Pac-12 Power Rankings entering Week 7
The updated Pac-12 Power Rankings for the week once again feature change at the top. And once again the No. 1 spot changes hands.
Let’s dive in.
12. Colorado Buffaloes
The Buffs were on a bye week this week, so this section is too.
11. Stanford Cardinal
Prev. rank: 11
Somehow the Cardinal managed to lose a game they led 24-10 going into the fourth quarter against a team on its backup quarterback. Stanford needed one first down on third-and-4 from the Oregon State 24 to ice the game and attempted to pick it up with freshman quarterback Ashton Daniels. They settled for a field goal that left the door open for Oregon State, which scored the game-winning touchdown three plays later. Stanford is 1-4 on the season and 0-4 against the Pac-12. Might we get No. 3 in the Pac-12 soon?
10. Arizona Wildcats
Prev. rank: 7
I want to believe so badly in this Wildcats team. But they’re just so maddeningly inconsistent. Against an offense as potent as Oregon’s, you can’t turn the football over inside the 10-yard-line on your opening possession. Arizona got to the red zone five times against the Ducks, scored one touchdown, and turned it over twice. On top of that, the run defense turned in a poor performance for the third time in four weeks. Arizona couldn’t control the line of scrimmage.
9. Cal Golden Bears
Prev. rank: 9
The Bears were on a bye week this week, so this section is too.
8. Oregon State Beavers
Prev. rank: 8
Oregon State absolutely saved its season with a 56-yard touchdown pass from Ben Gulbranson to Tre’Shaun Harrison with 13 seconds left against Stanford. The Beavers had their own little Minneapolis Miracle moment and it was all that stood between three straight losses. It’ll be really important to follow this game up with another step in the right direction for the Beavers, who finally have some momentum again after back-to-back deflating losses.
7. Arizona State Sun Devils
Prev. rank: 10
We’re starting to see some stuff from ASU under interim coach Shaun Aguano. The Sun Devils rallied behind a backup quarterback after starter Emory Jones was knocked out of the game midway through the second quarter. They had almost 400 yards of offense and did something no other team had done yet this season — kept Washington from throwing a touchdown.
6. Washington Huskies
Prev. rank: 5
Washington was No. 1 in these rankings two weeks ago. I’m still a believer in coach Kalen DeBoer. I’m not out on the Huskies. They are just being decimated by injuries right now, particularly in the secondary. Safety Asa Turner returns from a multi-game absence and gets tossed for targeting in the first half. The Huskies will be happy to get off the road this upcoming week. They return home to face Arizona, trying to get right after a two-game road trip that went as poorly as it possibly could.
5. Washington State Cougars
Prev. rank: 6
I think this is where I’ve settled with Washington State. Good team, not a great team. The Cougars gave USC a game. Jaylen Jenkins ran well right up the gut. Wazzu averaged 7 yards a carry (adjusted for sacks). Cameron Ward didn’t turn the ball over. But the Trojans sacked him five times.
4. Utah Utes
Prev. rank: 3
I’m not out, but I’m keeping an eye on the door. Southern Utah and San Diego State told us nothing. Arizona State was in its first game post-Herm Edwards, so wildly erratic. The Oregon State game was broken from the start. Utah has played two decent-to-good Power Five teams. Both ran the Utes over. The Utah defensive line is an issue and it’s a little weird to think about that reality. Florida ran for 283 yards at 7 yards a carry. UCLA ran for 215 (adjusted for sacks) at 6 a carry. Zach Charbonnet had a career-high 198 yards. The Utah defense can’t stop competent offenses right now, and USC comes to town next weekend.
3. USC Trojans
Prev. rank: 1
It’s not so much that USC did anything to justify a drop, it’s that the two teams that jumped them are just so hot right now. USC’s latest win came courtesy of paper cuts. The pass game never really popped — only four explosives — but Travis Dye kept hammering in the ground game. He had his best rushing performance of the season. USC trailed 14-10 early in the second quarter and outscored Washington State 20-0 the rest of the way. The Trojans are showing the ability to win a number of different kinds of games.
2. Oregon Ducks
Prev. rank: 2
Oregon cleared 40 points for the fifth straight game. It’s the first time they’ve had five straight with at least 40 points since 2014. That season went pretty well for Oregon. And it’s time to start talking about this team in the same light. Bo Nix is playing like a legitimate Player of the Year candidate. Since the season-opening loss to Georgia, he has been on a completely different level. He’s third in the Pac-12 in total offense per game and leads all quarterbacks with 20 total touchdowns produced. Oregon had been very poor in the red zone entering Saturday’s game against Arizona, and it held a Wildcats team with maybe the second-best collection of wideouts in the league to just a single touchdown in five red zone trips. Dan Lanning is asserting himself as one of the most promising young head coaches in the game.
1. UCLA Bruins
Prev. rank: 4
I get a lot of things wrong. I feel like I’ve been dead on the money with UCLA. Dorian Thompson-Robinson is a machine right now, currently sixth nationally in Total QBR. The Bruins have a top-15 rushing offense by efficiency. They’re getting splash plays from the defense — including turnovers at really crucial junctures. They have the two best wins of anyone in the Pac-12, and now they get a bye week to prepare for the Chip Kelly Bowl in Eugene.