In week four the Pac 12 began it’s first full slate on inter-conference match-ups and there were several intriguing games involving the conferences five ranked teams. With that said arguably the best game from this past weekend came from the bottom two teams in the Pac 12, Colorado and Washington State.
The other games from this past weekend went as expected except for another Oregon State upset. With that win, the Beavers vault up this week’s power rankings as well as putting the rest of the conference on notice that they are for real.
Without further ado here are the Pac 12 football power rankings for week five.
1. Oregon Ducks: Last week – W 49-0 vs. No. 22 Arizona Wildcats. This week: at Washington State Cougars
Oregon seems like the only complete team in the conference. In every aspect of the game, offense, defense and special teams, they are head and shoulders above everyone else in the Pac 12. With their dominant win over a hot Arizona squad they let the rest of the country know that they are a legitimate national title contender and subsequently moved up to the No. 2 spot in the latest AP poll leapfrogging LSU. Are they deserving of the No. 2 spot in the country? I would say so but they still have some things to prove and they’ll have their chances to do that as the season progresses.
2. Stanford Cardinal: Last week – BYE. This week: at Washington Huskies
The Cardinal had a well deserved week off and had time to bask in their upset over then No. 2 USC. A bye week was exactly what they needed to refocus and prepare for another tough conference game as they travel to face Washington on Thursday. Stanford relies on a solid ground game and a tough defense so they always have a solid foundation to work from. It will be a tough matchup but I think with the extra time to prepare for the Huskies they will be just fine.
3. USC Trojans: Last week – W 27-9 vs. California Bears. This week: BYE
USC was able to rebound from their first loss by taking care of Cal at home but not in the way many expected. They relied on their run game and their defense while their passing game was mostly ineffective. Matt Barkley’s Heisman hopes have taken a hit due to the past two weeks but he has some time to get things together. The week off couldn’t come at a better time for Trojans as they have time to heal and prepare for the rest of the season beginning with a Thursday night battle at Utah.
4. Oregon State Beavers: Last week – W 27-20 at No. 19 UCLA Bruins. This week: at Arizona
There’s an argument that can be made for the Beavers to be ranked higher than No. 4. They’ve only played two games, both against ranked opponents, and they’ve won both of them. However, I wasn’t sold on the Wisconsin win due to the Badgers struggling to beat any other team they’ve played this year. The UCLA victory was solid but I still need to see more from the Beavers before I rank them higher than USC. They’re off to a really good start though.
5. UCLA Bruins: Last week – L 27-20 vs. Oregon State. This week: at Colorado
The Bruins dropped their first game of the season as they were unable to get their running game going. James Franklin, the Pac 12 leading rusher going into the game, was rendered ineffective as the Beavers’s game plan revolved around preventing him from getting anything going. He was held to only 45 yards rushing and it threw off the rest of the offensive rhythm. After suffering their first loss they have a good game to bounce back in as they travel to face the 1-3 Colorado Buffaloes this weekend.
6. Arizona State Sun Devils: Last week – W 37-7 vs. Utah. This week: at California
ASU recovered from their loss at Missouri in a big way as they thoroughly dominated Utah. They’ve played really well at home but they need to bring the same discipline and effort that they have at home on the road. Their next chance to put it together on the road comes this weekend as they take on Cal who’s coming off a loss of their own to USC. Cal wants to avoid an 0-2 division start so the Sun Devils will need to play like they have in their three wins to come out of Berkley with a W.
7. Arizona Wildcats: Last week – L 49-0 at No. 2 Oregon. This week: vs. Oregon State
If Arizona could have avoided a complete meltdown in the red zone against Oregon it could have been closer than the 49-0 beat down that it was. They will have to work extensively on their red zone offense this week because they will need to take advantage of any scoring opportunity they get against a suddenly stout Ore. St. defense.
8. Washington Huskies: Last week – BYE. This week: vs. No. 8 Stanford
Their early season schedule is brutal and it continues this week as they host Stanford. The good thing for the Huskies is that they had extra time to prepare for the Cardinal pass rush that made life a nightmare for USC’s Matt Barkley. Keith Price is more mobile than Barkley is so that is an advantage that they can use in their game plan.
9. California Bears: Last week – L 27-9 at No. 13 USC. This week vs. Arizona State
The Bears have gotten off to a very rough start as they currently sit at 1-3. They didn’t have too high of hopes heading into 2012 but it seems that even making it to a bowl game is in question. Their next three games seem winnable but Arizona State and UCLA have been impressive to begin the season so what seemed like a winnable game at first may not be as easy anymore.
10. Utah Utes: Last week – L 37-7 at Arizona State. This week: BYE
Utah was supposed to be the one team in the South division that was ready to challenge USC and possibly make an appearance in the conference championship game. Well, after week four not so much. Their latest debacle was a trouncing at the hands of the Sun Devils but fortunately for the Utes they have a bye week to figure out what’s gone wrong up to this point. Unfortunately their next opponent is USC but ranked foes always have trouble on the road on Thursday night’s. Maybe that trend will continue but it’s not likely.
11. Colorado Buffaloes: Last week – W 35-34 at Washington State. This week: vs. UCLA
Colorado has finally escaped the Pac 12 basement! They also find themselves at 1-0 in Pac 12 play which puts them in first place in the South division! Buff fans take this time to let that sink in… Ok now realize that it won’t last. It was a great comeback against the Cougars and the Buffs showed a lot of heart but the schedule only gets harder from here. They do play better at home so that’s something positive for Colorado to take into their matchup with UCLA on Saturday. Do the Buffs have another shocker up their sleeve?
12. Washington State Cougars: Last week – L 35-34 vs. Colorado. This week: vs. No. 2 Oregon
Plain and simple the Cougars gave the game away against Colorado. The Buffs broke off two TDs of over 70 yards and drove down the field to win all with less than 8 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter after trailing the entire game. Lose to the previously last place team and you’ll likely find yourself there the next week. Head coach Mike Leach can only do so much.
David LaRose is one of the featured College Football writers for Rant Sports covering the Pac 12 and the University of Colorado.