Ranking the Pac-12: Week 13


Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

When trying to flesh out the hierarchy of Pac-12 teams over the course of the season to decide who is the best of the best and who is the worst of the worst, I’ve been told by some in the media that’s it’s like comparing apples to oranges. We all like to get into these discussions be it at the gym, office, bar, or in class: Is Stanford still better than Oregon with a healthy Mariota? What if Stanford played Utah on a neutral field? But what if, hypothetically speaking, these teams were types of pizza? Everyone loves pizza. It’s something we all can relate to. And maybe it helps to make things a bit easier going into the final week of the regular season.


Elite: New York-style pizza

#8 Stanford (9-2 Overall, 7-2 Pac-12)

Sure, the Stanford has lost to USC and Utah. But its wins against ASU, Oregon, UCLA and Washington show it can handle the best of what the conference has to offer. Outside of what we saw in the first half against Oregon, the Cardinal aren’t going to blow you out of the water on the scoreboard, but they will grind you into powder in the trenches by the end of the fourth quarter when they play you. Their final stop on the road to a BCS bowl is a game in Palo Alto against Notre Dame, and they are seeking retribution after they were given the shaft in South Bend.


Well above average: Sal’s Gilbert Pizza

#12 Arizona State (9-2 Overall, 7-1 Pac-12)

#13 Oregon (9-2 Overall, 6-2 Pac-12)

#23 USC (9-3 Overall, 6-2 Pac-12)

Oregon getting upset in Tucson was really a slap in the face to the quality of the conference this year. It’s embarrassing when you can’t motivate your players to achieve high level success when they feel they don’t need to play up to their talent — even if it’s not for a shot at the BCS Championship.

The Sun Devils’ play in the first half at the Rose Bowl showed on their best day they can play with nearly anyone. And USC is just on the roll of all rolls, now winning six of the seven games with Ed Orgeron as their interim head coach.


Above Average: Chicago-style pizza

#22 UCLA (8-3 Overall, 5-3 Pac-12)

University of Arizona (7-4 Overall, 4-4 Pac-12)

Washington (7-4 Overall, 4-4 Pac-12)

UCLA had plenty of chances to pick-up an extra score or two against ASU and couldn’t convert. The Bruins still have a very good defense and play-makers on offense, especially at the quarterback position. But until they find an identity running the football this team will be stuck in this position. That being said, with a win against USC they could be right back into eating well-above average pizza in Gilbert when they stop by to snatch up in-state recruits.

Arizona pulled off one of the top three upsets of the year in Pac-12 play, thumping the Ducks at home. Rich Rodriguez has shown that if his defense can force a couple of turnovers his offense is dynamic enough to take over a game against even the best of teams. Plus, B.J. Denker keeps getting better in his senior season and first as a starter.

Cyler Myles is proving that he can direct this offense with all the weapons the Huskies have, and should be in line to do just that as starter next if Bishop Sankey returns. For all the joking about coach Sark, if he can punish the Cougars in the Apple Cup and not lose a shootout in their bowl game, they might be able to shake the “Seven-win Sark” nickname.

Average: California-style pizza

Washington State (6-5 Overall, 4-4 Pac-12)

Oregon State (6-5 Overall, 4-4 Pac-12)

The pressure is off both teams now that they are bowl eligible, but at this point in the season, the programs are going in different directions. Having given up 50-plus in three straight weeks in the middle of the season, Washington State is back on a roll with wins against Arizona and Utah.

Oregon State was invaded at Reser Stadium last week in a siege similar to those in the Bronze Age. Crops were slashed, houses and buildings burned down to the ground and all that remained when the Huskies left town was a cloud of smoke.

Below average: Frozen pizza

Utah (4-7 Overall, 1-7 Pac-12)

Colorado (4-7 Overall, 1-7 Pac-12)

Colorado has moved up to respectable even with all the blowouts they have been on the lesser end of. The Buffs program just seems far and ahead of Cal. Utah can’t stay healthy and its depth continues to be tested. But on the right night at home, the Utes have shown they can beat nearly anyone.

Poor: No pizza

Cal (1-11 Overall, 0-9 Pac-12)

Nobody likes not having pizza, but everyone loves playing Cal. Sonny Dykes had to tear this thing down and rebuild the program in his image, with a completely different philosophy than his predecessor. He’s got some underclassmen to build with, but much like Utah, he’ll need to add depth to that along the way.

How do you rank the Pac-12 top-to-bottom? Let us know on Twitter and you could make it on the next ASU Devils Den Podcast.