With Stanford falling to Utah and Oregon beating Washington convincingly, it’s a no-brainer to call Oregon the best team in the Pac-12 after seven weeks. Here is how the rest of the Pac-12 fares in this week’s version of the power rankings:
1(1). Oregon (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12): If Oregon wasn’t No. 1 in your Pac-12 power rankings before, last Saturday should have finally convinced you to move them up. The No. 2 nationally ranked Ducks are the undisputed top team in the Pac-12 at the moment following Stanford’s loss to Utah, and Oregon finally showed the nation it can beat an elite team by defeating Washington 45-24. The Ducks’ other five games haven’t been close either, and they have yet to score under 45 points this season. Seriously, who does that?
2(3). UCLA (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12): The No. 9 Bruins have done everything right so far this season, so it’s hard to make an argument against UCLA being ranked over Stanford in the power rankings. Unlike the Cardinal, the Bruins actually came up with a win at Rice-Eccles Stadium in the Utes’ blackout game. Everyone talks about how much Oregon lights up the scoreboard, but UCLA isn’t too far away from the Ducks in that department. UCLA averages 45.8 points per game while also having the second-best scoring defense in the Pac-12, allowing just 18.2 points per game.
3(2). Stanford (5-1, 3-1 Pac-12): The No. 13 Cardinal fell victim to the first major Pac-12 upset last Saturday after losing 27-21 to Utah. Stanford’s season so far still looks great with wins over ASU and Washington early. It’s not over for the Cardinal’s championship hopes yet because, well, anything can happen in the Pac-12. Stanford doesn’t have a cupcake to take its loss out on, though, as the Cardinal hosts UCLA on Saturday.
4(3). Washington (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12): The No. 20 Huskies’ last two losses came to Stanford and Oregon, who are probably the two toughest teams anyone has faced in two weeks. That said, we won’t penalize them too much here. They still have the nation’s leading rusher in junior tailback Bishop Sankey and a talented quarterback in senior Keith Price and could give any defense headaches. Washington has a difficult road test coming up against ASU in Tempe, and a loss here could spell trouble for coach Steve Sarkisian’s team.
5(6). Utah (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12): It’s amazing how much one win can shake things up in the Pac-12. By defeating Stanford in Salt Lake City, Utah is suddenly a team everyone in the Pac-12 is now taking much more seriously. Nothing about the Utes’ team stats stands out, but coach Kyle Whittingham has given Utah the spirit to stand toe-to-toe against anyone in the conference. The Utes still must prove themselves on the road, though, as four of their final six games are away from Rice-Eccles Stadium.
6(5). ASU (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12): Even though the Sun Devils had a nice rebound from their tough four-game stretch, their 54-13 blowout against Colorado didn’t show much. It’s easy to hide defensive and special teams flaws when a team shows up against one of the worst offenses in the Pac-12. Let’s see if ASU deserves to move up in the power rankings when it hosts Washington on Saturday night.
7(9). Oregon State (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12): Remember when the Beavers fell to Eastern Washington in the first week of the season? It’s still a blemish on Oregon State’s season, but the team hasn’t looked back since. The Beavers are rolling on a five-game winning streak and are coming off a 52-24 blowout over Washington State. Oregon State is back to being the conference contender everyone thought it would be coming into the season, but the Beavers haven’t really played anyone worthy yet other than Utah on the road. Oregon State still has Stanford, ASU, Washington and Oregon waiting later in the schedule.
8. USC (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12): Maybe the rest of the season isn’t completely lost for USC in the wake of the Lane Kiffin firing. The Trojans gave interim coach Ed Orgeron his first win of the year in a close game over UA without star junior wide receiver Marqise Lee. The Trojans have a rivalry game against Notre Dame, a team that’s disappointed as well, so a win here could build USC’s momentum even more.
9(7). Washington State (4-3, 2-2 Pac-12)
The Cougars still have some fight in them, despite already dropping three games. They haven’t had any losses to terrible teams, as they fell to Auburn, Stanford and Oregon State, and still have a decent win over USC. Redshirt junior quarterback Connor Halliday is fourth in the conference in passing yards per game with 320.1, but he’s thrown 13 picks and must be more efficient for Washington State to turn losses into wins.
10(8). UA (3-2, 0-2 Pac-12)
The biggest sporting event in UA Athletics the past two weeks was the Red-Blue men’s basketball scrimmage last Saturday. After the Wildcats suffered two road losses on the gridiron to Washington and USC, who can really blame the folks in Tucson for getting excited about the hoops season this early?
11(11). Colorado (2-3, 0-3 Pac-12):
It didn’t take long for Colorado to return to its expected title of being one of the Pac-12’s whipping boys. The Buffaloes got the short straw of blowouts in their last three games to Oregon State, Oregon and ASU. Colorado is showing some small and noticeable improvements under coach Mike MacIntyre, but The Pac-12 is simply too talented for Colorado to translate those to victories.
12(12). California (1-5, 0-3 Pac-12)
After five games, the Golden Bears have only had one close game, and it’s not something of which they should be proud. Cal nearly botched its 37-30 win over FCS foe Portland State in the second week of the season. Other than the game against Colorado on Nov. 16, it doesn’t look like the Golden Bears will win another game for the rest of the season. At least freshman Jared Goff is already near the top of the nation’s passing statistics, throwing for the fourth-most passing yards in the FBS.
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