With the calendar about to flip to November, there has been a bit of separation in the Pac-12 football standings.
The top of each division is still cluttered, but there’s been a pretty clear line drawn between the favorites and those teams that have no chance to win the divisions.
In the North, Washington State, Stanford and Washington are all sitting with one loss and they’ll battle down the stretch. Oregon, Cal and Oregon State, meanwhile, each have four losses and no chance to win.
In the South, USC, Arizona and Arizona are all either 4-1or 3-1 in conference play. UCLA is 2-2 and maybe has an outside shot, but Utah (1-3) and Colorado (1-4) are clearly out of the running.
Heading into week No. 9, here’s a look at my updated Pac-12 rankings:
1. Washington (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12; last week: 2): The Huskies’ last game was a 13-7 loss to ASU, and they were off last week. But, they’ve been the top team most of the year.
2. Stanford (5-2, 3-1; last week: 3): The Cardinal are the hottest team in the conference, with four wins in a row.
3. Washington State (7-1, 4-1; last week: 4): The Cougars bounced back from their first loss by shutting out Colorado last week.
4. USC (6-2, 4-1; last week: 1): After a narrow, one-point win at home against Utah, the Trojans were drilled by Notre Dame, 49-14, in a non-conference game.
5. Arizona (5-2, 3-1; last week: 5): Outside of Stanford, no team in the conference has been hotter than Arizona, with three wins in a row.
6. Arizona State (4-3, 3-1; last week: 8): Suddenly, the Sun Devils have figured it out. They followed the win against Washington by thumping Utah, 30-10, on the road.
7. UCLA (4-3, 2-2; last week: 10): The Bruins have been up and down, but this week they’re up after a 31-14 win against Oregon.
8. Utah (4-3, 1-3; last week: 6): Last week’s loss to ASU was surprising, and it came after a 1-point loss to USC and a 3-point loss to Stanford.
9. California (4-4, 1-4; last week: 7): The Bears own the biggest upset in the conference this year, 37-3 against Washington State, but have still lost four of five.
10. Oregon (4-4, 1-4; last week: 9): The Ducks continue to struggle without starting quarterback Justin Herbert, losing three in a row – by a combined 113-31 – without him.
11. Colorado (4-4, 1-4; last week: 11): So far, the only conference win for the defending South champs came against Oregon State. They’re coming off their worst game of the year.
12. Oregon State (1-6, 0-4; last week: 12): Off last week, the Beavers are still seeking their first win against an FBS team.
Week 9 predictions
California at Colorado: Call me crazy, but I think the Buffs will be a lot better than they were last week in Pullman. In two Pac-12 road games, Bears have been outscored 83-31. Buffs bounce back. Prediction: Colorado
Stanford at Oregon State: If Bryce Love’s ankle is healed and he’s ready to go, this will be an easy one for the Cardinal. If Bryce Love can’t play, should be an easy one for the Cardinal. Prediction: Stanford
UCLA at Washington: The Huskies have had two weeks to think about their surprising loss to ASU. It’s a good bet they bounce back. Prediction: Washington
Utah at Oregon: Both teams have lost three in a row. I’ll give the nod to the home team, even if Herbert can’t play. Prediction: Oregon
Washington State at Arizona: One of the most intriguing matchups of the week. Arizona hasn’t been stopped since Khalil Tate became the starting QB, but Wazzu is the best defense the Wildcats have faced. This should be a fun one. Prediction: Arizona
USC at Arizona State: Another surprisingly intriguing matchup. ASU has been sizzling the past two weeks and USC hasn’t really looked that great all season. As good as the Sun Devils have looked, I’m not quite ready to fully buy in. Prediction: USC
Contact staff writer Brian Howell at email@example.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.