I don't really know how to feel right now. On one hand, what we are watching from Marcus Mariota is the absolute pinnacle of sport. He is doing what he is doing this year essentially in absence of anything dependable on the offensive line. The line has been a cluster of injuries from the preseason on, and Marcus continues to make the game look like his own personal PlayStation. We won't see another player like him in an Oregon uniform, and if he doesn't win the Heisman in a landslide, they should just stop giving out the award altogether.
On the other hand, the injuries are absolutely unbearable. Losing Hronnis Grasu is bad, and we can only hope that his injury was just a hyperextension and not a ligament tear. The replay of the injury itself didn't look too bad, it's the reaction that's scary. Pharaoh Brown's injury, on the other hand, looked downright catastrophic. My feelings there aren't even about football--it's about the young man's future quality of life. Obviously, I hope he can play football again. But, mostly, I hope he can just walk without pain again. If you asked me if I'd take the L here for that injury to never have happened, the answer would be yes, and it wouldn't require any thought.
Here are your power rankings:
1. Oregon (9-1, 6-1) 51-27 at Utah
There isn't a doubt in my mind that healthy Oregon is the best team in the country. The problem is we're a long way from healthy Oregon, and the Ducks have too many long term injuries to get healthy at any point this season. Oregon will almost assuredly beat Colorado and Oregon State, but once the postseason rolls around, how many injuries can Marcus Mariota continue to make up for?
Nobody gets the No. 2 ranking in the North for the rest of the season. The Ducks have clinched with two games remaining. They've blown the rest of this division away. Nobody in the North deserves to be within one spot of the Ducks. They are not worthy.
3. Stanford (3-3, 5-4) BYE
I mean, I guess? At least Stanford doesn't have a losing conference record.
4. Cal (3-4, 5-4) BYE
Are the Bears good? No. But they are respectable, which is a small miracle after last season. If they can beat one of USC, Stanford, or BYU, they'll be bowl eligible. With their offense, I could see them winning a couple of those games.
5. lossington (6-4, 2-4) 30-44 vs. UCLA
lossington still has Oregon State and Washington State on the schedule, so they've still got a good chance at eight wins. But look through that schedule. It would be the least impressive eight wins in a power five conference by far. Getting four OOC cupcakes due to the Hawaii rule really helped.
6. Washington State (3-7, 2-5) 39-32 at Oregon State
It was a great story for WSU to get a win after Connor Halliday's devastating injury. You aren't good, Cougars, but you're not the worst team in the Northwest.
7. Oregon State (4-5, 1-5) 32-39 vs. Washington State
Look on the bright side Beaver fans, it's almost women's basketball season.
1. Arizona State (8-1, 4-1) 55-31 vs. Notre Dame
The Sun Devils have started rolling, and have Oregon State and Washington State in their next two. They look like the best team in the South, but have no margin to slip up due to their loss to UCLA.
2. UCLA (8-2, 5-2) 44-30 vs. Washington
I don't want to acknowledge that UCLA is good. They've looked absolutely underwhelming in every game but one this season. That said, at some point, I have to give into the resume. And the resume is pretty decent, even if there is really only one impressive performance.
3. Arizona (7-2, 4-2) 38-20 vs. Colorado
Do I still think Arizona is better than UCLA? Yes. Will I respect the head-to-head? Yes.
4. Utah (6-3, 3-3) 27-51 vs. Oregon
That Utah defense is legit, and they gave Oregon everything they wanted through three quarters. I want to extend a personal thanks to Kaelin Clay for keeping the Ducks in that game early.
5. USC (5-2, 6-3) BYE
Seven Win Sark goes 1-2 over his last three. Let it be done. Go Bears.
6. Colorado (0-7, 2-8) 20-38 at Arizona
Will go down as the best 0-9 team of all-time. Deserved a win somewhere along the line.
California at USC
Washington at Arizona
Utah at Stanford
Arizona State at Oregon State