After six weeks of football in the books, contenders are beginning to separate themselves from the pretenders with several teams continuing impressive runs to stay among the top teams in the Pac-12.
The Oregon schools continue to lead the other 10 programs in the conference, but there are still several teams with realistic opportunities to stay in the race.
Halfway through the season, here is how the dozen teams stand in the latest power rankings.
The Ducks continue being the class of the conference at the mid-point of the schedule. UO came away with another blowout victory – this time at the expense of Washington – and appear to be in the driver’s seat at this point in time.
With the play of Marcus Mariota, Kenjon Barner and DeAnthony Thomas, the Ducks continue to have their way on offense against the opposition and it’s hard to imagine anyone in the Pac-12 stopping them.
2. Oregon State
Given the fact that the opponent was Washington State, a 19-6 victory isn’t all that impressive for Oregon State. The Beavers offense failed to put up a fair amount of points against one of the weakest defenses in the Pac-12 and will have to have a better showing this weekend in a non-conference road affair with BYU.
Despite the relatively close game against the Cougars, OSU continues to be the surprise of the league and doesn’t show signs of disappearing any time soon.
The Cardinal have re-asserted themselves among the conference contenders in recent weeks. This past Saturday, Stanford erased a late 14-point deficit and eventually pulled off a 54-48 overtime victory at home against Arizona. Josh Nunes and Stepfan Taylor led the offense to its best performance of the season and helped improve the Cardinal to 4-1 overall.
Once again, the Trojans were forced to fight hard for a victory, this time on the road against Utah. Against the inconsistent Utes, USC never took full control until late and found itself behind Utah by double digits in the second quarter.
The Trojans eventually came back and took the lead for good, but it was another showing that could have very well ended up in the loss column against a stronger opponent.
5. Arizona State
The Sun Devils continue to roll and easily defeated Colorado on Thursday. It now gets extremely tough for ASU as it faces three ranked teams in the next four games following the affair with CU.
It’s tough to know just how good Arizona State is currently, as its four most recent games have come against teams led by backup quarterbacks.
UW was brought back to earth with a blowout loss to Oregon. At 3-2 overall and 1-1 in conference play, the Huskies’ upcoming stretch is not only tough, but crucial to the outcome of the rest of the season.
If UW can find a way to emerge with a winning record over its next three games, it has a stretch to end the season that could allow it to finish strongly.
The Golden Bears’ victory over UCLA was impressive, but doesn’t mean an awful lot in the grand scheme of things. It would be a big surprise if Cal used that game as a spring-board to jump up the standings as the rest of the schedule features three teams that are currently ranked.
UCLA fell to California this past weekend, once again causing questions to arise regarding just how much the Bruins have improved this season under first year head coach Jim Mora Jr. After looking strong again in out-of-conference play, UCLA’s has struggled against the Pac-12.
The Wildcats blew another fourth quarter lead – this time a two-touchdown advantage with a little over six minutes remaining to Stanford. UA could very well be 5-1, but stands at 3-3 with its inability to close out games recently.
The defense needs some major help and the offense must convert on red-zone opportunities at a more frequent rate if the Wildcats want to right the ship.
The Utes were able to hang with USC, but ultimately fell at home. They currently stand at 0-2 in conference play and have faced an abundance of issues since the beginning of the season.
Still, Utah has a shot to make a run given the rest of its schedule. It still has matchups against struggling squads like Washington State, Colorado, Arizona, California and UCLA.
The Buffaloes were idle this past weekend and didn't look good against ASU on Thursday. At this point, you have to wonder if the Buffs will win another game.
12. Washington State
Wazzu remains winless and is the only school to lose to Colorado this season. Looking at the rest of the Cougars’ schedule, it’s tough to find a game where they have a realistic shot of winning given how they have performed in conference play.