The 2022 Pac-12 football season came to a close on Monday with a bit of a thud. USC imploded in the Cotton Bowl and Utah lost at the Rose Bowl for a second consecutive season. But the league boasts five 10-win teams for the first time since 2013 and had multiple teams in the discussion for the College Football Playoff at various points throughout the season.

And with the season coming to a close, it’s time to wrap up the Power Ranking. Here’s the final edition for the 2022 season. Several teams closed on high notes. A couple will take major questions into the offseason. Let’s get to it.

12. Colorado Buffaloes

Record: 1-11, 1-8 Pac-12

One win all season and it was against Cal in overtime on Oct. 15. Colorado is going to do big things with Deion Sanders running the show, and if a one-win season was the necessary vehicle to deliver Prime Time to Boulder, I imagine Buff fans will say “it was worth it” in a few seasons. That still doesn’t take away from how painful it was to watch this team. Seventh-worst offensive efficiency in the country, second-worst defensive efficiency, non-existent run defense, and a revolving door at quarterback; it was a rough year.

11. Stanford Cardinal

Record: 3-9, 1-8 Pac-12

A 16-14 win over Notre Dame in South Bend will go down as one of the stranger results of the season. Stanford was outgained on a per-play basis and didn’t find the endzone at any point over the game’s final 55 minutes. That game also kicked off a stretch of 10 consecutive quarters in which Stanford’s offense failed to produce a touchdown. The 2022 campaign was the third straight full season that Stanford’s offense produced fewer than 22 points a game and the fourth straight year that Stanford’s defense gave up at least 30 points a game. David Shaw made the right decision.

10. California Golden Bears

Record: 4-8, 2-7 Pac-12

Stanford saved the Golden Bears from eight straight losses to close out the 2022 campaign. After starting 3-1, Cal lost seven of eight. The offense put up 49 points on Arizona and then completely fell apart. This offseason, Justin Wilcox needs to retool the offense once again. New coordinator Jake Spavital will have to find a new quarterback after 2022 starter Jack Plummer transferred to Lousiville and backup Kai Millner put his name in the transfer portal. Maybe Millner comes back. Regardless, Cal has lots of work to do to fix an offense that hasn’t quite clicked in years.

9. Arizona State Sun Devils

Record: 3-9, 2-7 Pac-12

A 38-35 loss to Arizona in the Territorial Cup closed out a tumultuous and grating season. The Sun Devils hired Kenny Dillingham as the next head coach after a tremendous season as Oregon’s offensive coordinator, but what happens on the other side of the ball will be just as important. Arizona State ranked 123rd nationally in defensive success rate. They couldn’t stop anyone. ASU gave up 30 a game for the first time since 2017.

8. Arizona Wildcats

Record: 5-7, 3-6 Pac-12

Another team that couldn’t stop anyone… Arizona didn’t have the offensive issues its in-state foil had, but it was entirely too turnstile-like on defense. The Wildcats gave up 40 points five times — all of which came during a stretch of six games — and at least 30 points eight times. While there were red flags, the UA did what it needed to this season. Coach Jedd Fisch provided proof of concept, taking the Wildcats from one win to five wins. Arizona beat UCLA in a Westwood stunner, then followed it up two weeks later with a Territorial Cup win over Arizona State.

7. Washington State Cougars

Record: 7-6, 4-5 Pac-12

Jake Dickert gets points for steering the Cougars to back-to-back bowl appearances after taking the reigns from Nick Rolovich. Given the contentious nature of that split, things could have gone sideways in a major way. During the regular season, Washington State’s defense showed massive potential. But the offense was a mess. Cam Ward and Nakia Watson are studs, but the offensive line couldn’t protect Ward with any degree of consistency and that put the whole operation in stress. Dickert has to replace both of his coordinators this offseason and figure out how to close the gap between them and the top of the league. Because there’s a distinct middle tier here that exclusively belongs to Wazzu.

