Sparky continues their surge, knocking off previously unbeaten UCLA. How did that affect those teams and the other members of the Conference of Champions when it comes to the Table of Questionable Worth? Let's find out.
Remember: If you don't like where you are, then you should probably get more people to vote. Or perhaps you should vote, that too.
Pac-12 Power Rankings after Week 6
Rank (Poll Pts.)
Team (First Place Votes)
Record (Conf. Record)
Change from Last Week
Oregon Ducks (7)
California Golden Bears
Arizona State Sun Devils
Washington State Cougars
Oregon State Beavers
Number of voters: 7
12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc.
And this week's Chart...
Welcome to the top half of the Table, Arizona State! They beat the Bruins 31-23 to take early control of the Pac-12 South race, and now their week 9 game at USC has a TON of significance for the division. A side beneficiary of the UCLA loss is Cal, who moves up another spot to third behind Washington and Oregon. A team who didn't benefit from this game (or from USC's victory over Stanford)? Washington State, who falls another couple of spots into another tie with Sparky. Harsh, yes, but it's not as bad as it looks - there's a grand total of 2 points separating the Cougs (and Sun Devils) from UCLA, and they're 7 away from USC.
Looking further down it seems the coaches have respect for the Beavers as they held steady - if barely- to their rank despite falling to the Huskies. Zona and the Buffs trade spots while on bye; perhaps Colorado missing recruiting had something to do with that?
This week's games: (* denotes non-conference)
California (3-1) at Michigan (4-1)* Arizona State (3-2, 2-0 conf.) at Washington State (3-1, 0-0) Stanford (1-3, 0-2) at Oregon (4-0, 1-0) Arizona (2-2, 0-1) at Washington (3-1, 2-0) Colorado (1-3, 0-2) at USC (4-1, 2-1)
Byes: Oregon State (3-2), UCLA (4-1), Utah (1-4)
The P12 Network's Pick to Click? California at Michigan. The Golden Bears travel to Ann Arbor to take on the Michigan Wolverines. This will be a big chance for @noodlz2's boys to show they can be sp00ky outside the Pac-12, and what better stage to do so than the Big House? Michigan has been a very balanced team offensively with running back Nick Rowland averaging about 120 yards on roughly 20 carries a game, and QB Evan Perkins averaging 221.6 passing yards although the TD/INT ratio isn't great (6/4). When Perkins does throw it's primarily to his big targets on the outside; junior Tyler Sterling (27 rec for 324 yards, 2 TDs) and true freshman Antonio Jackson (33 rec for 442 yards, 4 TDs) account for nearly 70% of Michigan's receiving yards. Cal needs DT Adam Gibson to play one of the best games of his career Saturday and against Miguel Prieto, the 2024 draft's best center prospect, that's a tall ask. But it's one he needs to answer to hurry Perkins' clock and prevent freshman corner Zachary Riggins from being exposed against Jackson.
On the other side of the ball, Cal wants to run, then run, then run some more. They have nearly as many rushing yards (685) as they do passing yards (758), but with Zachary McFadden and Naiquon Barner in the backfield it's hard to blame them. This could be a strength-on-strength matchup as @jmjacobs's defense is strongest up the spine with DTs Mason Ragland and Frank Cuadrado, ILB Luke Blankenship, and SS Paul Cline.
If anything will give Cal hope, it's that the Wolverines haven't really looked incredibly menacing this season and had some ugly looking games even in victory (13-10 at Rutgers, anyone?). With Michigan averaging 24.8 PPG and surrendering 21.8 PPG, this could be a game where things hang in the balance until the end. And a game where things could hang in the balance until late is the kind of game a team like Cal wants to play on the road.