ASU slips once again in Pac-12 power rankings

The Sun Devils are hurt, but that's no excuse for poor play anymore

Folks, each team in the Pac-12 has played at least three quarters of their games, meaning we should know everything about who they are, right? Not this year. Injuries and inconsistency have left the conference muddled in mediocrity, with just a couple shining stars at the top.

1. Washington (8-0, 5-0 Pac-12)


The Huskies remain kings of the Pac-12 and are doing it in all three phases. Washington's defense had its second worst week of the season, giving up 24 points, but the game-winning score was scored on a punt return, proving that great teams do everything right in order to win. Five games stand between the Huskies and Atlanta/Glendale on New Year's Eve. 

2. Colorado (6-2, 4-1 Pac-12)


The Buffaloes took a hiatus for the week and it paid off, moving up by virtue of Utah's loss. Colorado needs to take advantage of easy matchups the next two weeks before playing two of the hottest teams in the conference in Washington State and Utah to end the season.

3. Utah (7-2, 4-1 Pac-12)


The Utes were tough-luck losers Saturday, but they proved they could hang with — and maybe beat — Washington in the Pac-12 Championship Game, if the teams were to meet again. Senior running back Joe Williams continues to be a revelation since returning from his brief retirement, with 758 yards this year.

4. Washington State (6-2, 5-0 Pac-12)


Low-key, the Cougars have a good chance of winning the Pac-12 North still. Washington State has just one road game left and faces two of the worst defenses in the conference over the next two weeks in Arizona and Cal. With redshirt junior quarterback Luke Falk at the helm, don't count the Cougars out yet, despite how well their cross-state rivals are playing.

5. USC (5-3, 4-2 Pac-12)


The Trojans took down Cal pretty easily last Thursday and keep rolling. Freshman quarterback Sam Darnold tossed two touchdowns in the win, staving off Justin Herbert as the best freshman signal caller in the conference. It may be too late for USC to snag a Pac-12 South title, but head coach Clay Helton has his team playing on a different level now than to start the season.

6. Stanford (5-3, 3-3 Pac-12)


The Cardinal offense finally got moving, scoring over 20 points for the first time since beating UCLA on September 24. That game at the Rose Bowl was the last time junior running back Christian McCaffrey ran for 100 yards before his nice day Saturday when he ran for 169 and two scores, finally regaining some traction on the ground and in the minds of fans.

7. ASU (5-4, 2-4 Pac-12)


When do excuses become reasons? The Sun Devils were down 10 starters by the time their loss to Oregon was completed, and it showed. Thankfully for ASU, its bye week comes at just the right time. Now ASU has a week and a half before taking the field again, hopefully this time with some of its key contributors back both on offense and defense.

8. Cal (4-4, 2-3 Pac-12)


The Golden Bears should file a grievance with the conference against whoever put together their schedule, as it has not done them any favors. A beat up Cal team has had very little time to recover from injuries, something many programs take for granted. Not much is playing in the favor of Cal, but the Golden Bears have alternated wins and losses this season, meaning Saturday should be good. The opponent, though? No. 4 Washington. Godspeed, Sonny Dykes.

9. Oregon (3-5, 1-4 Pac-12)


The Ducks and freshman quarterback Justin Herbert took advantage of a beat up ASU team and became the 11th team in the Pac-12 to win a conference game (looking at you, Arizona). Herbert tied the school record for passing yards and, if he continues playing this way, could turn down the furnace under Mark Helfrich's office chair.

10. UCLA (3-5, 1-4 Pac-12)


The Bruins were able to get sophomore quarterback Josh Rosen closer to playing again, but it's unlikely he'll be ready for the team's game Thursday. That means Mike "Casanova" Fafaul gets another shot behind center to earn his first win as a Bruin.

11. Oregon State (2-6, 1-4 Pac-12)


Against one-dimensional teams, the Beavers have played really well, nearly beating Washington State in Corvallis Saturday. Against everyone else, however, Oregon State has just kind of been there. Losers of three in a row now, the Beavers have back-to-back games away from Reser Stadium, the location of their only two wins.

12. Arizona (2-6, 0-5 Pac-12)


Remember when the Wildcats nearly knocked off Washington in its conference opener? That feels like years ago now, as Arizona looks like a team in freefall. Between three quarterbacks, Arizona completed just five passes against Stanford Saturday and made the Cardinal offense look like world beaters when its barely gotten out of its own way all season. 


Reach the reporter at mtonis@asu.edu or follow @Tonis_The_Tiger on Twitter.

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