Caleb Williams sticks at No. 3 in this week’s power rankings. He sits behind only Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix — two players who should be in New York as Heisman Trophy finalists. Williams, despite producing a ridiculous amount of touchdowns, is on the outside looking in on the Heisman discussion.

He’s also on the outside looking in on the College Football Playoff conversation. Again.

A question that doesn’t much matter but I’ve nevertheless been pondering of late: If Williams had a ring on his finger instead of a Heisman Trophy on his mantel, would he be viewed as one of the best quarterbacks in college football history?

Williams is likely to go No. 1 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft. He’s not likely to repeat as the Heisman winner. Barring something unforeseen in Eugene, Oregon, this weekend, he’s not likely to play for a Pac-12 title either. If things had gone different, if Lincoln Riley had treated the defense with more care and looked to maximize what he had in Williams, would this have been one of the greatest quarterback careers in modern college football history?

I don’t know if I have an answer to that question. But I do think it’s a fair question. And I thought about that when I saw Williams overcome with emotion on the sideline following a 52-42 loss to Washington last weekend.

Enough rambling. Onto the rankings.

Here’s Saturday Out West’s Pac-12 quarterback power rankings entering Week 11. These will be updated weekly throughout the season.

12. Trenton Bourguet, Arizona State

Last week: 11

Trenton Bourguet got knocked out of Arizona State’s 55-3 loss to Utah on the opening drive. He tried to return, but looked to be in noticeable pain and ASU rolled with Jacob Conover the rest of the game. The ASU offense totaled 83 yards in the game. We will mercifully move on without adding anything else.

11. Ashton Daniels, Stanford

Last week: 9

Stanford beat Washington State, 10-7, and any win at this point is a good win for Stanford. Daniels did not play particularly well, however. He had just 115 passing yards on 31 attempts. He turned it over at the end of the third quarter, though the interception proved harmless when Wazzu missed a field goal.

10. Ethan Garbers, UCLA

Last week: 10

Garbers got hurt, and Dante Moore got hurt, and Collin Schlee missed on all five of his passes. UCLA had a dreadful offensive showing against Arizona in the 27-10 loss. Garbers completed just 13 of his 21 passes for 143 yards before exiting. UCLA had a pair of three-and-outs and missed field goals on its first four drives. Then it had another three-and-out and two turnovers on downs on its final three drives.

9. Cameron Ward, Washington State

Last week: 7

Ward completed 24 of his 40 passes for 241 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Again, there’s just no help here, but seven points at home against a disappointing Stanford defense is very, very bad.

8. Fernando Mendoza, Cal

Last week: 8

Mendoza completed 53% of his passes for 177 yards and a pick. The real issue was in the first quarter, when Oregon graciously tried to give Cal a headstart and Cal, ever the respectful visitor, declined to take it. Oregon threw an interception on the first play of the game. That ensuing Cal possession ended with a pick. The next possession went three-and-out. The next ended with a fumble. Cal got two lengthy drives that sputtered and settled for field goals, then two more three-and-outs before settling into the halftime break down 35-13. Expectations for Mendoza in such a hostile spot were low. Cal didn’t really have a chance after it squandered the opening frame.

7. Bryson Barnes, Utah

Last week: 12

Barnes didn’t need to do much in Utah’s 55-3 drubbing of ASU, but what he did do was encouraging. Offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig opened up the playbook and gave Barnes an opportunity to build some rhythm after the Oregon disaster a week prior. Barnes got 352 yards from his ground game and finally got some receivers to step up on the outside and make plays. The mixture was a good one, and Barnes finished the day with four touchdown passes and no turnovers.

6. DJ Uiagalelei, Oregon State

Last week: 6

Uiagalelei had 239 yards of offense and two touchdowns. He did not turn the football over and Oregon State won 26-19. The game wasn’t as close as the final score would indicate, and Oregon State dominated through the first three quarters.

5. Shedeur Sanders, Colorado

Last week: 5

Say what you will about the flash and the watch and the jewelry. Sanders deserves respect. His offensive line is atrocious. His run game is nonexistent. Every person in the stadium on gameday knows Colorado’s only chance of securing a win is if Sanders goes out and drags the Buffs to one. He is hurt and he keeps playing. He keeps getting hit, and he keeps striking the right tone in the postgame pressers. He threw for 245 yards and two touchdowns — both of them late in the fourth quarter. The production came mostly in garbage time, and the first three quarters were disgusting from the offense, but Sanders is the only good thing left of that unit.

4. Noah Fifita, Arizona

Last week: 4

Fifita had the best QBR of any quarterback in the Pac-12 last week. His total QBR for the season currently sits as the fourth-best in the Pac-12. Fifita threw for 300 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception while completing 78% of his passes. Arizona won its third straight against a ranked opponent — all games in which Fifita has looked like a blossoming star.

3. Caleb Williams, USC

Last week: 3

Caleb Williams has become a player people want to see fail, and that makes me sad. Maybe that’s because he plays for USC, a team people like to root against. Maybe it’s because he plays for Lincoln Riley, a coach people can’t seem to stand. Maybe it’s because of the painted nails. Maybe it’s the Wendy’s commercials. Williams won a Heisman Trophy, is the presumptive No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, and has been one of the best players in college football from the moment he stepped on a field; he will have played three years in college without sniffing the College Football Playoff. After enduring a third loss in a game where he put 40 points on the scoreboard, Williams was emotionally vulnerable on the field with his family. I’d be emotional too if I was doing my job at the level Williams is and still consistently coming up short. He scored four touchdowns, completed 77% of his passes, threw for 312 yards, and lost. He leads the country in touchdown passes (28), leads the Pac-12 in touchdown runs (10), and ranks second in yardage. And yet he’s completely out of the Heisman discussion. He had a costly fumble, sure, but Williams’ margin for error is basically zero right now. Riley has let him down in that regard.

2. Michael Penix Jr., Washington

Last week: 2

Penix threw a third-quarter interception that led to a game-tying touchdown drive for USC. He was otherwise clean. Washington’s leading man threw for 256 yards and two touchdowns while completing 73% of his passes. But get this: Washington ran 27 plays after Penix’s third-quarter pick, only six of them were pass plays.

1. Bo Nix, Oregon

Last week: 1

Nix completed 29 of his 38 passes. He threw for 386 yards. He scored six total touchdowns. Yes, he threw an interception, but it wasn’t a mistake on his part — the ball simply bounced off a receiver’s hands in the rain. Nix was otherwise flawless as the Ducks put a sloppy first quarter aside and destroyed Cal. Nix leads the Pac-12 in QBR and ranks fifth nationally in EPA this season. He leads the country in completion rate and is the only quarterback in college football with at least 300 passes and fewer than three interceptions. There is simply no reason for Nix to not end up at the Heisman Ceremony in New York.