Pac-12 QB Power Rankings entering Week 3: Time to re-open some QB battles?
Most of the movement this week is coming in the back-end of the power rankings. At the top of the Pac-12 conference, the quarterback play is just superb. No notes. The stars are playing like stars.
Here’s Saturday Out West’s Pac-12 quarterback power rankings entering Week 3. These will be updated weekly throughout the season.
12. Jaden Rashada, Arizona State
Last week: 10
The freshman connected on 16 of his 29 passes for 167 yards, one score, and one interception against Oklahoma State. He was sacked three times behind a patchwork offensive line, and he enters Week 3 against Fresno State without his starting right tackle or his top tight end. To add insult to injury, former Notre Dame quarterback Drew Pyne is getting back to full strength and could challenge Rashada for the job if the poor performances continue. Kenny Dillingham wants to win. Rashada currently has the lowest QBR (28.6) of the qualified Pac-12 quarterbacks.
11. Ashton Daniels/Justin Lamson, Stanford
Last week: 11
Daniels looked promising against Hawaii. The USC contest wasn’t even remotely close to the same vibe. Daniels completed just two of his seven passes for 19 yards and an interception before an injury forced him out of the game. Justin Lamson replaced him and didn’t do much. Daniels won the job out of camp, but this could be another spot where continued poor showings reignite a thought-to-be-settled quarterback battle.
10. Sam Jackson V/Ben Finley, Cal
Last week: 9
Jackson was injured against North Texas. He was back on the field against Auburn, but things just looked off. Jackson completed 14 of his 27 passes for 126 yards and two interceptions. Cal lost by four and it went 1-for-4 in the red zone. The final nail in the coffin was a fourth-down interception from Jackson at the Auburn 18 with 1:44 to play. Auburn ran the clock out for a 14-10 win.
9. Jayden de Laura, Arizona
Last week: 8
I’m repeating myself a bit here, but the issue with de Laura remains the same. He’s entirely too loose with the football and hasn’t yet figured out how to take what is being given to him. On the road against Mississippi State — a game Arizona lost in overtime by seven points — de Laura threw four interceptions. Three of those came on his first eight passes. The talent here is undeniable; de Laura has a big arm and the ability to extend plays. But the decision-making holds him — and Arizona — back.
8. Dante Moore/Ethan Garbers
Last week: 12
After Garbers started the Week 1 battle with Coastal Carolina, Moore started Week 2 and his play kept Garbers on the bench for the entirety of the game. Moore completed 63% of his throws for 290 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. Two appearances now, two 80-plus QBR grades. The freshman doesn’t look like a freshman with some of the throws he makes. So long as Moore is running the show, UCLA is in good hands.
7. Cameron Rising/Bryson Barnes/Nate Johnson, Utah
Last week: 7
Utah is 2-0 without Rising. That’s a big development. Weber State in Week 3 provides a potential tune-up for Rising if he’s ready, but he’s also not necessary for a win. Barnes got seven quarters to work as the primary guy in Rising’s absence, and it looked like Utah’s coaching staff decided that was enough. The pass game just isn’t producing much right now — Utah is 10th in the Pac-12 in yards per pass, 6.5 — and Johnson will get the opportunity to fix that in Week 3.
6. Cameron Ward, Washington State
Last week: 6
So far this year, Ward is completing 70% of his throws. He’s averaging 8.2 yards per pass. He has five passing touchdowns, one rushing score, and no interceptions. Washington State hasn’t solved its protection issues, but Ward is playing strong football in spite of that.
5. DJ Uiagalelei, Oregon State
Last week: 5
Who leads the Pac-12 in QBR after Week 2? It’s not Caleb Williams. Uiagalelei (92.4) sits just behind Michigan’s JJ McCarthy (95.3) on the national leaderboard. (Clemson’s guy is 114th nationally.) The Tiger transfer has been exactly what Oregon State hoped for through two weeks. The Beavers haven’t been tested at all, and that caveat is important, but Uiagalelei can only play who’s in front of him each week. So far, he has a 74% completion rate, five touchdowns, no turnovers, and a 9.1 yards-per-pass clip.
4. Bo Nix, Oregon
Last week: 3
Nix completed 32 of his 44 passes for 359 yards, two touchdowns, and no picks on the road last week. It looked great on the box score, but he wasn’t the surgical passer he was in Week 1. Yes, yes, the quality of the talent was different, but that doesn’t entirely explain away things. And he got bailed out in the endzone on a poor decision. Back at home against Hawaii, I expect Nix to have a big day.
3. Shedeur Sanders, Colorado
Last week: 4
Sanders has been exceptional for Colorado. No interceptions, and Pro Football Focus has only charted two turnover-worthy throws in his 89 attempts. He’s second nationally in passing yardage, trailing Brayden Schager by 69 yards despite playing one less game. He’s also top-15 in yards per pass (10.1). Jumping from Jackson State to the Power Five level, it was fair to ask how Sanders’ game would translate. So far, he has had no issues. Processing, play-making, it has all been strong. Sanders leads all FBS quarterbacks in expected points added (22.2)
2. Michael Penix Jr., Washington
Last week: 2
Penix has a 91.7 QBR after two weeks, he has eight passing touchdowns, a 73% completion rate, and is averaging 11.1 yards a pass. The numbers would be even bigger if not for some uncharacteristic drops from his top two receivers in Week 2.
1. Caleb Williams, USC
Last week: 1
I mentioned Uiagalelei having a better QBR than Williams. While factual, the difference is by a third of a point. Williams’ 92.1 QBR after three games ranks third nationally. He’s second in EPA. He has the Trojans sitting at 3-0 at the bye week after throwing 12 touchdowns without an interception.