Week one for college football is in the books, and it’s time to see where everybody lands in the Pac-12 Football Week 2 Power Rankings. Overall the conference had a good week except for loses by Washington and Arizona. I know the Pac-12 wants more national television games, but these 7:45 pm PT kicks aren’t helping anybody. I live on the west coast, and I fell asleep before the BYU vs. Arizona game was over. So, there is no way old College Football Playoffs voters are watching the game in its entirety. The conference has to find a way to get SEC and ACC teams to come west, and nationally televised games are a way to get it done.
The results from week one still leave all the Unafraid Show Pac-12 Preseason picks alive. Here are the week two rankings:
12. Oregon State (0-1)
(L) Ohio State 77-31
You ordinarily don’t have much positive to say about a 77-31 loss, but there were quite a few positives for the Beavers. Oregon State played practically the entire game with their backup quarterback Connor Blount after Jake Luton was injured and scored 31 points against a top 5 team. The Beavers rushing attack was impressed as they rushed for 197 yards on 39 carries. Oregon State is clearly a much-improved team under Jonathan Smith. By the time Pac-12 play starts the Beavers will no longer be a gimme game.
11. UCLA (0-1)
(L) Cincinnati 26-17
This was not the game anybody expected in Chip Kelly’s debut. We all expected UCLA to struggle at times this season, but an anemic offense against Cincinnati was unexpected. By the end of the game, it was obvious why Kelly chose to start Wilson Speight at quarterback over Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Thompson-Robinson was pressed into action when Speight was knocked out of the game with an injury. The freshman showed flashes in relief but he’s not quite ready for the primetime. UCLA also has problems with their rushing defense and offensive line. Unless Chip Kelly can pull a rabbit out of his hat 2018 is going to be a rough season for the Bruins.
10. Arizona (0-1)
(L) BYU 28-23
I was absolutely confused watching the Arizona offense. Their greatest weapon is Khalil Tate’s legs and they didn’t unleash him at all. He finished with only 8 rushing attempts. It is almost like Kevin Sumlin wanted to make sure Tate’s passing ability was showcased. He finished the game 17/34 with 197yds 1 TD. Arizona will have to employ a lot more run-pass option to maximize Tate’s skill set and make their offense explosive. My preseason prediction for Pac-12 South winner looked super suspect.
9. Colorado (1-0)
(W) Colorado State 45-13
I was not sure how this game would go after the Buffaloes only won 17-3 last year and were shutout in the second half. Mike MacIntyre’s team dominated Colorado State from cover to cover. The key to Colorado’s success this year will be great play from junior quarterback Steven Montez. He lit up the scoreboard in week one to the tune of 338 yards passing and 4 touchdowns. He looks to have made significant progress since last season. If Montez can continue to play at a high-level Colorado will be strong in conference play, particularly at home.
8. Washington St (1-0)
(W) 41-19 Wyoming
I couldn’t be any more happy for the Washington State Cougars. After offseason tragedy, they were playing with heavy hearts but came out and got a win. Per the usual, Mike Leach found a way to get his ‘Air Raid’ offense to score a lot of points. The Cougars defense was impressive in only giving up 209 total yards. The Cougars should cruise to 3-0 to start the season.
7. Arizona St (1-0)
(W) UTSA 49-7
It is so hard to judge teams when they play “Nobody State” in week one. However, a win is a win despite it not being very impressive. Manny Wilkins to N’Keal Harry is a deadly combination for the Sun Devils offense. Harry is a mismatch 1-on-1 for most cornerbacks so teams have to give safety help over the top which opens up the running game. Benjamin and Floyd were the beneficiaries in week one. Remember when I said I believed Arizona would win the Pac-12 South? I may have meant Arizona State.
6. Cal (1-0)
(W) North Carolina 24-17
The most impressive thing about Cal’s win over North Carolina was their defense. They forced 4 turnovers and held on even with mixed results from their quarterbacks. In just his second season Justin Willcox has turned 2016’s worst defense in the country into a respectable defense. The Golden Bears weakness is the quarterback position. Bowers, Garbers, and McIlwain all saw time under center, but neither of them was particularly impressive. It won’t matter how good Cal’s defense is if they don’t get better play from the QB position.
5. Washington (0-1)
(L) Auburn 21-16
What a horrendous loss to Auburn. The Huskies had every opportunity to win that road game masquerading as a neutral site game. The good news is that Washington showed they could bring their B game and compete with anybody. The bad news is that I was right about Jake Browning in the Pac-12 preseason rankings. I told ya’ll he would be the Achilles heel for this team after the media picked the Huskies to win the conference. Browning is a senior so we expected smart play but his game was marred with bad decision after bad decision. I was impressed with the Washington defense. They largely help Auburn’s tricky offense in check. The front seven dominated the game and showed it will be tough for Pac-12 teams to run the football against them.
4. Utah (1-0)
(W) Weber State 41-10
After starting off down 10-0, Utah did exactly what they were supposed to do. They demolished a team with inferior talent. However, they must stop fumbling. The Utes fumbled three times during the game. If Tyler Hundley can stay healthy continue to play at this level the Utes will be a serious threat to win the Pac-12. He finished with over 250 yards passing and 4 TDs. Their defense looked tough. There seems to be a different feel to Kyle Whittingham’s team this year. Utah will be looking to finally get over the hump in the Pac-12 South.
3. Oregon (1-0)
(W) Bowling Green 58-24
The Ducks started the game extremely flat offensively and defensively. After they settled down, the game was a runaway. Justin Herbert was as good as advertised passing the ball. The running game featured 6 different running backs touch the football. Jim Leavitt’s defense looks to be even better and more physical than last year. I am so happy to see the pillow fights stop. The Ducks have no competition in their first three games. So the focus over the next three weeks will be keeping everyone healthy and being sharp for their week 4 matchup against Stanford.
2. USC (1-0)
(W) UNLV 43-21
Ordinarily, I would be critical of USC struggling with the likes of UNLV. But, the Trojans got the win with a freshman quarterback, new #1 running back and wide receiver. Those young guys will be walking into the fire this week. The Trojans travel to the farm to play Stanford. JT Daniels will have to grow up quick if USC wants to compete for the Pac-12 crown. USC needs to beat Stanford to calm the Clay Helton naysayers
1. Stanford (1-0)
(W) San Diego State 31-10
Stanford started extremely slow against San Diego State, but they put the pedal to the metal in the second half. Bryce Love was held to just 29 yards on 18 carries, but K.J. Costello showed up big time. Costello answered any questions about his ability to carry the load as a passer by finishing with 332 yards and 4 TDs. My one question about the Cardinal team surrounds the run defense. San Diego State’s Juwan Washington ran for 158 yards. If Stanford can sure up their run defense, they have a legit shot to win the Pac-12.