As a week hiatus, these meaningless Pac-12 power rankings are back. Since those last rankings, Colorado has lost to Arizona and Oregon, Washington somehow lost to Stanford, and Oregon has separated themselves from the rest of the conference.
12. UCLA Bruins (1-5 overall, 1-2 in Pac-12)
11. Oregon State Beavers (2-4, 1-2)
LW: L vs. Utah, 52-7
The bottom of these rankings are fairly simple to work out, thanks to Oregon State beating UCLA, 48-31, last weekend. The Beavs were blown out by Utah over the weekend, but they made it clear that UCLA is far and away the worst team in the Pac-12. Shoutout to Isaiah Hodgins as he has 51 catches for 709 yards, which are second and fourth best in the nation, respectively.
10. Colorado Buffaloes (3-3, 1-2)
LW: L at Oregon, 45-3
I warned that of the Pac-12 large middle class, the Buffs were most likely to fall to the bottom. They’re not in the basement — there’s a long gap between OSU and CU — but the Buffs badly need to get back on track. That home loss to Arizona was one they had to get. Their loss to Oregon was expected, but the way they showed up was troubling. The Buffs are underdogs against Washington State, but they will have to prove to themselves and their fans that this season is salvageable.
9. Washington State Cougars (3-3, 0-3)
LW: L at Arizona State, 38-34
Washington State has dropped their last three to UCLA, Utah and Arizona State. The Cougs lost to UCLA via wild collapse that may have been the most improbable comeback win ever. Their loss to Utah was a good ole fashioned blowout in which they were outgained by 200 yards. Their loss to ASU was a better effort, but it’s clear the Wazzu defense can’t stop anybody right now. Whoever wins CU-Wazzu on Saturday will have a win to right the ship, but it could be a wild high-scoring game.
8. Arizona Wildcats
LW: L vs. Washington, 51-27
7. Stanford Cardinal
Arizona beat CU on the road with a healthy Khalil Tate, then they challenged Washington with J.J. Taylor back in the fold. Stanford, meanwhile, barely beat Oregon State then turned around and upset Washington. Not that either team is good, but they’re both capable of pulling off surprise wins.
6. USC Trojans (3-3, 2-1)
LW: L at Notre Dame, 31-28
The Trojans kept it close at Notre Dame, which is quite impressive for USC. Kedon Slovis is back at quarterback and he was sharp against a tough defense. He still has those freaks at receiver — Michael Pittman, Tyler Vaughns and Amon-Ra St. Brown — so decent QB play will win them some games down the stretch. USC will play Arizona next week, then will go at Colorado, vs. Oregon, at Arizona State and at Cal. Those are tough but winnable games (except Oregon), so we’ll see if elite talent can outshine poor coaching.
5. California Golden Bears (4-2, 1-2)
Cal has dropped their last two games against Arizona State and Oregon. They badly needed this past bye week to get their offense healthy. Backup QB Devin Modster looked decent against Oregon, but Cal absolutely has to win games with their defense until Chase Garbers is back, if ever.
4. Arizona State Sun Devils (5-1, 2-1)
LW: W vs. Washington State, 38-34
Not that Wazzu is good, but the Sun Devils proved that their offense has some potential. Jayden Daniels, the true freshman QB, is improving every week and he made a superb play to win that game. Brandon Aiyuk can score from anywhere on the field. Eno Benjamin is a very good running back who succeeds despite terrible line play. ASU has proved themselves to be the second best team in the Pac-12 South. They play two tough games at Utah and vs. Oregon, but otherwise they have at Oregon State, vs. USC, at UCLA and vs. Arizona. Finishing 9-3 is very possible for the Sun Devils, which could be good enough to win the South if Utah stumbles.
3. Washington Huskies (5-2, 2-2)
LW: W at Arizona, 51-27
Washington looked like the best or second best team in the Pac-12, but losing to Stanford is inexcusable. The Huskies may have gotten back on track against Arizona (after a slow start), but it’s concerning that their offense doesn’t show up to every game. Their next two games are against Oregon and Utah, the two best defenses in the conference. Both are at home, but the Huskies are effectively out of the Pac-12 race if they lose either.
2. Utah Utes (5-1, 2-1)
LW: W at Oregon State, 52-7
After losing to USC in a weird game, the Utes have blown out Washington State and Oregon State. Wazzu and OSU aren’t exactly good, but it’s always encouraging to see good teams beat up inferior teams. Utah enters a challenging slate that will test Tyler Huntley and the offense. They face Arizona State, Cal and Washington in their next three games. If Utah wins two or three, they remain in the driver’s seat to win the Pac-12 South.
1. Oregon Ducks (5-1, 3-0)
Oregon should be in Playoff contention, but they found a way to lose a heart-breaker to Auburn in Week 1. Since that game, Oregon’s defense has allowed 25 total points in five games (!!!). They are so fast, especially in the middle of the field with omnipresent playmakers Troy Dye and Jevon Holland. Oregon’s offense still hasn’t hit their stride, but they still have plenty of talent with Justin Herbert spreading the ball around. The Ducks have a challenging road ahead as they play Washington, USC and Arizona State all on the road. Even if they drop a game, they have the inside track to the Pac-12 Championship.