Lots of exciting football and close games last week, including a few that reshuffled the PAC 12 landscape. Only one game wasn’t close, and the game of the week, USC at WSU, met every expectation. Another good week is ahead, with a series of promising matchups.
1. Washington State Cougars (+2)-
To the victor go the spoils. WSU defeated the Trojans and looked like a complete team while doing so, earning one of the best wins in the country in this early part of the season. They may not stay here forever, but if they can go on the road and defeat Oregon on Saturday they will likely have earned another week atop these rankings.
2. Washington Hustkies (-1)-
The Huskies got off to a slow start against Oregon State, leading only 7-0 at the half. They turned it on in the second half, however, exploding for 35 points and blowing out the Beavers. It will be more impressive if they can do the same thing Saturday, when they host the Cal bears.
3. USC Trojans (-1)-
USC took a loss, but they took in style and to a very good team. With Utah on a bye week and Stanford’s blowout loss to the Trojans already on the books, no one earned their way past this team, who is still in control of their destiny in the PAC 12 South. They host Oregon State in the closest thing to a bye week the Trojans get this season.
4. Utah Utes (N/A)-
The Utes took a much needed bye week to attempt to heal up star quarterback Tyler Huntley and a host of key defensive players. They are the only undefeated team remaining in the South, and have the opportunity to solidify their place in the South championship race by defeating Stanford, despite being touchdown underdogs at home.
5. Stanford Cardinal (N/A)-
Behind the extraordinary performance of Bryce Love, Stanford has pulled themselves out of their two-game slump; their ten point victory over ASU doesn’t describe how dominant they were throughout the game. They travel to Utah next and face the best front seven they have seen all season. If Utah can’t stop Love, no one can.
6. Oregon Ducks (+2)-
The Ducks finally put it together, scoring plenty of points, having a good running game, and playing solid defense on their way to a win over Cal. It’s not the only story on the week, however. A serious injury to the Duck’s QB factors into this spot, and resetting expectations is going to start next week as Washington State comes to town.
7. UCLA Bruins (+4)-
UCLA is a volatile, unpredictable team this season. They put together a fairly complete game against Colorado, who is no slouch. A decent defensive performance is a step in the right direction for the floundering Bruins, who get a bye week to work out some kinks.
8. Colorado Buffaloes (+1)-
Colorado acquitted themselves well against UCLA, playing a game they could just as easily have won as lost. There is perhaps no team in the PAC 12 that has defied analysis as thoroughly as the Buffs. Home against Arizona should be a critical data point in evaluating this team.
9. Cal Bears (-2)-
The Cal team that got whooped by Oregon is the Cal team we expected to see this season. Just not good enough on either side of the ball to hang with most of the teams in the PAC 12. It was a tough loss for the Bears, who enter the ‘gut-check’ part of their schedule now, starting with a visit to Washington this Saturday.
10. Arizona State Sun Devils (-3)-
The ‘Devils looked like a team that couldn’t compete against Stanford, with poor tackling and an intermittent offensive performance too much to overcome. They did manage to run the ball well, laying a blueprint for more complete teams to attack Stanford’s defensive line. They take this loss into a bye week.
11. Arizona Wildcats (-1)-
Arizona loses the bye week, falling a spot as they sit idle. They don’t really belong this far down, but no one does in this conference. If they can get the win on the road against Colorado, they’ll have flipped the script on what looks so far to be a disappointing season.
12. Oregon State Beavers (N/A)-
The first half provided a glimmer of hope for Beavers fans, but the second half crushed it. The Huskies pulverized this team, who can simply do nothing right and get no respite. They visit USC next, poor things.
Week six provides a bunch of promise, with four of the five having the potential to be very exciting contests. PAC 12 fans will be entertained from after lunch ’til after midnight as the beat rolls on.