Pac-12 football power rankings: Stanford upset shakes up the race
It wasn’t quite a changing of the guard, but after a wild weekend with both Pac-12 traditional powers crashing down, the chase for conference supremacy is now one giant mess.
A couple teams made statement wins — Oregon State crushed Cal 62-14 to get back on track, Arizona conquered its road fears with a 34-24 win at Utah and Washington took care of the Pac-12 bottom feeder in Colorado. Those games were nothing, though, compared to what happened up in Eugene, Ore., and down south in the Rose Bowl.
The Cardinal goes Duck hunting
With a 17-14 overtime takedown of Oregon in Eugene, Stanford is now 23-3 in the Pac-12 since the start of the 2010 season, with two of those losses to the Ducks, and coach David Shaw has the Cardinal rolling.
UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr (11) and defensive end Cassius Marsh (99) sack USC quarterback Matt Barkley in the second half at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, November 17, 2012, in Pasadena, California. UCLA knocked off the Trojans, 38-28. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times/MCT)
Anytime a team wins in overtime, it’s not exactly convincing, but Stanford entered a hostile Autzen Stadium and stayed punch for punch with an Oregon team that was on a straight path to the national title game. The Cardinal lost the turnover battle three to one and redshirt freshman quarterback Keith Hogan made his first career road start.
Stanford outgained Oregon 411 to 405 and after an amazing, if lucky, 10-yard catch by tight end Zach Ertz in the back of the end zone tied the game and Oregon’s Alejandro Maldonado banged his overtime field goal against the left upright, the game was squarely in Stanford’s hands.
Sophomore kicker Jordan Williamson answered the call with a 37-yarder straight down the middle and the Ducks’ stranglehold on the Pac-12 was instantly broken. Now, if Stanford can hang on and beat UCLA — or have Oregon State win the Civil War against Oregon — the Cardinal will represent the Pac-12 North and a new player will have officially emerged.
The Bruins win L.A. Monopoly
When UCLA hired Rick Neuheisel in 2007, the Bruins took out an ad in the Los Angeles Times saying that the Los Angeles football monopoly was officially over. Well, they were wrong, and Neuheisel was fired last season.
Now Jim Mora Jr. is in control, and the new regime beat the Trojans 38-28 for the first time since 2006, the second win since the turn of the century. Not only did the victory clinch the Pac-12 South for the Bruins, but now Mora and company can finally bulldoze the hotels USC had on Park Place and Boardwalk.
UCLA has been a strange team this year — it beat a talented Nebraska team early on, humiliated a then-ranked Arizona team and flew out to a 24-0 lead against the Trojans on Saturday.
At the same time, though, UCLA lost 43-17 on the road to Cal, who has been just awful this season, and let an even worse Washington State team make a comeback and turn a should-be blowout into a one-score game.
Without that Cal loss, UCLA would’ve been sitting pretty for a BCS bowl, but things do eventually work out. No matter the outcome with Stanford, the Bruins will be headed to the Pac-12 title game as the South Division champs and have a straight shot to play in their own backyard for the Rose Bowl game.
1. No. 11 Stanford (9-2, 7-1) Last Week: 2
Week twelve: (W 17-14 at Oregon)
This Week: at UCLA
2. No. 5 Oregon (10-1, 7-1 Pac-12) LW: 1
Week twelve: (L 17-14 against Stanford)
This Week: at Oregon State
3. No. 16 Oregon State (8-2, 6-2) LW: 16
Week twelve: (W 62-14 against Cal)
This Week: against Oregon
4. No. 15 UCLA (9-2, 6-2) LW: 17
Week twelve: (W 38-28 against USC)
This Week: against Stanford
5. Arizona (7-4, 4-4)
Week twelve: (W 34-24 at Utah)
This week: against Arizona State
6. Washington (7-4, 5-3) LW: 25
Week twelve: (W 38-3 at Colorado)
This Week: at Washington State
7. USC (7-4, 5-4) LW: 18
Week twelve: (L 38-28 at UCLA)
This Week: against Notre Dame
8. Arizona State (6-5, 4-4)
Week twelve: (W 46-7 against Washington State)
This Week: at Arizona
9. Utah (4-7, 2-6)
Week twelve: (L 34-24 against Arizona)
This Week: at Colorado
10. California (3-9, 2-7)
Week twelve: (L 62-14 at Oregon State)
This Week: Bye
11. Washington State (2-9, 0-8)
Week twelve: (L 46-7 at Arizona State)
This Week: against Washington
12. Colorado (1-10, 1-7)
Week twelve: (L 38-3 against Washington)
This Week: against Utah