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How do the teams in the Pac-12 stack up after Week 11 of action?
By Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden on Twitter)
Post-Week 11 Pac-12 Power Rankings
Check out all of our college football rankings.
1. Oregon (9-1, 7-0) – The Ducks proved once again that speed kills. On a sloppy field against the best player in the nation, Oregon showed that it is simply the best team in the Pac-12. LaMichael James, De'Anthony Thomas and Josh Huff all scored on long touchdowns on which Stanford missed badly on open-field tackles. Quarterback Darron Thomas played his best football in a month and led his Ducks to what should be a Pac-12 North championship-clinching win. Oregon now hosts the best team in the South, Southern California in Autzen Stadium.
2. Stanford (9-1, 7-1) – The showdown on the Farm was one long case of deja vu for Cardinal faithful. The last loss Stanford suffered was a 52-31 thumping in Eugene last season at the hands of the Ducks. The 53-30 score Saturday night further indicated just how fast Oregon can be. Big plays, missed tackles and untimely turnovers cost the Cardinal a chance at a Pac-12 and potential BCS Championship — and possibly cost Andrew Luck the Heisman. Stanford still has an at-large BCS chance with games against Cal and Notre Dame to finish 2011.
3. USC (8-2, 5-2) – Lane Kiffin and the Trojans offense got back to basics this weekend in a 40-17 drubbing of Washington. Matt Barkley was needed for only 174 yards and one touchdown as the ground game took center stage. Curtis McNeal and Marc Tyler combined for 198 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns in the easy win over the Huskies. In all, USC rushed for 252 yards and three touchdowns on 40 carries. The defense played excellent football, holding Washington to a season-low 244 total yards of offense. Their reward? A trip to Eugene to play the league's top team.
4. Washington (6-4, 4-3) – Keith Price managed to throw for only 125 yards and failed to throw a touchdown for the first time all year before leaving in the third quarter with a knee injury. The Huskies were outgained 426 to 244 yards in the 40-17 loss to USC, and the game was further proof that U of W still has a ways to go in order to compete for conference titles. Chris Polk's 36 yards rushing was his worst output since a 41-0 loss to Stanford in late October of 2010. The Huskies need to win out with games against Oregon State and Washington State.
5. Arizona State (6-4, 4-3) – The Sun Devils must not have been doing any scoreboard watching Saturday night. Right before kickoff of the road game against Washington State, ASU learned that UCLA had lost to Utah and that they once again controlled their own destiny. It didn't help any as the Cougars inexplicably topped the Devils 37-27. In slushy, wintry conditions in Pullman that now undoubtedly match the Devils' attitude, Washington State rolled up 590 yards of offense and scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull off one of the year's biggest upsets. Arizona State now once again needs help to play in the Pac-12's title game.
6. Utah (6-4, 3-4) – After a convincing 31-6 win over UCLA, the Utah Utes are now one of the hotter teams in the league with three straight Pac-12 wins. John White IV rushed for 167 yards and three scores, and the Pac-12's top scoring defense completely shut down the Bruins attack. It was the first time UCLA was held without an offensive touchdown all season, and White leads the Pac-12 with 238 rushing attempts. They still need some help, but Utah is alive in the Pac-12 South race with Washington State and Colorado still left on the schedule. With the win, Utah became bowl-eligible for the ninth consecutive season.
7. UCLA (5-5, 4-3) – With the Pac-12 South race firmly in their control, the Bruins picked a perfect time to fail to reach paydirt for the first time all season. The 31-6 loss to Utah should have been crippling to the Bruins' Pac-12 title hopes — and still could cost Rick Neuheisel his job — but ASU's loss to Washington State has given UCLA new life. After allowing John White IV to trounce the rushing defense for 167 yards, the Bruins now rank last in the Pac-12 in rushing defense. UCLA controls its own destiny in the South and has Colorado at home and a visit to Southern Cal in the season finale.
8. California (6-4, 3-4) – Running back Isi Sofele had his best game of his career when he rushed 23 times for 190 yards (8.3 ypc) and a touchdown in the 23-6 win over Oregon State. Zach Maynard completed nearly 70% of his passes, and the defense obliterated the Beavers' rushing attack to the tune of 31 yards on 21 carries (1.4 ypc). Cal now has The Big Game on The Farm against an angry Cardinal team before visiting Arizona State in the final week of play. It's a tough stretch of action for an embattled coach who may need to pull off an upset to keep his job.
9. Washington State (4-6, 2-5) – This may sound crazy, but Wazzu could be a bowl team this season after a shocking 37-27 home win over Pac-12 South favorite Arizona State. True freshman Connor Halliday completed 27-of-36 passes for 494 yards and four touchdowns (0 INT) for a ridiculous 226.9 passer rating. The defense held Cameron Marshall to 16 attempts for 37 yards, his worst performance since Week 1 (in a blowout win against UC Davis in which he was not needed). It may be far-fetched, but if the Cougars can beat Utah and Washington, Paul Wulff will have his team in the postseason for the first time since 2003.
10. Oregon State (2-8, 2-5) – The Beavers' 23-8 road loss to Cal gave Mike Riley his third straight loss in what might have been the last winnable game for OSU. Oregon State was held to 1.4 yards per carry on 21 rushing attempts, and quarterback Sean Mannion failed to score a touchdown while throwing two interceptions. With Oregon and Washington still left on the schedule, it is hard to see Oregon State winning again in 2011 — and it may cost Riley his job.
11. Colorado (2-9, 1-6) – Rodney Stewart took control of the game on Saturday night, and it led to the first-ever Pac-12 win for Jon Embree and the Colorado Buffaloes. Stewart rushed for 181 yards and three touchdowns while tossing another scoring strike in the 48-29 home win over Arizona. Quarterback Tyler Hansen also threw touchdowns while landing on the receiving end of Stewart's flea-flicker TD toss. The Buffs' 500 yards of offense were their highest total since Week 2 against Cal. The win allows the Buffs to avoid the first winless season at Folsom Field in the 87-year history of the building.
12. Arizona (2-8, 1-7) – Nick Foles threw for 300-plus yards again. And the Arizona Wildcats lost again. For the eight time this season, Foles topped the 300-yard mark, and for the seventh time, Arizona lost. The 48-29 loss to Colorado marks a new low for the 2011 Wildcats, who now rank last in the Pac-12 in total defense, pass defense, sacks allowed, punting and pass efficiency defense. They rank 11th in rushing offense scoring defense and turnover margin. Paging Mike Leach?