado this weekend, and although he isn't super essential to beat Washington in the Apple Cup, it would be nice to see him go in the final game of the season.
3. Oregon Ducks
Remember when Oregon lost to Washington State and we thought that was the end of the Oregon Ducks and the Mark Helfrich era? Yeah, well now they're a legit top-20 team after getting their act together. They have the Civil War this weekend, and unveiled some fire uniforms as well. They're rounding out the Pac-12 North as the third best team in that division, and they're going to make the Pac-12 look good come bowl season.
4. UCLA Bruins
UCLA was a team that no one was talking about two weeks ago for the Pac-12 South. It was always Utah and USC's race to lose there. But now, the Bruins are one win away from representing the South for the second time since 2011 in the Pac-12 Championship Game. And the way USC has been looking lately, you have to like the Bruins' chance to win that game and make it five-straight years of owning LA.
5. USC Trojans
USC was in complete control of the South, but then they let Oregon walk all over them. Now the Trojans are forced to play in a winner-take-all game vs. UCLA, and they need to snap their losing streak against the Bruins. Since they've played Arizona, they haven't been looking good. It's like they went back to their Washington days and have no idea how to use the talent on the field anymore.
6. Utah Utes
Poor Utah. Not really, but this team was once ranked No. 3 in the nation, and at one point, I thought they were the best team. They have the talent, the experienced offense, pesky defense, and strong special teams game, but just couldn't hold it together down the stretch of the season. Without Devontae Booker, it's hard to rely on Travis Wilson to lead the offense and guide this team. Luckily they get Colorado this week, but that might even be tough for them.
It's really hard to put Arizona State right behind Utah, considering the fact that Utah is still a great team, and Arizona State, not so much. I had a pretty strong feeling that ASU would come out on top heading into this Saturday, but Jerrard Randall caused some intrigue because the Sun Devils could not stop mobile quarterbacks this season. Nonetheless, Brandon Dawkins, the third-string quarterback, almost led the comeback, and had ASU pretty nervous in that fourth quarter until the pick-six's started rolling in.
The California Golden Bears have taken a nose dive this season ever since losing to Utah in such a close game. They lost four straight after starting out 5-0, and then bounced back vs. Oregon State. Going up against their rival Stanford, they dropped a big one, and are now sitting at 6-5 on the season, with a chance to hit seven wins against Arizona State.
With their third-string quarterback, Arizona almost pulled off the comeback in Tempe to reach seven wins on the season. While they did lose to Washington on the road, I still feel comfortable keeping them ahead of the Huskies, even after their 52-point performance over Oregon State. But Arizona finally gets their bye week, so unless Washington pulls off the upset over the Cougars, this is where the Wildcats will end the regular season. We won't know their bowl fate for another two weeks, but Arizona should get a healthy Scooby Wright III, Anu Solomon and Nick Wilson for the bowl game.
The Huskies just poured it on Oregon State this weekend, and I imagine it was very similar to the time they played Arizona. They put up 28 points in the first quarter, and went into the half up 45-0. The offense hasn't been stellar, but they have some young pieces in place, and that will help Chris Petersen immensely going forward.
The Buffs were held to just three points by Washington State, and that's pretty bad considering the fact that the Cougars don't host a strong defense. It's odd because they've always been competitive for the most part in these games, but just couldn't get anything going. The Utes are slowly falling of the map, so maybe the Buffs can get the upset bid to end their season with a bang.
The Beavers got absolutely worked by the Washington Huskies at home, and now you just have to feel bad for them. They've been stuck at the bottom of the power rankings since week one, and they're not likely to beat Oregon next week.