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Block U Power Rankings and Bowl Projections

There were two upsets and plenty of dominance in the PAC 12 this week, while Utah Cal lived up to its billing as a close, exciting game. Traditional powers look to have fallen on hard times, and the pecking order in the conference is in flux.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Power Rankings

1. Utah (no change)- Utah’s place in the conference pecking order took a hit as Oregon dropped to WSU at home, but their national relevance continues. The Utes are undefeated, leading the PAC 12 south, and have the best non-conference win of any team in the nation.

2. Stanford (no change)- Stanford’s bye week has come and gone and now they prepare for a major power matchup against UCLA. A win over the Bruins would officially restart the playoff talk for the Cardinal.

3. Cal (+ 1)- Everything about Cal looked really good in losing to the Utes. They promise to be a threat in the North. They get a bye week to pick up the pieces.

4. UCLA (+1)- Not playing was the right move for UCLA, as the Bruins watched two of the teams who were above them in week 5 lose. They’ve got an opportunity to reassert themselves as a dominant force in the conference with a win at Stanford on Thursday night.

5. ASU (+1)- ASU looks like a PAC 12 south contender headed into their contest against the Utes on Saturday. They knocked off the Buffs with ease, and no doubt have their sights set on taking down the undefeated Utes.

6. Washington (+1)- Washington defeated off a heralded opponent on the road, and now they welcome a reeling Oregon Ducks squad into their home stadium for one of the biggest rivalries in the PAC 12. This should be fun.

7. USC (+1)- USC was completely stifled in a loss to Washington that looked completely out of the question to start the season, although Washington has done enough to suggest that it’s a quality team top to bottom. Steve Sarkisian has also taken an indefinite absence to work on what sounds like a serious struggle with alcoholism. An awful week for the Trojans.

8. Arizona (-1)- Oregon State looks like this year’s get-right game, and Arizona got right in a big way. They’ve got another opportunity to pick up a comfortable win on the road at Colorado.

9. WSU (+2)- Out of the cellar! The Cougs have been hovering in the bottom three all season, but by beating the not-so-mighty Ducks they have clawed their way to respectability. Oregon State offers an opportunity for them to start maneuvering for a bowl game.

10. Oregon (-1)- Oregon couldn’t control the clock and the secondary couldn’t stop a nose bleed. Washington State won in overtime. A huge rivalry at Washington looms; the Huskies haven’t won in a long, long time but they look like the better team headed into this game.

11. Colorado (+1)- Colorado did not look good. Not at all. Big mistakes, blown coverages, and sloppy play all went along with their typical lack of real firepower or a potent defense. They welcome the Arizona Wildcats next week.

12. OSU (-1)- The Beavers. It ain’t good, people. Coach Andersen is going to have to start from the very bottom.

Bowl Projections

Utah notched another win over an otherwise undefeated team, and has a magnificent resume. The resulting bowl projections are fun, but advanced metrics aren’t as high on the Utes after a sloppy game.  The best part of being in the PAC 12 is starting to sink in, though. It doesn’t matter what your resume is or your metrics say. If you win every game, you will be given an opportunity to win a national championship. 13-0 is a golden ticket, and the Utes are nearly halfway there.

USC’s terrible performance in a loss to Washington has cost the Trojans win probability, but most of all the unlikely loss has ended their status as front-runners in the PAC 12 south race. The Utes have a whole game on every team in the South without having played any South teams. Preseason projections made the south look like a gauntlet that was going to take a loss or two out of every good team, but injuries, coaching problems, and general poor play have exposed major flaws in each of the South contenders, except the Utes.  National media has taken notice.

The Utes are starting to get playoff consideration, and that will continue to heat up if they keep wining. At this point every projection and press service has them in a New Year's bowl; with 10-2 the mostly likely record that would make sense. The Fiesta Bowl matchups have intriguing storylines, and of course our own projection of Utah Ohio State is a dream matchup for many Ute fans. Seeing Urban on the other sideline would be really fun.