Welcome to the Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 4. The conference had a completely mixed bag of results but overall it was a win. The conference ended up with six teams in the AP top 25, but four are between 19 and 24. That means that as conference play starts, the losers will fall from the rankings. Stanford and USC losing on national tv to BYU and UCF was a blow. Both teams are national brands and influence the Pac-12’s perception even if neither is a top team in 2019. The conference has a chance to quiet all the outside noise about money and tv deals, and the Pac-12 network by winning the rest of their non-conference games. Oregon, Utah, and USC seem to be the only teams with a real shot at the playoff left.
- Last week I said I would include Hawaii in the Pac-12 Power Rankings if they beat Washington. They did not, so I won’t. It’s a good thing too because that would have been embarrassing.
For Reference Check out the Pac-12 Power Rankings from Week 3
Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 4:
Teams are ranked by the correct criteria: quality wins, schedule played, and dominance. Only games played matter. No consideration is given for future games. The Pac-12 Power Rankings will available on Unafraid Show every Monday morning. Make sure you send your comments and grievances to firstname.lastname@example.org.
12. Oregon State Beavers (1-2)
Last Week: 45-7 (W) Cal Poly
The Beavers got a win. It was against an FCS team, but OSU will at least one game this season. They have only won one conference game in the last two seasons. The goal for Jonathan Smith’s team should be to stay competitive in every game and try to steal a game or two.
11. UCLA Bruins (0-3)
Last Week: 14-41 (L) Oklahoma
The loss against Oklahoma was expected. However, I did believe that UCLA would score more than their standard 14 points. The Sooners defense is nowhere near the top defense UCLA will face this season (Utah, Cal). Chip Kelly’s offense went back to more read-option and run-pass options against the Sooners. Typically, RPOs help young and athletic quarterbacks to read the defense with more defined throwing reads. Needless to say, it did not translate into more points. The Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is having a rough season and we may see him headed to the bench soon.
And then there is the Bruins defense… Just listen to the podcast to hear more detail on Chip Kelly and UCLA.
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10. Stanford Cardinal (1-2)
Last Week: 27-45 (L) at UCF
This was a bad bad loss by Stanford. The game was not nearly as competitive as the score suggests. I like UCF a lot and they are a top-tier college football team. But, Stanford was not even competitive in the game. Their pass defense was abused, and their team looks slow. This could be the first season that David Shaw truly struggles as Stanford head coach. When you look at the Cardinal from last year and this year, something is broken. Stanford has tumbled a long way down the Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 4.
9. Arizona Wildcats (2-1)
Last Week: 28-14 (W) Texas Tech
Who is this Arizona team? Clearly, they are a bi-polar football team. Their Swiss cheese defense looked like a good defense. They forced two turnovers and consistently got off the field on 3rd down. Khalil Tate was back to his 2017 form. He rushed for 129 yards and a TD but didn’t pass the ball so well. Can their defense put two good performances in a row?
8. Colorado Buffaloes (2-1)
Last Week: 30-23/OT (L) vs Air Force
Don’t play the service academies. They will ruin your day. Air Force ruined Colorado’s chances of starting the season 3-0. Mel Tucker has his squad playing decent ball but could not get off the field on defense and couldn’t dominate the line of scrimmage. The good news is that the Buffaloes are more competitive than they were at the end of last season. Colorado is on their to a bowl game.
7. USC Trojans (2-1)
Last Week: 30-23 (L) vs BYU
This was just a bad loss for USC. All the goodwill that Clay Helton bought with the destruction of Stanford was lost. The Trojans fans are starting to whisper about Urban Meyer as their next coach already. It is hard to believe a team with this much talent gets beat at the line of scrimmage and in the secondary so often. I still believe in Kedon Slovis despite the interceptions. It seemed that the offense was different than the Stanford game. It appears they tried to protect the freshman in his first road start instead of letting him throw the ball downfield.
6. Arizona State Sun Devils (3-0)
Last Week: 10-7 (W) vs Michigan State
Improbable victory in East Lansing against Michigan State. ASU only had 216 total yards compared to Michigan State’s 404. The Sun Devil’s offensive line is having a hard time cleating running lanes for Eno Benjamin and pass protecting. The positive is that ASU’s defense stout, but there is no doubt that Pac-12 teams (even Cal) will manage more than one touchdown per game. At the end of the day, a win is a win, especially when it’s a quality one.
5. Washington State Cougars (3-0)
Last Week: 35-28 (W) vs Houston
Finally a decent opponent for the Cougars. Their offense had been so outrageously effective in the first two games that I believe it was shocking for players to run into first-half adversity. Anthony Gordon rallied the team and they were extremely effective in the second half. He finished with 440 yards with three touchdown passes. They will need to sure up their defense a bit.
4. Washington Huskies (2-1)
Last Week: 52-20 (W) vs Hawaii
The Huskies saved the conference from being Hawaii’s whipping boy. From the opening kickoff, UW opened up a can of whoop-ass. It seems very clear that the Cal loss was a wakeup game for Washington. I expect Chris Pedersen’s team to be dangerous and focus for the rest of the season. The Pac-12 North is going to be a dog fight.
3. Cal Golden Bears (3-0)
Last Week: 23-17 (W) at North Texas
Cal jumped out to a quick 20-0 lead in the first quarter but could only manage a field goal after that. The reason this team is 3-0 and a real threat in the Pac-12 this season is they rarely turn the ball over now. Last season, they fumbled and threw interceptions which put the game out of reach for their meager offense.
Their lack of dominance has moved them back one spot in the Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 4.
2. Utah Utes (3-0)
Last Week: 31-0 (W) vs Idaho State
The Utes pitched a shutout, as they should have. It was an extremely efficient performance by the Utah offense. Zack Moss only carried the ball 10 times, and they spread the ball around. 15 different skill position players had carries or receptions. There seems to be growth in passing efficiency since week one, which should bode well for their next nine conference games. Utah is making a strong case to move up to the #1 spot of the Pac-12 Power Rankings.
1. Oregon Ducks (2-1)
Last Week: 35-3 (W) Montana
My only concern about the Ducks is their ability to run the football. Through three games we have only seen one or two runs over 20 yards. If all three games were against Auburn that would be understandable. But, for a team with the best offensive line in college football, that sounds strange to me. If the Ducks want to have a shot at the CFB Playoffs they will need to have explosive runs.
Oregon’s defense and passing game look great.
Check back every Monday for the Pac-12 Power Rankings.