While everybody recovers from Thanksgiving and begins eating their leftovers, the final week of the Pac-12 regular season is here featuring many rivalries.
By the end of the weekend, we will know the two teams playing for the Pac-12 championship next week in Santa Clara, California.
USC will enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday on a bye week as they’ll face either Washington State or Stanford in the Pac-12 title game.
Elsewhere, the Pac-12 will have three rivalry games, two match-ups featuring five-win teams and Stanford will host No. 8 Notre Dame.
Cal-UCLA and Colorado-Utah will determine the final two bowl eligible teams in the Pac-12 as the conference will have nine bowl eligible teams.
1. USC Trojans (LW: 1)
USC remains atop of our Power Rankings after winning a nail-biter versus arch rival UCLA 28-23 last Saturday night.
The Trojans didn’t play particularly well as quarterback Sam Darnold completed 17-of-28 passes for 264 yards and one interception. Running back Ronald Jones posted another 100-yard game rushing for 122 yards and two touchdowns.
The defense allowed 501 total yards of offense to the Bruins, but forced two turnovers with Michael Pittman Jr. scoring a 72-yard punt return for touchdown, earning him Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week.
After playing 12 straight weeks, USC finally gets a bye week to recuperate before gearing up for the Pac-12 Championship Game next Friday, where they’ll await Stanford or Washington State.
2. Washington State Cougars (LW: 3)
The Cougars control their own destiny Saturday. Win and they’re in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Washington State is coming off a bye week after defeating Utah two weeks ago.
It’ll be a tough task for Mike Leach’s team Saturday in Seattle against Washington as the Huskies won in Pullman last year 45-17.
Motivation will be an all-time high for the Cougars as they seek their first Pac-12 North division title with a win.
Kickoff of the Apple Cup is at 6 p.m. MT Saturday on FOX.
3. Stanford Cardinal (LW: 2)
Stanford continued its dominance over California in the Big Game defeating the Golden Bears 17-14 for their ninth-straight win in the series.
It was not your usual Pac-12 shootout as each team tallied under 400 yards of total offense with both quarterbacks throwing for under 200 yards.
Both running backs rushed for over 100 yards, with Bryce Love‘s 57-yard touchdown run in the third quarter sealing the win for the Cardinal as Cal couldn’t overcome the 17-6 deficit.
With the win, the Cardinal stayed in contention for the Pac-12 North and need Washington State to lose in the Apple Cup to secure the division.
The Apple Cup and Stanford’s game versus Notre Dame will kick off simultaneously and Stanford will certainly be scoreboard-watching. Kickoff of Notre Dame-Stanford is at 6 p.m. MT Saturday on ABC.
4. Washington Huskies (LW: 4)
The Huskies’ position in our Power Rankings remains the same after pulling out a thrilling 33-30 win over Utah.
Quarterback Jake Browning won Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for 354 yards and two touchdowns.
Browning was helicoptered in the fourth quarter falling to the turf hard on a fourth-down scramble. He got up slowly, but was back out for the next drive leading Washington to 10 points in the final minute of the game.
Running back Myles Gaskin tied the game with 58 seconds remaining on a 2-yard touchdown run, and the Huskies got the ball back after a Utes three-and-out.
Browning led Washington for a 51-yard drive in 20 seconds with kicker Tristan Vizcaino converting a 38-yard field goal as time expired to seal the comeback win.
The Huskies, who are eliminated from Pac-12 North contention, will look to play spoiler against Washington State in the Apple Cup Saturday at 6 p.m. MT on FOX.
5. Arizona State Sun Devils (LW: T6)
The Sun Devils are going bowling for the the first time in two years after defeating Oregon State 40-24.
Oregon State did make things interesting as they were within two possessions late in the fourth quarter, but quarterback Darell Garretson turned the ball over twice stalling their comeback efforts.
Wilkins threw a season-low 19 passes, but he didn’t need to air it out because of the effective running game.
Richard and running back Kalen Ballage each rushed for over 100 yards with the Sun Devils finishing with 286 rushing yards.
The defense also played well limiting Oregon State to 375 yards.
Next up for Arizona State is the Territorial Cup against Arizona, with the Sun Devils looking to bounce back after getting hammered in Tucson last year. Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. MT Saturday on Pac-12 Network.
6. Arizona Wildcats (LW: 5)
The Wildcats struggled in Eugene last weekend losing 48-28 to the Oregon Ducks.
