Pac-12 rankings: Oregon controls destiny atop conference

Week 11 offers the Pac-12 a chance to make a national statement, not just to the College Football Playoff selection committee, but to skeptical fans everywhere. The division favorites are clear at the moment, but anything can happen, given how muddled the league's middle class is.

1. Oregon (8-1, 5-1 in Pac-12)

Up next: at Utah, Saturday, Nov. 8
The skinny: The Ducks didn't just beat their recent nemesis Stanford, they ran away from them and dominated the scoreboard. Things don't get any easier with a tricky trip to face Utah up next, but the team is more than capable of running the table the rest of the way to find a spot in the top four of the College Football Playoff rankings.

2. Arizona State (7-1, 5-1)

Up next: vs. Notre Dame, Saturday, Nov. 8
The skinny: This week's contest won't matter when it comes to the South Division race, but it has national title implications with the Sun Devils having a chance at making the playoff if they win out. The defense has improved each week since Arizona State's loss, but it's the offense that could use a good outing against the Irish.

3. Arizona (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12)

Up next: vs. Colorado, Saturday, Nov. 8
The skinny: The Los Angeles schools have proved to be an issue for Rich Rodriguez as he attempts to win the South, the latest example being a tough loss to UCLA in which the offense never could get going. The team can get back on track against the Buffs but will need some help to make a run at the title.

4. Utah (6-2, 3-2)

Up next: vs. Oregon, Saturday, Nov. 8
The skinny: The Utes have proved to be giant-killers the last few years, but they'll really need to save the best for last with top-ranked Oregon coming to town. The defense has been solid, but the team has to find something out of its offense beyond running back Devontae Booker.

5. UCLA (7-2, 4-2)

Up next: at Washington, Saturday, Nov. 8
The skinny: The Bruins remain the most puzzling team in the league, with the talent to win it, but the on-field-performance to finish in the middle of the pack. Incorporating QB Brett Hundley into the run game more has been a big boost and the defense played well last week. Could it be the team is finally turning the corner?

6. USC (6-3, 5-2)

Up next: vs. California, Thursday, Nov. 13
The skinny: A bye week allows for the Trojans to get healthy before they gear up for a stretch run. A double-digit win season isn't out of the question, but neither is another seven-win campaign for Steve Sarkisian.

7. Washington (6-3, 2-3)

Up next: vs. UCLA, Saturday, Nov. 8
The skinny: Head coach Chris Petersen might have gotten the offensive spark he needed out of Shaq Thompson at running back, but he'll need big plays from both sides of the ball if they're to pull off the win against the Bruins.

8. Stanford (5-4, 3-3)

Up next: vs. Utah, Saturday, Nov. 15
The skinny: The Cardinal were finally beaten by North Division rival Oregon, but the team played slightly better than the scoreboard indicated. The offense remains a concern, however, as turnovers and the inability to finish drives have really held the team back.

9. California (5-4, 3-4)

Up next: at USC, Thursday, Nov. 13
The skinny: The Bears reversed their fortunes on the road after a three-game slide, and a bowl game might be a possibility for the team, needing just one win down the stretch.

Check out how Oregon's uniforms have evolved through the years.

10. Oregon State (4-4, 1-4)

Up next: vs. Washington State, Saturday, Nov. 8
The skinny: This isn't the season Mike Riley was expecting with Sean Mannion back under center, but at least Mannion became the Pac-12's all-time leading passer.

11. Colorado (2-7, 0-6)

Up next: at Arizona, Saturday, Nov. 8
The skinny: The Buffs might be winless, but they're improving and closing the gap with other Pac-12 programs every week. One of the most prolific offenses in the conference actually resides in Boulder.

12. Washington State (2-7, 1-5)

Up next: at Oregon State, Saturday, Nov. 8
The skinny: A season that has been unexpectedly bad got worse last week in losing quarterback Connor Halliday. Things might not get better this year, but the team can start building toward 2015.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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