Pac-12 power rankings: A relatively stress free Cal week

For WSU and Cal fans, this is a series that has been known for some hilarious and ridiculous plays over the last twenty or so years. There’s also general bull shittery — Connor Halliday’s 700+ yard performance in a loss says hello — which makes it ripe for memes. Don’t believe me?

Here’s Write for California‘s Avinash Kunnath on some of the weirdest shit that’s happened when these two teams meet.

And then this, from the same game!

It always seems to go against the Cougs too, which is why I absolutely fucking hate this week.


But this year’s match-up was surprisingly free of the Call bullshit we’ve grown accustomed to. Even when Cal had closed the gap to 14-9 at the start of the fourth quarter the game never really felt that close. If Cam Ward doesn’t throw two agonizingly boneheaded interceptions in the red zone then the game is probably 20-3 or 28-3 before the Golden Bears punched it in. And that’s with the feeling that the offense had teetered on the edge of putting it together all game.

And boy did they ever in the fourth quarter. Ward found seventh year senior (injuries and the Covid season) Renard Bell for a 37-yard touchdown to put the game out of reach. Then, on fourth and goal, Jake Dickert went for the nards and the touchdown with Washington State’s first touchdown pass to a tight end since 2011 — when this blog was founded.

Unlike last week, the Cougars were the more talented team that had outplayed the other team on the field. But this time they did it with a small lead, so when they put it together it turned the game into a route extremely quickly. Unfortunately, the blow out win was not enough to get the Cougs into either top 25 poll…for reasons, I assume.

Cougs vs. everybody.


1) Utah Utes

The Utes offensive attack wasn’t explosive, but it was efficient as it took advantage of several turnovers to steam roll the Beavers 42-16. It was a close game until the interceptions started and the game was over in the third quarter.

2) USC Trojans

The Trojans offense clicked a week after they were nearly upset in Corvallis and it only took them till the third quarter to put the game out of reach. It would have been nice if they’d put the Sun Devils out of their misery sooner.

3) UCLA Bruins

Chip Kelley’s squad had a 16-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter and they almost blew it. The Bruins were a build such a big lead thanks to an efficient performance by Dorian Thompson-Robinson (24 of 33 for 315 yards). Two picks for the defense also played a major part in UCLA’s explosive victory over a the (then) ranked No. 15 Huskies.

4) Oregon Ducks

In a game that wasn’t statistically, or visually, all that close, the Ducks only won by 18 against David Shaw’s rotted out shell of a program. Oregon took the gas off as Bo Nix only threw for 161 yards on 29 attempts. What, could kind of be, a concern is the fact that the back ups struggled to hold onto such a large margin…but that’s honestly too nitpicky, even for me.


5) Washington State Cougars

A big blowout of Cal was just what the doctor ordered after a hear breaking loss to Oregon the week before. The defense shut down Jayden Ott and recorded four sack of Jack Plummer in a reminder of how good this defense is despite the fact that the Ducks steam rolled them. Now if the AP voters could pull their collective head out of their collective ass…that would be great.

6) Washington Huskies

Kalen DeBeor is one hell of a coach. Despite the fact that his squad was down by 24 at the start of the fourth quarter he managed to keep his squad in the game and scored a pair of touchdowns (with accompanying two-point conversions) to close the gap. The program isn’t quiet there yet in his first season but he’s shown a ton of promise in his first five games on Montlake.

7) Oregon State Beavers

Chance Nolan was yanked in this game and it did nothing to prevent OSU from throwing interceptions. Jonathan Smith’s continual inability to find consistently efficient quarterback play truly baffles me.

8) California Golden Bears

A poorly coached game, despite a couple aggressive fourth down decisions early, left the Golden Bears in a position where they had to play catchup against a more talented team. And they weren’t really able to do that.


9) Arizona Wildcats

Last weeks blow out loss to Cal was followed up by a blow out victory over a feckless Colorado squad. Jayden de Laura played like he was in the Apple Cup again — side note, six touchdowns? Holy fuck — and the running backs had an explosive day on the ground.

10) Arizona State Sun Devils

The Sun Devils get a bump up in the power rankings because of the fact that they were actually in the game until the second half. USC pulled away late and that was all she wrote.

11) Stanford Cardinal

The Cardinal struggled to do anything against the superior Ducks on Saturday night. It was another gut check that Stanford’s talent level is not at the level needed for the style of play that head coach David Shaw wants to play. Will the Cardinal be ready to move on from the winningest coach in school history? We’ll see…

12) Colorado Buffaloes

Well, that didn’t take long.

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