It’s a really difficult season to gauge the quality of teams
in the Pac-12. On any given day, anyone can beat anyone. Of the first 30 conference games, 25 were decided by one goal or fewer. The defense in the conference is also playing exceptional as in those 30 games, 16 had one goal or fewer scored.
Here are the Pac-12 power rankings with just over half the conference schedules left to be played.
1. UCLA (12-1-1, 4-0-1 Pac-12): The Bruins are clearly the favorite in the Pac-12 race. Where to begin? Leading Division I in goals-against average (.347) is a start.
2. Cal (9-1-4, 2-1-2, Pac-12): The Golden Bears could be 5-0, or 0-5 in the conference. Instead, they’re about halfway between, with their five conference games decided by a total of three goals. Cal lost for the first time all season last week against UCLA.
3. Stanford (9-3-1, 2-3 Pac-12): What’s up with Stanford? Shockingly, Stanford has lost three games in a row. From 2008-12, the Cardinal lost two regular season games, but remain a top team in the conference. Before Pac-12 play started, the Cardinal tied No. 7 Portland and beat No. 18 Santa Clara.
4. Utah (7-2-5, 3-1-1 Pac-12): Lindsey Luke has proved to be one of the better goalkeepers in the conference. She is fourth in the country with a 90.6 save percentage and has led Utah into the top half of the conference.
5. ASU (8-5, 3-2 Pac-12): The Sun Devils shocked the conference when they defeated then-No. 2 Stanford on the road. The Cardinal had a home unbeaten streak of 73 games, and a conference winning streak of 44 games. Now, that win doesn’t look quite as good with Stanford struggling. Last time out, ASU lost to lowly Oregon State. How much did that loss hurt? Well, ASU dropped about 20 ranks in RPI after its Oregon road trip.
6. Washington State (9-3-2, 2-2-1 Pac-12): The Cougars are fourth in Division I with a 71.4 shutout percentage. We’ll see how long that holds up, because last time out, they gave up four goals to Utah. Senior Micaela Castain leads the conference with 11 goals and 27 points, though.
7. Colorado (11-3, 3-2 Pac-12): The Buffaloes cruised through nonconference play, facing just one top-50 school in terms of RPI. In the Pac-12, they beat Oregon, Oregon State and Washington. They have a good record, but time will tell if they can keep it up in conference.
8. Washington (6-6-2, 2-1-2 Pac-12): The Huskies are the one conference team to play UCLA and win. Their signature nonconference game was a 1-0 loss to No. 14 Wake Forest. Washington is a school badly struggling with offense, averaging just 0.86 goals per game.
9. USC (6-6-2, 1-3-1 Pac-12): The Trojans had their best week of season last week, beating Stanford on the road and tying the Golden Bears in Berkeley. Why they’re struggling so much with weaker teams remains puzzling.
10. Oregon (3-7-3, 1-3-1 Pac-12): Like many teams in this conference, Oregon plays its games extremely close. The Ducks’ problem is their offense doesn’t score enough to win games. In their last eight games, the Ducks have three goals. The Ducks did pick up a victory over UA their last timeout.
11. UA (6-5-3, 1-4 Pac-12): Under first year coach Tony Amato, the Wildcats are headed in the right direction. They’ve already endured a tough beginning to conference play, losing by a goal each to the top three teams in the power rankings. Junior forward Ali Doller, who transferred from PVCC via ASU, has five goals.
12. Oregon State (3-9-2, 1-3-1 Pac-12): Someone has to fill the bottom role in the conference, and it’s Oregon State. But it’s not all bad for the Beavers, who defeated ASU on Sunday. Oregon State played a tough out-of-conference schedule, tying No. 20 Wisconsin and lost at No. 12 Florida and No. 3 FSU.
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