6. UCLA Bruins

Record: 9-4, 6-3 Pac-12

UCLA opened 6-0. Oregon took it to task in Eugene and things just started to unravel. UCLA needed 50 to outlast Arizona State. Arizona stunned the Bruins in Westwood a week before the USC game, and then USC dropped 48 on a reeling defense. Cal nearly beat UCLA to close out the regular season. And then Pitt gained 46 yards in 30 seconds to set up a game-winning field goal to take down UCLA in the Sun Bowl. Dante Moore is set to arrive soon, and he’ll have major shoes to fill with the departure of Dorian Thompson-Robinson. But the defense is where the focus needs to be.

5. USC Trojans

Record: 11-3, 8-1 Pac-12

Maybe this seems too low for a team that only lost once in the regular season. And I’ll admit, I thought early on the Trojans would be able to overcome the defense with how potent its offense was. But the depths to which the defense slipped were unexpected. Since the Oct. 15 loss to Utah, the Trojans gave up 35 points or more six times in eight games. They missed 144 tackles on the season, including 37 over the last two games (per PFF). USC’s defense got worse as the season went on, and it stained a historic campaign for Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Caleb Williams. USC avoided Oregon and Washington; had it played either, the Trojan defense would have been shredded. USC got Oregon State early in the season before the quarterback change, too. USC bills itself as a national title contender. There’s a lot of work to do to get there.

4. Oregon Ducks

Record: 10-3, 7-2 Pac-12

On one hand, the Oregon Ducks ripped off eight straight wins after a disappointing showing in Atlanta, Georgia. No matter what anyone tells you, Bo Nix was a legitimate threat to make it to the Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York City as the Ducks were ripping through their schedule. The Ducks were looking like a College Football Playoff team because of their offense. On the other hand, Oregon lost to Washington and Oregon State in the same season and those two games prevented coach Dan Lanning and Co. from playing for a Pac-12 title in Year 1. The defense wasn’t what anyone expected to see from a Lanning-coached team. The Ducks pulled off a stunning 28-27 comeback win in the Holiday Bowl to end the season on a high note, though. With Bo Nix coming back in 2023, the Ducks should be a preseason top-10 team but there’s still work to be done here.

3. Oregon State Beavers

Record: 10-3, 6-3 Pac-12

The Beavers have only had three 10-win seasons in program history. Jonathan Smith has this team in an incredible spot headed into 2023. The Beavs beat Boise State and Fresno State in the nonconference, two teams that each won double-digit games themselves. Oregon State nearly toppled USC at home back in September. After the Utah debacle, Oregon State only lost once over its final eight games — a three-point defeat at Washington that came in the final minute. The Beavers handled Wazzu, Colorado, and Cal, then demoralized Oregon with the ground game in a rivalry comeback for the ages, and then beat the tar out of Florida in the Las Vegas Bowl. This is a program built on defense and running the football. The missing piece seemed like QB. And Smith seems to have answered that now, too.

2. Washington Huskies

Record: 11-2, 7-2 Pac-12

The best team no one talked about. UW lost one-score games to UCLA and Arizona State on the road early in the season and the national audience sort of just tuned out. Washington beat Oregon State and Oregon in back-to-back weeks. It won the Apple Cup in emphatic fashion, proving the state belongs to Kalen DeBoer for the foreseeable future. All you need to know about how folks viewed UW is that the Huskies were an underdog going into the bowl matchup with Texas. Of course, Washington won that game 27-20 to deliver only the fifth 11-win season in program history. DeBoer has won literally everywhere he’s been. This team isn’t going anywhere so long as he’s on the sideline.

1. Utah Utes

Record: 10-4, 7-2 Pac-12

Yes, Utah lost the Rose Bowl. And, yes, Oregon beat the Utes in Eugene in November. But Kyle Whittingham’s group has now won consecutive Pac-12 championships and that’s worth something. This is the premier team in the Pac-12 until someone else proves otherwise on the biggest stage. Utah challenged itself in the nonconference, beat USC twice, and beat Wazzu in Pullman on a Thursday night without Cam Rising. Essential pieces of the team were in and out of the lineup all year and Utah just kept plugging along. The top of this league is close. Very close. But I’m giving the top spot here in the final Power Ranking to the champs.