The PAC 12 went 11-0 this weekend, but not all wins are created equal. From nail-biters over FCS foes to blowouts over Big 10 opponents, the wide range of results lead to plenty of movement in these rankings.
1. Stanford Cardinal (+1)-
Stanford coasts into the catbird seat, the only team that hasn’t had a flaw exposed yet. The extra rest from a bye week gives them a bit of an edge in their next matchup- a conference tilt with national implications against USC.
2. Washington Huskies (+1)-
The Huskies struggled early but broke away late, outscoring their foe 10-0 in the third quarter to put an end to any uncertainty. They take on the Montana Grizzlies next week, which should not be a test for this team.
3. USC Trojans (-2)-
An 18 point victory ought not to drop you down in the rankings, but USC only got the good margin in the waning minutes of the game. For most of the contest, the story was that the Trojans couldn’t stop the run. If they can’t stop the run vs. Stanford next week, there will be plenty of teams waiting to move up.
4. Washington State Cougars (+1)-
When you win 31-0 and your starting QB goes 20/20 in the first half, you move up the power rankings. A fantastic showing for Washington State, who look to prove that they can do it against better competition when Boise State comes to town on Saturday.
5. Utah Utes (-1)-
In a recurring theme for many teams, Utah struggled to find their offensive rhythm early (they trailed 3-0 in the first quarter), but ultimately put North Dakota away. Next week is a huge in-state contest; the Holy War against BYU defines football in the state for many fans.
6. Oregon Ducks (+1)-
The Ducks came out and curb-stomped an FCS foe. The hair stood up on the back of every PAC 12 defensive coordinator’s neck as the multiple, fast, and explosive offense took apart SUU, looking very much like the Ducks of old. If they can do something similar to Nebraska next weekend, they just might be back.
7. UCLA Bruins (+1)-
UCLA mounted a historic, incredible comeback to defeat their SEC opponent, and it was spectacular. However, to get there they had to first get themselves into a 44-10 hole, thanks to a pretty inept-looking run defense. We’ll see if they can keep it rolling and blow out Hawaii; the Rainbow Warriors are 2-0 and riding high.
8. Cal Bears (+1)-
Cal flew across the country and took on a bowl-bound Power 5 team in the early morning- 9:00 am Berkeley time. They beat the Tarheels, fair and square, playing defense, running the ball, and looking like a complete football team. They haven’t pushed ahead of the teams above them, but the potential is there. Weber State on Saturday.
9. Colorado Buffaloes (-3)-
Colorado roared out to an impressive start, and certainly smothered the Rams on defense, but an anemic offense the rest of the way has raised more questions for the Buffs than other PAC 12 teams. 17 points will probably more than enough against Saturday’s foe, Texas State.
10. Arizona Wildcats (+1)-
A comfortable win over NAU is in the books, but the box score leaves a lot to be desired, with the Lumberjacks coming away with the best passing performance and the best rushing performance of the night, and the ‘Cats offense coming at the expense of a clearly overmatched team. NAU might not move the needle, but a win over Houston certainly would.
11. Arizona State Sun Devils (-1)-
Last week’s power rankings said that New Mexico State shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for the Sun Devils. Well, they were. ASU turned in an abysmal defensive performance against one of the worst offenses in the nation, and allowed 7 sacks to a team that got 11 in all of 2016. San Diego State is next, and ASU has to play better to win.
12. Oregon State Beavers-
Oregon State won this game, but the truth is they had no business doing so, being outgained and outplayed from whistle to whistle. Portland State isn’t a great FCS team, either. A win is a win, but this looked like it might be the only one the Beavers get this year. Minnesota is next in the #RodentBowl.
With no Thursday or Friday games this week, it’s going to be a wild, busy day of football for PAC 12 fans. There are a ton of intriguing contests and a lot of uncertainty, so buckle up!