Oregon shut down quarterback Khalil Tate as he completed 18-of-35 passes for 159 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, while also rushing for only 32 yards.
It was the first time this season that Tate rushed for under 100 yards.
Oregon’s offense looked potent once again with the return of quarterback Justin Herbert, who didn’t look like he missed a beat.
The Ducks had a staggering 588 yards of offense, with Arizona unable to stop running back Royce Freeman, who rushed for 135 yards and tied a season-high with four touchdowns.
Arizona’s defense needs to regroup, as it won’t get any easier facing Arizona State this week. Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. MT Saturday on Pac-12 Network.
7. Oregon Ducks (LW: 10)
Oregon makes the biggest jump in our Power Rankings after a 20-point home win over Arizona in quarterback Justin Herbert‘s return from injury.
The Ducks finally featured a balanced offensive attack with Herbert throwing for 235 yards, two total touchdowns and one interception and Oregon rushing for 353 yards.
More from Devils in Detail
- Sun Devils Primer: Game 2 vs Oklahoma State
- Sun Devil Insight: Quarterback Room
- Arizona State Spotlight: Kenny Dillingham
- Arizona State 2023 Season Opener: Off To A Good Start
- Arizona State vs USC Prediction and Promo (Expect Offensive Fireworks)
Oregon’s defense deserved a lot of credit for shutting down Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate, holding him to just over 200 total yards and becoming the first team to hold Tate to under 100 yards rushing.
With the victory, Oregon became bowl eligible in Willie Taggert’s first year as head coach and will host Oregon State in the Civil War Saturday (5 p.m. MT on ESPN2).
8. UCLA Bruins (LW: T6)
The Bruins fought hard at the Coliseum last week losing to USC 28-23.
Wide receiver Jordan Lasley had a breakout game for the Bruins finishing with 10 receptions, 204 yards and three touchdowns.
Of course the big news that came out of Los Angeles last week was UCLA announcing the firing of head coach Jim Mora. Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch will serve as the interim head coach.
The timing seems a bit odd with a game remaining and UCLA needing to beat California Friday (8:30 p.m. MT on FS1) to become bowl eligible.
UCLA appears to be a finalist with Florida for the services of Chip Kelly, and that probably explains why they fired Mora Sunday after Florida officials met with Kelly last weekend.
It will be a fascinating development to watch this week to see where Kelly goes.
9. California Golden Bears (LW: 8)
Cal’s long losing streak versus Stanford continued after a tight three-point defeat to the Cardinal in Palo Alto last Saturday.
One Bryce Love touchdown run in the third quarter sealed Cal’s fate in the Big Game, and the Golden Bears now face a must win game Friday night (8:30 p.m. MT on FS1) at the Rose Bowl.
Cal needs to defeat UCLA to become bowl eligible, which would be an outstanding achievement for first-year head coach Justin Wilcox.
10. Utah Utes (LW: 9)
Another heartbreaking road loss for Utah against one of the top teams in the Pac-12.
After losing to USC earlier this season after attempting a two-point conversion, the Utes allowed 10 points in the final minute of the game to lose 33-30.
Quarterback Tyler Huntley had a solid game for the Utes throwing for 293 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, but Utah couldn’t keep the ball away from Washington to ice the game.
The defense couldn’t stop the Huskies aerial attack as Jake Browning carved up Utah’s defense in the fourth quarter to complete the comeback.
Utah faces a must win Saturday (8 p.m. MT on FS1) against Colorado in order to become bowl eligible.
11. Colorado Buffaloes (LW: 11)
After losing to USC at home two weeks ago, Colorado had their bye week last week in preparation for their game at Utah Saturday night (8 p.m. MT on FS1)
Colorado must win Saturday if they want to be bowl eligible for a second consecutive season.
12. Oregon State Beavers (LW: 12)
Oregon State celebrated their senior class last Saturday, but the Beavers struggled mightily early, digging themselves a 30-point hole in an eventual 40-24 loss versus Arizona State.
The Beavers had three costly turnovers, including two late in the fourth quarter when they made it a 16-point game.
Oregon State now travels to Eugene to face a revitalized Oregon Ducks team Saturday (5 p.m. MT on ESPN2) after the return of quarterback Justin Herbert.
The Beavers will look to make it two in a row against the Ducks after defeating Oregon 34-24 last season.