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Power Rankings and Bowl Projections

Over the last few games, the standard pecking order in the PAC 12 has reasserted itself, and suddenly the power rankings look a lot like the preseason. There’s one exception, but it’s not the Utes.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Power Rankings

1. Oregon (+4)- Oregon pops up to the top of the power rankings with consecutive wins over Stanford and USC. The Civil War against Oregon State doesn’t promise to dislodge them from this position atop the power rankings, although they’ve fallen short of the North championship.

2. Stanford (no change)- Stanford looked great against Cal and is going to be in the PAC 12 Championship game, which is quite an achievement in a division with three darn good teams. They play spoiler next week to Notre Dame.

3. WSU (no change)- They haven’t moved up any, but it’s amazing that the Cougars are where they are. They got Washington next week in a game with major bowl implications for both teams.

4. UCLA (+2)- They beat the Utes and have almost completed their once-improbable run at the PAC 12 South championship. Just one more win against USC and they’ve climbed the mountain.

5. USC (-4)- If the Utes had beaten UCLA, they’d be back in control of the South after the Trojans fell hard to the Ducks. As it is, the rest of the world will be watching the rivalry game between the Trojans and the Bruins, which will decide the division. For Ute fans, it will be a painful reminder of what could have been.

6. Utah (-2)- The Utes’ spiral continues after UCLA’s defense completely shut down the Utes. Fans are disappointed. Just a few more plays in the last two games and the Utes would be at the very top of this list. Colorado should provide a ninth win on a decent season that could have been so much more.

7. Cal (no change)- The Bears lost to Stanford, but didn’t take much of a hit in the power rankings. They get Arizona State at home, a game where they hope to separate themselves from the pack a little bit.

8. ASU (+1)- The Sun Devils did to the Wildcats what Utah was hoping to do, slowing down their offense a little while blowing away their defense. They’ve officially qualified for a bowl game, but their matchup against Cal is a bowl selection showdown.

9. Arizona (-1)- A loss to ASU is the cherry on top of a terribly disappointing season for the Wildcats. Their schedule set up without a bye week, so they are 6-6 and waiting for everyone else to get done to see where they stand in the end.

10. Washington (no change)- The Huskies devoured the Beavers, but so has everyone else but Colorado. To qualify for a bowl game, they are going to need to take out WSU. Everything is on the line for them next week.

11. Colorado (no change)- No upset, but not as bad a loss as the Beavers had. Next week’s matchup against the Utes shouldn’t be close, but Ute fans all know how this manufactured ‘rivalry’ goes. Just like a real one.

12. OSU (no change)- Is this the worst power 5 team in the country? That honor goes to Kansas, but the Beavers are in second, according to FPI.

Bowl Projections

Most of the exciting opportunities the Utes had have been frittered away over the last two weeks. The model projected one loss over the final four weeks, and the Utes have lost two. The final records aren’t anything more than the win probabilities for the teams’ remaining games. The divisions are locked up as well. Stanford has won the North, and the matchup between UCLA and USC will decide the South.

Utah’s bowl prospects have fallen on hard times, although they are (mercifully?) out of range of a matchup against BYU in Las Vegas. The Sun Bowl would be a real disappointment, given how many times the Utes have been projected in a New Years’ game. A Holiday Bowl matchup against a team like Wisconsin would be much more rewarding.