Pac-12 power rankings: Can Utah lock up playoff berth vs. Oregon?

Tyler Huntley, Utah Utes. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
Tyler Huntley, Utah Utes. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images) /

With the regular season in the rearview mirror, the Pac-12 title will be decided between the Utah Utes and the Oregon Ducks this Saturday.

The regular season in the Pac-12 has come to a close, and we finally have our matchup set for the Pac-12 Championship Game. The Oregon Ducks are the champions of the Pac-12 North and will do battle against the Pac-12 South winner, Utah, who still has their College Football Playoff hopes intact.

Here are our final regular-season power rankings for the 2019 season in the Pac-12.

Utes . 1. team. 843. . (11-1). Previous: 1st

The only team remaining in the Pac-12 with any chance of making it to the College Football Playoff are the Utah Utes, who have finished the regular season with an 11-1 record. The Utes have been led by quarterback Tyler Huntley and running back Zack Moss, two players who are some of the best at their respective positions in the conference. This past weekend, they throttled the Colorado Buffaloes 45-15 and will head into the Pac-12 title game as the favorites over the Oregon Ducks.

. (10-2). Previous: 2nd. Ducks . 2. team. 820

The Oregon Ducks are the champions of the Pac-12 North, and on Saturday, they took care of business in the Civil War game against the Oregon State Beavers. Quarterback Justin Herbert finished off his Pac-12 regular-season career with a pedestrian game, but in the end, he has put the Ducks in position to win the conference title. They may have lost their chance at a College Football Playoff bid last week against Arizona State, but they still have a lot left to play for.

Trojans . 3. team. 808. . (8-4). Previous: 3rd

In what has been quite a roller-coaster season, the USC Trojans actually had an opportunity to represent the South Division in the Pac-12 title game heading into this past weekend. Unfortunately for them, the Utah Utes took care of business against Colorado, sending the Trojans to second place in the division. Quarterback Kedon Slovis has been outstanding this season, leading the Trojans to eight wins, including a 7-2 record within the conference.

818. . (7-5). Previous: 5th. Huskies . 4. team

The Washington Huskies played the Washington State Cougars in the Apple Cup on Friday night and came away with the program’s seventh straight win in the rivalry game. For quarterback Jacob Eason, his stint as the Huskies quarterback may come to an end after one season, as he is eligible for the 2020 NFL Draft, and is slated to be an early-round pick. On Friday, the Huskies were led by their defense, as they shut down the high-powered Cougars offense thanks to five sacks, including two from Joe Tryon.

Sun Devils . 5. team. 854. . (7-5). Previous: 7th

The Arizona State Sun Devils beat the Arizona Wildcats in their rivalry game on Saturday 24-14, thanks to another strong game by running back Eno Benjamin. The sophomore tailback rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns against the Wildcats, as he continues to gain steam as the season comes to a close. Benjamin will once again be a top running back in college football next season, and based on what we saw from Freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels this season, the Sun Devils are in good hands moving forward.

Two weeks ago, the California Golden Bears were staring down two straight road games, needing to win at least one to clinch a bowl game. Instead of winning only one, the Golden Bears won both, thanks to strong play from Chase Garbers, who has been the difference all season long. On Saturday, Cal was led by not only Garbers, who threw and ran for a score but also running back Christopher Brown Jr., who notched over 110 yards and two touchdowns in the 28-18 victory over UCLA.

7. team. 832. . (5-7). Previous: 4th. Beavers

The Oregon State Beavers were much better than advertised this season, winning five games, including four within the conference. In a surprising move this past weekend, the Beavers decided to sit injured quarterback Jake Luton with a bowl game on the line, instead going with Tristan Gebbia under center. The Beavers would end up losing to the Oregon Ducks in the Civil War game 24-10, though they did get a good game out of running back Jermar Jefferson, who rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown.

846. . (6-6). Previous: 6th. Cougars . 8. team

For the seventh straight season, the Washington State Cougars lost to the Washington Huskies in the Apple Cup, thanks to the Huskies holding the Cougars high-powered offense in check. While the Cougars lost the game, they saw quarterback Anthony Gordon go over 5,000 yards passing for the season, though he failed to find the end zone for the first time in 2019. Still, it was a wonderful season for the freshman signal-caller, who led the Cougars to six wins, and will now wait and see who they play in the bowl game.

9. team. 836. . (4-8). Previous: 8th. Bruins

The UCLA Bruins were another team that had an up and down season, though, at one time, they actually controlled their own destiny in the Pac-12 South Division. However, after a three-game winning streak, the Bruins lost three straight to cap their season, though pieces are in place for this program to turn the corner. Chip Kelly finally has talent on offense, including quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and running back Joshua Kelley, so the expectation is the Bruins will take a step forward in 2020.

(5-7). Previous: 11th. Buffaloes . 10. team. 857.

The Colorado Buffaloes had a terrible finish to the 2019 college football season, losing six of their last eight games, and finishing out of bowl eligibility. Colorado made the move to Mel Tucker Jr. at head coach this season, and the early returns were solid, but the team fell flat late, thanks to some inconsistent play by quarterback Steven Montez. Star wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. battled injuries all season long, but showed great playmaking ability, and should find himself selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft next April.

team. 871. . (4-8). Previous: 10th. Cardinal . 11

The Stanford Cardinal had a tall task at home this past weekend, as they welcomed in the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Unfortunately for Cardinal fans, this has not been Stanford’s year, as they have battled injuries and inconsistent play throughout. Saturday, Stanford kept it close early, going into the half down 21-17, but they managed to muster only seven points the rest of the way, and as a program, they have a lot of question marks heading into 2020.

12. team. 835. . (4-8). Previous: 12th. Wildcats

The Arizona Wildcats started their 2019 season with a 4-1 record and then proceeded to lose their last seven games, finishing up with a 4-8 mark, and outside of bowl eligibility. Khalil Tate went into the season as a potential Heisman Trophy candidate but played wildly inconsistent football, which hurt the team’s chances of making a run in the conference. Moving forward, the Wildcats will lean on quarterback Grant Gunnell to get the program headed in the right direction, and there is nowhere to go but up from here.

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