Pac-12 Power Rankings: A Big One In Los Angeles

Oct 18, 2023, 10:46 AM

SALT LAKE CITY – The Pac-12 power rankings are about to get clear themselves up even more this week as No. 14 Utah prepares to travel to Los Angeles to take on No. 18 USC.

The “Conference of Champions” is off to the strongest start they’ve had as a conference of 12 making it all the more ironic this will also be its last as we know it. Six teams in the Pac-12 are currently ranked in the AP Top 25.

The sample size is continuing to get clearer as league play continues. Here is how the Pac-12 shook out in week seven.

Pac-12 Power Rankings 2023 Season: Week Seven

There was a lot of buzz heading into the 2023 football season for the Pac-12 and rightfully so. On paper the league looks as strong as ever after having finished the previous season with six ranked teams while currently sitting with seven ranked teams. Those teams returned most of the same talent, while others went to work stepping up their game.

Those efforts have showed well the past seven weeks leaving Pac-12 fans feeling good (and admittedly a little sad) about where things are heading during the league’s “farewell season”.

The Oregon versus Washington matchup last weekend was everything we hoped for. Washington State continued to reel after being knocked off their axis two weeks ago by UCLA. Oregon State continues to play with a lot of controlled rage making them dangerous opponent in 2023.

Utah is all defense and no offense- mostly due to injuries while Colorado and USC are all offense and no defense- mostly due to design.

The Utes and Trojans meet this week in a matchup of their best against their best and their worst against their worst. Who does the better job of managing their deficiencies?


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1. Washington (6-0, 3-0)

Washington 36 | Oregon 33

These teams battled like I thought they would. It was a good game. It looked like Oregon was going to take it until some questionable game management opened the door for Washington to kick a field goal.

This week: at home against ASU, 8:30 p.m. MT, FS1

2. Oregon (5-1, 2-1)

Oregon 33 | Washington 36

I’m willing to bet these two teams could play 10 times with different results every time. Unfortunately, the Ducks came up a little short in this one, but they are still undisputedly one of the top teams in the conference.

This week: at home against Washington State, 1:30 p.m. MT, ABC 

3. Oregon State (6-1, 2-1)

Oregon State 36 | UCLA 24

Oregon State continues to do their thing. They had to scrap it out a little against a tough UCLA team and there is no shame in it. A lot of teams are going to have to do that against the Bruins this year.

This week: BYE

4. Utah (5-1, 2-1)

Utah 34 | Cal 14

Utah looked the best they probably have all season thanks to some rest the week before with the BYE and changing up how they deal with managing when and if Cam Rising is ready to go. The Utes rolled out Bryson Barnes and he didn’t look bad with a game plan fully tailored to his strengths. If Barnes’ confidence continues to build and he can make a few more throws he hesitated on in the coming weeks, Utah just might surprise some people with a defense that will happily ugly up your offense.

This week: at USC, 6:00 p.m. MT, FOX

5. USC (6-1, 3-0)

USC 20 | Notre Dame 48

It was a little tough for me to decide what to do between Utah and USC. I opted to put the team ahead who has managed their adversity better. Anyone who has been watching has noticed the Trojans teetering on the edge quite a bit this season. Teams have taken them to task who probably have no business doing so, and Notre Dame took that and beat them with it. Utah is very much capable of doing the same thing. This game this week is going to be very interesting.

This week: at home against Utah, 6:00 p.m. MT, FOX

6. UCLA (4-2, 1-2)

UCLA 24 | Oregon State 36

I stand by what I said last week. If this team wasn’t breaking in a freshman quarterback, they would be an even bigger problem for this conference than they currently are. That defense has been pretty impressive.

This week: at Stanford, 8:30 p.m. MT, ESPN

7. Arizona (4-3, 2-2)

Arizona 44 | Washington State 6

This Arizona team is cooking, and Noah Fifita has been very impressive as a freshman quarterback. The score of their game against Washington State was not at all what I saw coming.

This week: BYE

8. Washington State (4-2, 1-2)

Washington State 6 | Arizona 44

Yikes. This Washington State team started off so strong and has really hit a brick wall the past two weeks. Especially on offense. It likely won’t get any easier or prettier this week.

This week: at Oregon, 1:30 p.m. MT, Pac-12 ABC

9. Colorado (4-3, 1-3)

Colorado 43 | Stanford 46

A quote from Remember the Titans comes to mind when I think about this Colorado team. “Attitude reflects leadership.” I’ve said before. There is a lot to like about the Buffs and Deion Sanders, but there is also a lot not to like about them too. I think they let the glitz, glam, and flash get away from them and they really paid for it this past week. Time to reset and get it back under control- ya know, keep the main thing the main thing.

This week: BYE

10. Cal (3-4, 1-3)

Cal 14 | Utah 34

I think it’s clear Cal is still a work in progress.

This week: BYE

11. Stanford (2-4, 1-3)

Stanford 46| Colorado 43

The Cardinal proving you can’t fall asleep at the wheel in the Pac-12 ever- even against one of the worst teams in the league. They may just comeback from a 29-0 deficit in the second half and eat your lunch. Are we sure we want to give up Pac-12 After Dark?

This week: at home against UCLA, 8:30 p.m. MT, ESPN

12. Arizona State (1-5, 0-3)


The Sun Devils are wrapping up a much-needed break and will be back in action this weekend.

This week: at Washington, 8:30 p.m. MT, FS1

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Pac-12 Power Rankings: A Big One In Los Angeles