Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 12 with a Historical Note

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6.  Oregon State – (42) (6-3, 4-2)

Oct 26, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; USC Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler (6) dives for extra yards as Utah Utes defensive tackle Tenny Palepoi (91) and Utah Utes defensive tackle LT Tuipulotu (58) try to stop him during fourth quarter action at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Trojans went on to a 19-3 win. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Beavers are a quiet success story in the West. Small school, small stadium, and a Heisman winner. Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Cal, Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah have never had a Heisman winner. OSU has one, can you name him . . . I didn’t think so. Terry Baker. Enjoy that piece of trivia. Their success is not in conference titles (five and no outright title since 1956) or Rose Bowl appearances (blanked since 1965), but in the feisty Beavers’ ability to play possum and be a threat when counted out.

That last point is why we should not sleep on the Beavers as they sink into the quagmire of Pac-12 parity. ASU holds the strong advantage of 12-26-1 over OSU, but the Beavs are tough, and Manion can light the world on fire at any point. Saturday night will be fun, or it will be horrific.

5. USC – (50) (7-3, 4-2)

Ladies and Gentleman, the flagship program of the Pac-12. 37 conference championships and 7 Heisman winners. This is why they fire a coach who is 2-2. Either the expectations are high at SC, or Kiffin is just a jerk that Trojan alumni couldn’t trick into a strip club visit.

Orgeron is trying to prove that he is deserves the full time job, when we forget that the two most popular men on campus are an interim coach (you can’t fail, you’re immediate predecessor stunk) and the backup QB. If SC can catch a Stanford team still glowing from a victory against Oregon unaware, this proves SC’s pride is valid. If not, well, the firing still makes sense.

4. UCLA – (56) (7-2, 4-2)

Little brother to USC both in Los Angeles, and in the Pac-12, the Bruins have had success. The youngest program in the Pac by over two decades, UCLA first fielded a program in 1919. Yes, you have that right, the Rose Bowl is older than UCLA Football.

The upstart Sun Devils have become huge Husky fans this week, and UCLA needs to find a way to avoid a letdown game. Washington is not going to lie down. They may burn themselves to the ground Friday night, but it won’t be due to apathy.

3. Arizona State – (57) (7-2, 5-1)

Things have been good in Tempe while Tuscon focused on hoops. A conference title every ten years is acceptable for a non-Pac-8 team. No national titles, but a consistently good team. Think the Atlanta Braves for the past 20 years, good, but never overpoweringly so.

The Devils are trying to emerge as the top team in the South.  Playing SC early helps, but they still need to take care of business with OSU visiting.  Tempe is always friendly for the Devils, but November is tough for confident teams.

2. Oregon – (60) (8-1, 5-1)

Remember what they were saying about the Miami Hurricanes in the early 80s? A “microwave dynasty”. Prior to ’94 the Ducks had never won an outright Pac-10 (or its earlier incarnations) championship. Nike seemed to realize at that point “hey we have something in our backyard we can throw our name on.” This clearly explains why Duck fans act like children who have a toy taken from them when they lose. So, good job, Ducks, your history of success apparently began in 1994, the season you celebrated your football centennial.

Beware the Utes, well, no, just march and you can still expect to find yourself somewhere prominent come bowl season.

1. Stanford – (72) (8-1, 5-1)

The Cardinal (or Cardinals or Indians) have consistently been good. Over the years they have produced terrific players while periodically leaping up to grab a conference championship, often seeming a surprise to prognosticators. 12 conference titles, Stanford’s success is always a smile for folks outside of Berkeley.

Troy is hosting the smart kids for a chance to truly muck up the Pac-12 standings. Pac-12 athletic directors are now pulling for Stanford, hoping to ensure two BCS Bowl teams and more money into the athletic coffers of the schools. Stanford can play with anyone, but as we know, they can play down to their competition as well.