Pac-12 power rankings: Cream rises to the top

It's starting to look like Washington and USC will meet in the Pac-12 Championship

It seems like the Pac-12 is rounding into shape. The two teams picked in the preseason to represent the North and South divisions, Washington and USC, appear to be on a collision course for the Pac-12 Football Championship Game.

Elsewhere, ASU leaned on the ground game to come back against Colorado, UCLA looked feeble without quarterback Josh Rosen and Oregon State still has not won a conference game.

Here are this week's rankings.

Graphic published on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017.

1) No. 9 Washington Huskies (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12) Last week: 1

The Huskies' offense can be spotty at times, but their defense continues to suffocate opponents, as it did in a 38-3 whooping of Oregon. Washington now boasts the best defense in the nation and the all-time leader in career punt returns, that being wide receiver Dante Pettis

2) No. 11 USC Trojans (8-2, 6-1 Pac-12) Last week: 2

USC looks like the team to beat in the Pac-12 South after a 49-35 shootout win over Arizona. Trojan running backs Ronald Jones II and Aca'Cedric Ware dominated the game, combining for 316 yards and four touchdowns. 

3) No. 19 Washington State Cougars (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12) Last week: 5

The Cougars held Stanford running back Bryce Love to just 69 rushing yards in their 24-21 victory, which made the Cougars the only team to limit Love to under 100 rushing yards in a game this season. WSU quarterback Luke Falk had a nice performance, throwing for 337 yards and three scores.

4) Stanford Cardinal (6-3, 5-2 Pac-12) Last week: 4

It starting to look like Stanford is too dependent on Bryce Love, because when he does not have a spectacular game, the Cardinal struggle on offense. Love did not have a memorable game against WSU, and the Stanford offense led by quarterback K.J. Costello could only muster two offensive scores.

5) Arizona State Sun Devils (5-4, 4-2 Pac-12) Last week: 6

ASU rushed for 381 yards in a 41-30 comeback win over Colorado. Running back Demario Richard had a career-high 189 rushing yards, and the Sun Devils are now just one win away from bowl eligibility. 

6) Arizona Wildcats (6-3, 4-2 Pac-12) Last week: 3

The Wildcats' hot streak finally ran out in their loss to USC. Quarterback Khalil Tate logged 161 rushing yards, but also threw two interceptions, and the Arizona defense let USC rack up 642 total yards. 

7) California Golden Bears (5-5, 2-5 Pac-12) Last week: 9

Coming off two straight losses, the Golden Bears bounced back with a 37-23 win against Oregon State. Cal played balanced offensive football, with quarterback Ross Bowers throwing two touchdowns and running back Patrick Laird rushing for 214 yards. 

8) Utah Utes (5-4, 2-4 Pac-12) Last week: 11

Utah annihilated UCLA on Friday night by the lopsided score of 48-17. The Utes also had a balanced offensive game plan, with quarterback Tyler Huntley throwing four touchdowns and Utah rushing for 272 yards as a team.

9) Oregon Ducks (5-5, 2-5 Pac-12) Last week: 7

Apparently going on the road to face Washington with a backup quarterback is not a great way to win. Since regular starter quarterback Justin Herbert missed another game due to injury, the Ducks again trotted out backup Braxton Burmeister in their 38-3 loss to UW. Burmeister had a game to forget, throwing for just 31 yards along with an interception.

10) Colorado Buffaloes (5-5, 2-5 Pac-12) Last week: 8

Colorado could have had a larger halftime lead if its receivers didn't drop several open passes, but instead the Buffaloes led by just 17-14 at half. From there things would only get worse for Colorado, as ASU rushed for 381 yards and three scores, including 24 fourth-quarter points, to win 41-30.

11) UCLA Bruins (4-5, 2-4 Pac-12) Last week: 10

UCLA has been fairly average with quarterback Josh Rosen under center, and without him the Bruins were abysmal. Freshman backup quarterback Devon Modster was no match for Utah in UCLA's 48-17 blowout loss. To make matters worse, the Bruins now have one of the nation's worst run defenses, giving up over 300 rushing yards per game.

12) Oregon State Beavers (1-8, 0-6 Pac-12) Last week: 12 

Three things are certain in life: Death, taxes and the Oregon State Beavers at the bottom of the Pac-12 power rankings. The Beavers are not getting blown out as often under interim head coach Cory Hall, but losses are still piling up. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @Harris_Mark7 on Twitter.

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