It was the calm before the storm in the Pac-12 Conference this week.
Come Thursday, all eyes will be on Oregon and Stanford as they meet in a game with not only North Division title, but national championship ramifications.
Stanford won the battle in Eugene last year and kept the Ducks from vying for a national title. Can they do it again this year at home?
There were four games, spread out over three days, last week. Arizona State opened with a 55-21 trouncing of Washington State. Then it was USC ending a three-game slide in Corvallis with a convincing 31-14 win over Oregon State.
On Saturday, UCLA dumped Colorado, 45-23, and Arizona held off California, 33-28.
Here are my rankings for this week:
1. Oregon (8-0, 5-0): Ducks can pretty much punch ticket to second Pac-12 championship game with win over Cardinal. For what it’s worth, QB Marcus Mariota’s only loss came to the Cardinal.
2. Stanford (7-1, 5-1): Cardinal have looked vulnerable this season at times. Can they slow down Oregon’s offense? They will need to if they hope to gain the upper hand in the North.
3. Arizona State (6-2, 4-1): Sun Devils took no prisoners in demolishing Cougars on the road. Road trip to Utah this week before hosting Oregon State the next week.
4. UCLA (6-2, 3-2): Bruins bounced back with a home win over Colorado. At Arizona this week then home to Washington before showdown with Sun Devils.
5. USC (6-3, 3-2): Trojans ran through the Oregon State defense and are back in the race for the South Division title. Still a long shot but Ed Orgeron has Trojans playing well.
6. Washington (5-3, 2-3): Huskies had a bye and will host Colorado this week (another bye?) before road game at UCLA. A win and the Huskies are bowl eligible.
7. Oregon State (6-3, 4-2): Beavers coming off worst performance of the season. Defense struggled stopping an average USC offense and the offense failed to move the ball. A bye before heading to ASU.
8. Arizona (6-2, 3-2): Wildcats withstood California on the road. They have won three straight but start brutal final four games with home game against UCLA.
9. Utah (4-4, 1-4): Utes coming off a bye and get Arizona State and Oregon the next two weeks. Yikes.
10. Washington State (4-5, 2-4): Cougars have given up 169 points the last three games. Good time for a bye to try to get back on track.
11. Colorado (3-5, 0-5): Buffaloes giving up 48.8 points per game against Pac-12 opponents. Huskies might be able to do the same.
12. California (1-8, 0-6): Bears hung tough at home against Arizona. Players not quitting on first-year coach Sonny Dykes.