Well, that Civil War countdown clock didn’t last long.
The Beavers’ loss at the hands of the Huskies, coupled with Arizona’s takedown of Marqise Lee and USC, has thrown the top of the Pac-12 into disarray. More than ever, it looks like Oregon may cruise to a fourth-straight conference crown — although Lee and the Trojans may still have something to say about that come Saturday.
As always, these rankings are based on the body of work teams have accumulated and are not a prediction of final standings.
1. No. 2 Oregon (8-0, 5-0 Pac-12)
If you haven’t already seen the miraculous punt-return touchdown De’Anthony Thomas pulled off in a 70-14 thrashing of Colorado last Saturday, do yourself a favor and hop on over to YouTube. He might be an alien.
2. No. 13 Oregon State (6-1, 4-1)
The benching of Sean Mannion in favor of backup quarterback Cody Vaz is the latest sign that there is finally trouble in paradise after the Beavers’ 6-0 start.
3. No. 24 Arizona (5-3, 2-3)
This week in risking the brains of student-athletes: Wildcat head coach Rich Rodriguez left quarterback Matt Scott in last Saturday’s game against USC to finish a drive after Scott took a helmet-to-helmet hit and vomited on the field. After Arizona scored a touchdown, Scott went to sideline, vomited some more, underwent concussion tests, and was held out the rest of the game. Somehow, those priorities don’t seem quite right.
4. No. 15 Stanford (6-2, 4-1)
It’s a worrisome sign that the Cardinal could only muster 24 points and 256 total yards against Washington State, but Stanford has made a habit this season of eking out the close ones.
5. No. 18 USC (6-2, 4-2)
After two Trojan losses, Saturday’s Oregon-USC matchup has lost much of its preseason luster. It’ll be up to the aforementioned Lee — who caught 16 passes for 345 yards against Arizona — to give the Trojans a chance against the nation’s most dominant team (by average margin of victory).
6. No. 25 UCLA (6-2, 3-2)
In the next four weeks, Arizona, USC, and Stanford will all come to the Rose Bowl. The Bruins control their own destiny, and might just win the Pac-12 South on their own merit this year.
7. Washington (4-4, 2-3)
Food for thought: If Nick Montana were still around, would there be a quarterback controversy on Montlake?
8. Arizona State (5-3, 3-2)
The Sun Devils were one last-second field goal away from taking sole possession of first place in the Pac-12 South. But Bruin Ka’imi Fairbairn’s clutch kick means we instead have a four-team logjam in the division with three games to play.
9. Utah (3-5, 1-4)
We’re left with only one question after Utah lambasted Cal 49-27 last Saturday: Where the heck has that been all year?
10. California (3-6, 2-4)
At one point in Saturday’s game, Cal trailed the Utes — who, remember, had not yet won a conference game — 42-6. Maybe the Bears’ next coach will actually give the ball to freshman Brendan Bigelow, who’s only averaging 12.9 yards per touch on his 33 combined rushes and receptions this year.
11. Washington State (2-6, 0-5)
Two weeks ago the Cougars lost by 14; last week, by seven. They’re getting there, people.
12. Colorado (1-7, 1-4)
The average score of a Colorado game this season has been 46-18 in favor of the Buffaloes’ opponents, a margin of defeat only three other conference teams have matched in any single game this season. Yes, they’re pretty terrible.
Reach Sports Editor Kevin Dowd at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @KevinDowd
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