A promising start for the PAC 12 cratered during the evening slate, as teams struggled to put away or even lost to supposedly weak opponents. A major in-conference contest has also shaken up the rankings, as USC declared its unquestioned (for now) dominance.
1. USC Trojans (+2)-
With a stunningly complete performance, USC left no doubt that they are the class of the conference. Darnold looked spectacular and the Trojans run game powered through the vaunted Stanford defense. Next Saturday they play at home against Texas, a program in disarray.
2. Washington Huskies (N/A)-
There was no ambiguity in this matchup, as the Huskies took the Grizzlies to the woodshed in every phase of the game. They stay put this week, and have little opportunity to impress welcoming Fresno State to their stadium next Saturday.
3. Stanford Cardinal (-2)-
Stanford was not ready for the bright lights of their marquee matchup, and lost in convincing fashion. They don’t drop further; they still looked like a very good team, just simply not on USC’s level. They visit San Diego State next Saturday, the Aztecs fresh off a win over ASU.
4. Utah Utes (+1)-
Utah won their game against BYU ugly, racking up a ton of penalty yards. Sophomore QB Tyler Huntley is starting to turn some heads, though, and the defense looks as stout as ever. They get a tune-up against San Jose State at home next week before attacking their conference schedule.
5. Oregon Ducks (+1)-
If you flipped off the TV at the end of the first half, the Ducks looked like they should be second or third on this list. The second half keeps them down, however, as Oregon was outscored 21-0 in those frames. They visit Wyoming next Saturday and hope to put together four quarters of excellent football.
6. UCLA Bruins (+1)-
UCLA took care of business against Hawaii and then some, blowing the Rainbow Warriors out. There are too many causes for concern on defense for the Bruins to bump up into the upper echelon of the conference, however. They play Saturday morning in Memphis, a game that could be quite close.
7. Washington State Cougars (-3)-
The Cougars mounted a stunning fourth quarter comeback and won the game in triple overtime. They fall despite the win, however, because this isn’t the Boise State of yesteryear and WSU was expected to do better. Still, 2-0 is 2-0. The Cougs should get to 3 wins after they’re done hosting Oregon State.
8. Colorado Buffaloes (+1)-
Colorado gave a compelling defensive performance against Texas State, but didn’t impress offensively, despite playing perhaps the worst FBS team in the nation. They have yet to put together a game on both sides of the ball to justify jumping into the middle tier of PAC 12 teams.
9. Cal Bears (-1)-
Cal was riding high with a win over UNC, but Weber State gave them everything they could handle this weekend. The truth is, the Bears were lucky to come away with a win in a game where they were badly outgained. Ole Miss, a weak SEC team, visits the Bears in what has become a fascinating matchup.
10. Arizona Wildcats (N/A)-
Arizona had the opportunity to move up with other teams looking soft against inferior foes, but instead the Wildcats sputtered, unable to find enough offense to counteract their own miscues and the Houston defense. They visit UTEP on Friday and should win easily, despite this week’s performance.
11. Arizona State Sun Devils (N/A)-
Instead of jumping out ahead of their in-state rivals, the Sun Devils laid a bigger egg than the Wildcats, losing by 10 to SDSU. The Aztecs look to be a pretty good team, so there’s still hope for ASU to turn it around. They play Texas Tech and it doesn’t look like they’ve got the horses to hang with them.
12. Oregon State Beavers-
Goodness gracious. This was suppose to be an epic #VarmintBowl, two evenly matched teams battling for subterranean supremacy. The Beavers looked horrible and got pelted by the Gophers. It’s hard to see how they stay competitive in, never mind win, any games this season. Washington State will look to pulverize them next weekend.
Most teams close out their conference schedules next week, and we get into the thick of conference play where opponents really start to separate. There are a few intriguing matchups, but it’s overall a pretty unexciting schedule.