Although the top-25 rankings have yet to come for the Pac-12 (only two teams currently in the AP) the conference has racked up a phenomenal non-conference record. With one week of non-conference play left the Pac-12 sits with a 110-30 record with no team having a losing record. Each week the power rankings become more challenging but especially this week as only four teams lost a game.
1. Arizona (12-1)
Another winning week leaves the Wildcats at the number one position. This week we saw them play common opponents of the Ducks as they were able to knock off UNLV by 12 and Long Beach State 15. Arizona has concluded their non-conference schedule and now start prepping for Pac-12 play.
2. Oregon (10-2)
Perhaps a little bias came through when I left the Ducks at number two even after the Boise State loss. Well after the gritty comeback victory against Alabama the Ducks keep their spot soundly. No doubt the second half effort from the Ducks will be one to remember this season as they added a solid non conference road win to the resume. With Dylan Ennis on the near horizon things are looking bright in Eugene.
3. Utah (10-2)
Once again the Utes continue their yo-yo like season as they bounce back up to the number three position thanks to their upset win over then #7 Duke. Utah tried everything they could to give that game away in overtime but somehow still found a way to pull that out. What was most impressive about that one is they did most of it without star Jakob Poeltl who was stuck on the bench with foul trouble.
4. UCLA (9-4)
The Bruins looked poised to pull of another upset as they took on the #11 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. Roy Williams squad had no intentions of that however as they pulled away for a 13 point victory. I’m still having a hard time getting a read on how good UCLA is; it’ll be interesting to see how they start the conference slate.
5. Colorado (11-1)
After a three win week, the previous number three team drops all the way to five position. Colorado just didn’t bring any impressive win this week, with their best victory being a one point win to Penn State. I was very tempted to put California above the Buffaloes but for now the one loss is the saving grace for Colorado.
6. California (9-3)
The Golden Bears lost a heart breaker last night losing on the road to #5 Virginia by one point in overtime. Maybe this young team has started to figure out how all their pieces will fit together, a scary thought for the rest of the conference.
7. Oregon State (9-2)
A solid three win week for the Beavers as well. Oregon State wrapped up their non-conference schedule with no real marquee win on the schedule, making them tough to judge. Opening with the Civil War will be a huge test.
8. USC (10-2)
The offensive explosion of the Trojans was on display again as they broke the 100 point barrier again against Cal Poly. With five different players averaging over 10 points per game they will look for that same consistency once conference play begins.
9. Arizona State (9-3)
The slow climb back up the ladder continues for the Sun Devils. Arizona State got a nice ten point victory this week over UNLV to start their three game winning week. I just don’t see enough firepower from them to make a real conference push.
10. Washington (8-3)
The Huskies dropped a disappointing game at home to Oakland this week while nearly giving up 100 points. They rebounded to that loss by pulling out a second half squeaker over Seattle University (trust me, they're bad). The young huskies will certainly lose some games to teams they shouldn’t but I think they’ll sneak up and bite a few top-25 Pac-12 teams as the season moves on.
11. Stanford (6-4)
The Cardinal had a shot to move a few spots up in a matchup against Texas, but couldn’t capitalize as they lost by two. The Cardinal have been leaning heavily on big men Rosco Allen and Travis Reid who combine for 26.8 points and 13.8 rebounds per game.
12. Washington State (7-3)
The Cougars got their shot at a top tier opponent as they took on #3 Oklahoma. Washington State stood in there for the first half but were blown out in the second half for a 28-point loss. It’s going to be a rough season in Pullman, there’s just not much on that team for Ernie Kent to turn to.
As I’ve said before, these rankings seem like a total shot in the dark sometimes as so many teams make compelling arguments. I’m sure that many people have an entirely different order than I do. With that being said, we’re finally approaching conference play where we can begin to see teams separate from one another.
Now, for a look at the big games in the week ahead:
Wed. Dec. 23rd: #18 SMU vs Colorado
Mon. Dec. 28st: Davidson vs California
With a very light week ahead as many teams have already wrapped up their non-conference play, look for the next batch of power rankings to arrive after the first weekend of Pac-12 play on January 6th.