Washington State and USC continue red-hot winning streaks, while Washington fell from the ranks of the unbeatens.

Share story

It’s not how you start, but how you finish.

Just ask Washington State and USC.

The Cougars and Trojans were a combined 3-5 after Week 4 and pretty much everyone wrote them off.

External pressure seemed to mount on WSU coach Mike Leach who had gotten off to a shaky start for the second straight year and spent equal time fiercely defending a few players facing legal issues and chastising the Cougars who he compared to a JV softball team.

Meanwhile, USC’s first-year coach Clay HeltonĀ also had to deal with off-the-field issues, disciplinary concerns and his job security was in doubt following a 1-3 start.

Funny how winning changes the conversation and perceptions.

With two weeks left in the regular season, the Cougars and Trojans are two of the hottest teams in the country. Their winning streaks (8 for WSU and 6 for USC) is reflective of their No. 1 and 2 positions respectively in the Times’ Pac-12 Power Rankings.

Washington, which lost its first game last Saturday, tumbled to third after holding the top spot for the past six weeks.

Here is a look at our Week 12 rankings: