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Pac-12 Power Rankings: College Football Playoff chances are all but dashed

NCAA Football: Stanford at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Power rankings are often all the same, so we’re mixing things up. Each week you’ll get a rundown of 12 or fewer highlights, storylines and anything in between from the Conference of Champions.

The Pac-12’s main event last week was Stanford’s game at Notre Dame. Unfortunately for the conference, the Cardinal bombed on national television, making the Pac-12’s playoff hopes dim.

We look at that, as well as Colorado’s 4-0 record, some harsh comments from USC’s Imam Marshall directed at the Pac-12 officials, Mike Leach and Lane Kiffin’s friendship, and more in this week’s Pac-12 Power Rankings.

1. The Pac-12’s playoff chances are nearly extinct

NCAA Football: Stanford at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Right now, the Pac-12 really has only two teams with a prayer’s chance at the playoff: The Stanford Cardinal and the Washington Huskies. I guess Oregon is a long shot, and Colorado, well, we’ll get to them.

Neither Stanford nor UW can lose the rest of the way, and the two teams play Nov. 3 in what will be an elimination game should both teams enter that game with one loss. UW also plays Oregon on Oct. 13 in what is also an elimination game.

It’s the first week of October and the conference is all but eliminated from the College Football Playoff. Maybe next year!

2. Colorado ain’t played nobody

UCLA v Colorado Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Colorado Buffaloes are 4-0 but their opponents are a combined 1-16. Here is the Buff’s schedule the rest of the way:

  • Arizona State
  • USC
  • Washington
  • Oregon State
  • Arizona
  • Washington State
  • Utah
  • Cal

I’d pencil in one loss for sure in UW. We probably won’t know how good Colorado is until they play USC, but even that might not be a good barometer because of USC’s lackluster play.

Which leads us to….

3. The Pac-12 South is garbage

USC v Arizona Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Every Pac-12 South team has at least two losses overall except Colorado. The South champ might have three losses, which wouldn’t be the first time. In 2015, USC was 6-3 in conference play and still won the south.

I say we realign the conference. Who has some grand ideas?

4. Utah is in trouble

NCAA Football: Utah at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Utes were a trendy preseason pick in the South. The Utes are now 0-2 in conference play and still have Stanford, Oregon and USC on their schedule, as well as Colorado. There’s little room for error the rest of the way, but this is the South, remember.

Kyle Whittingham gets a ton of praise, but I think that’s a shortsighted look. Yeah, he’s good in bowl games and he’s the longest tenured head coach in the Pac-12. But get this: The Utes record in their past 10 conference games? Just 2-8.

Make that your narrative.

5. Will the UCLA Bruins finish 0-12?

UCLA v Colorado Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Chip Kelly’s Bruins are 0-4 and haven’t scored more than 21 points in any game thus far. Here’s the Bruins’ schedule the rest of the season:

  • Washington
  • Cal
  • Arizona
  • Utah
  • Oregon
  • Arizona State
  • USC
  • Stanford

The Bruins will be underdogs in all of those. I mean, maybe they have a chance against Arizona? If they’re 0-10 heading into their Nov. 17 game against USC, I’m guessing Trojan fans will outnumber Bruins fans in the Rose Bowl by a wide margin.

It’s going to be a long season in Westwood.

6. Iman Marshall blasts #Pac12Refs

I like his honesty:

USC was flagged 18 times against Arizona for 169 yards. I have no reason to believe any of those calls were wrong, but I feel like many Pac-12 fans can relate to Iman’s position.

7. Where was Utah’s safety going?

Dezmon Patmon’s 65-yard catch-and-run touchdown was beautiful. But does anybody know what Utah’s safety was thinking on this play?

At first I thought he just KNEW the ball was going to the sideline. But maybe he just timed the pass horribly wrong?

8. If Gardner Minshew wants to set some records, this is the week to do it

NCAA Football: Utah at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The Oregon State Beavers are second-to-last in the nation in total defense. Only Connecticut is worse. They give up an average of 543.6 yards per game (which—holy cow—is still 120 less than Connecticut) and 7.12 yards per play.

Now, some of you might be thinking we should run the ball because OSU’s run defense is worse than their already bad pass defense.

But have you even met Mike Leach? Who cares if the Beavers’ rushing defense is horrid. The Cougs are the Cougs are they’ll throw the ball past you if they need to.

And that’s what I expect to happen Saturday. Oregon State’s defense is so bad, it doesn’t matter if you run or throw—you’re going to have success.

So, Minshew should have these numbers in his head:

  • 6
  • 58
  • 734

The first one is the record for TD passes in a game, the second is the record for pass completions in a game, and the last one is the record for most passing yards in a game.

Come on Gardner. Light it up.

9. Mike Leach and Lane Kiffin seem like best buds

10. This week’s most interesting Pac-12 matchup is Utah at Stanford

Stanford v Oregon Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Final score prediction: 7-3.