Pac-12 power ratings: A sparse bowl lineup, but at least the teams let the players decide

The Pac-12 started last, never sniffed the playoff and doesn’t have a top-10 team. But it’s part of the 2020 college football postseason.
You just have to look carefully to find the evidence.
There are 56 teams participating in the bowl season. Two are from the Pac-12.
That total is the lowest in the Power Five, by far, and it’s tied with the Mid-American for the lowest participation in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
We’re not here to render judgment. Some teams aren’t healthy enough to play; others are simply exhausted.
The season was arduous, the cancellations were spirit-sapping, and several bowl games based inside the footprint went on hiatus.
The players were part of the decision-making process (thankfully) and, in many cases, were more interested in seeing their families for the first time in months than traveling thousands of miles for what was effectively a road game.
Three days in Shreveport doesn’t sound enticing right about now.
But the pandemic affected everyone, the facts are the facts, and these are the facts …
Number of bowl teams per conference:
SEC: 11
Conference USA: seven
ACC: six
American: six
Big 12: six
Big Ten: five
Sun Belt: five
Mountain West: three
MAC: two
Pac-12: two
So to Oregon and Colorado, we say: The pressure’s on.
To the power ratings …
1. USC (5-1)
Last week: 1
Result: Lost to Oregon 31-24
Next up: Season completed
Comment: Kept the Trojans in the top spot based on results over the full seven weeks. (The Ducks lost to OSU and Cal, which were a combined 3-8.) Also, we considered the difference in pre-championship prep: Oregon was off for two weeks, while USC was playing its third game in 13 days . All told, slight edge to USC … for now.
2. Oregon (4-2)
Last week: 5
Result: Won at USC 31-24
Next up: vs. Iowa State (Fiesta Bowl)
Comment: Terrific matchup for the Ducks in that ISU, while brilliantly coached by Matt Campbell, doesn’t have first-rate talent and is coming off a crushing loss to Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship.
3. Washington (3-1)
Last week: 3
Result: DNP
Next up: Season completed
Comment: The calendar didn’t work for one more game: Not enough time for the players in quarantine to follow the return-to-play protocols and be ready for a bowl.
4. Colorado (4-1/3-1)
Last week: 4
Result: DNP
Next up: vs. Texas (Alamo Bowl)
Comment: Win or lose, the location and opponent provide CU with terrific exposure in a key recruiting region. Texas is almost as important as California, and both are at least as important as Colorado (because of the limited number of in-state players).
5. Stanford (4-2)
Last week: 6
Result: Won at UCLA 48-47 (2OT)
Next up: Season completed
Comment: Stanford wasn’t the best team and didn’t have the most successful year, but it had the most impressive season. No team had to overcome more obstacles outside its control, yet the Cardinal went 3-1 in the division and was 3-0 as a nomad.
6. UCLA (3-4)
Last week: 2
Result: Lost to Stanford 48-47 (2OT)
Next up: Season completed
Comment: The Bruins were four turnovers (one each against CU, Oregon, USC and Stanford) away from 7-0. Of course, those mistakes, made consistently, are what separate the mediocre from the elite.
7. Arizona State (2-2)
Last week: 8
Result: Won at Oregon State 46-33
Next up: Season completed
Comment: With two wins and 116 points to end the season, the Sun Devils have loads of momentum headed into next year. Then again, we thought that last winter. And the winter before.
8. Utah (3-2)
Last week: 7
Result: Beat Washington State 45-28
Next up: Season completed
Comment: If we rated teams on current performance and not the full scope of the season, Utah would be near the top of this list. Maybe even at the top.
Related Articles

My AP top-25 basketball ballot: Gonzaga remains No. 1 as Iowa holds the second spot (despite losing)

Colorado AD Rick George responds to Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott: “We don’t need anybody’s empathy”

Our Pac-12 postseason award winners: Colorado’s Karl Dorrell is the clear choice for Coach of the Year

Stock report (bowl edition): ESPN mocks the Pac-12, Colorado draws Texas, the committee disses Cincinnati and more

My AP top-25 ballot: Alabama and Clemson on top, followed by Ohio State

9. Oregon State (2-4)
Last week: 9
Result: Lost to Arizona State 46-33
Next up: Season completed
Comment: Everything turned on the Oregon goal line — initially for the better, ultimately for the worse. The Beavers scaled the mountain, then tumbled down the other side.
10. Cal (1-3)
Last week: 10
Result: DNP
Next up: Season completed
Comment: What was it Churchill said? Oh, yes: Never in the history of playing college football in a pandemic have so few (positive tests) caused so much (disappointment) for so many (players).
11. Washington State (1-3)
Last week: 11
Result: DNP
Next up: Season completed
Comment: What conclusions can we draw from Nick Rolovich’s first season in Pullman? Absolutely none. And I’m not sure we’ll be in position to render judgment a year from now, either.
12. Arizona (0-5)
Last week: 12
Result: DNP
Next up: Season completed
Comment: The coaching search could wrap up today. San Jose State coach Brent Brennan and career assistant (mostly in the NFL) Jedd Fisch are believed to be the finalists. Seems like a clear choice, but that’s just us.

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