NCAA Football

Pac-12 power rankings: Washington survives a trip to SLC

If you had any doubts that No. 4 Washington (8-0, 5-0) was the best team in the conference, the Huskies performance in Salt Lake City should put those doubts to rest.

Dante Pettis’s 58 yard punt return for a touchdown gave Washington a seven-point lead with just under four minutes left in regulation. It was a huge moment for a program that has struggled to gain any traction since the turn of the century, and one that Husky fans aren’t going to forget anytime soon…even if there were three seperate blocks in the back that helped Pettis break free.

The Huskies defense completely shutdown Utah’s passing attack and forced the Utes to run the ball. While the Utes averaged 4.5 yards per carry during the game, their offense never was able to hit its stride because Washington took away Utah’s big play ability.

1) Washington Huskies: A huge win on the road leaves Washington in complete control of its playoff destiny. Win out, and the Huskies are playing against Bama…or Michigan.

2) Utah Utes: Despite struggling in the passing game, the Utes still earned over 200 yards on the ground against a monster front seven. The “Rumble in the Rockies” will be extremely interesting this year.

3) Washington State Cougars: The Cougs survived a terrible first half that saw OSU roll up nearly 400 yards of offense to pick up their sixth straight win on the season.

4) Colorado Buffaloes: Colorado got a week to rest itself and prepare for Jim Mora’s fake tough guys.

5) USC Trojans: The Trojans had two running backs earn more than 100 yards on the ground — Ronald Jones II carried the ball 18 times for 223 yards, Aca’Cedric Ware carried it 20 times for 130 yards — in a 45-24 route of California. USC is only 0.5 a game back of Colorado in the Pac-12 South race.

6) Stanford Cardinal: Christian McCaffery was on fire against the Wildcats on Saturday as he averaged 7.3 yards per carry and scored two touchdowns in the desert. The Cardinal’s 34-10 victory ended their three-game losing streak.

7) UCLA Bruins: UCLA got a week off to prepare for its trip to Boulder, Colo.

8) Arizona State Sun Devils: ASU was never really in the game against the Ducks. The Sun Devils out coached, out prepared, and out played in the 54-35 loss on Saturday.

9) California Golden Bears: Cal’s defense is awful, and it led to a blowout loss against USC on Thursday night.

10) Oregon Ducks: Freshmen Justin Herbert wasn’t rattled by the Sun Devils’ aggressive defense as he completed 31 of 42 passes for 489 yards in the 19-point victory.

11) Arizona Wildcats: After that pitiful performance against a weaker-than-normal Stanford squad, it wouldn’t be surprising if Rich Rodriguez’s seat was getting really…really warm.

12) Oregon State Beavers: The Beavers used up all of their trickeration in the first half as they rolled up 394 yards of offense; but OSU was completely shut down in the second half and it led to a four-point loss.

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Photo credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports