Wow. Total chaos reined this weekend, with massive favorites going down to unheralded opponents all over the country- including a couple here in the PAC 12. A couple of blowouts and two closer-than-expected contests add to the confusion, and the Power Rankings are in for a major overhaul.
1. USC Trojans (+2)-
It took a while to claw back to the top after a loss to Washington State, but USC is here again after coming away with the victory over Utah on one of the most intense, competitive, and entertaining games of the season. Utah is always a quality win, and USC can officially re-establish their playoff creds if they can follow it up with another W over Notre Dame next week.
2. Stanford Cardinal (+3)-
Stanford followed up a strong showing on the road at Utah with a dominant, 42 point blowout of the Oregon Ducks. Whether they had issues early in the season or just a bit of bad luck, the Cardinal look like the top-flight PAC 12 team that was expected this season.
3. Washington Huskies (-1)-
Everyone in the PAC 12 is talented, and every game can be lost. That happened to the Huskies this weekend, who experienced an offensive and place-kicking blackout on the road at Arizona State and went down hard. For now, this is a blip on the radar. They take a bye next week and look to put this game well behind them.
4. Utah Utes (N/A)-
There are no moral victories in big-time football, but Utah looked really good in a narrow loss to USC. There’s a big gap between backup QB Troy Williams and starter Tyler Huntley, and if Huntley can get himself 100%, Utah may be able to beat just about everyone. He may be back as early as next week as Utah takes on ASU at home.
5. Cal Bears (+5)-
Cal isn’t the fifth best team in the PAC 12, but they sure looked like it last week as they destroyed Washington State with a strong offensive showing and a wildly successful plan on defense, creating a ton of havoc for the Cougars. The host the red hot Wildcats next Saturday.
6. Washington State Cougars (-5)-
Losing is one thing, but the Cougars looked downright bad, and Mike Leach gave a demoralized post-game press conference that suggests (or created?) some bigger locker room problems moving forward for the now-blemished Cougs. Colorado will visit in a few days, and that struggling squad should provide a good opportunity for WSU to right the ship.
7. ASU Sun Devils (+3)-
Todd Graham’s defenses have gotten worse and worse over the years, but they looked exactly like he dreamed up against Washington, dominating the Huskies with aggressive, physical play and winning a defensive slugfest. They didn’t get much credit for the win from Vegas, though- they opened as 10.5 point underdogs for their upcoming visit to Utah.
8. Arizona Wildcats (+3)-
Khalil Tate has taken over the starting quarterback job and is a revelation at the position. He’s running all over everyone and the Wildcats are thriving under his leadership with an impressive victory over UCLA. Cal is next, and Arizona will look to deflate this team after they got their own impressive win over Washington State.
9. Oregon Ducks (-3)-
The blog thought Oregon could survive without Herbert on the strength of their running game and a better-than-expected defense. It doesn’t look that way so far, as the Ducks continue to drop ugly losses. A visit to UCLA will test their defense, but should be an opportunity for their running game to have some success.
10. Colorado Buffaloes (-2)-
The Rise appears to be over, as the Buffs looked decidedly like the Colorado teams of old in their near-miss win over hapless, coachless, FBS-winless Oregon State. This was probably Colorado’s worst game, and their fans had better hope so. If they play like that against Washington State it’s going to be an ugly loss indeed.
11. UCLA Bruins (-4)-
UCLA just can’t get off the schnide, losing by 17 to a rising Arizona team. What started out as a team gamely trying to overcome a glaring weakness has started to spiral out of control as other facets of the game get worn out or stretched thin. They’ll have a chance to put it behind them as they confront the Oregon Ducks in the Rose Bowl next Saturday
12. Oregon State Beavers (N/A)-
You don’t go winless in conference play unless you have some hard-luck losses, and Oregon State had exactly that this weekend, falling in heartbreaking fashion to a beatable Colorado team. They take a bye into this week as they try and figure out their new identity with a new head coach.
Good looking week ahead, highlighted by USC Notre Dame but with lots of intriguing matchups up and down the schedule. It’s going to be a loaded Saturday, and should create some certainty in the bowl and conference standings pictures.