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Pac 12 Week 5 Watchability Power Rankings

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Pac 12 Week 5 Watchability Power Rankings

Kirby Lee - USA TODAY Sports

The Pac 12 finished up their early-season, non-conference schedule with one of the best records in the history of the conference. They met challenges from programs all over the country and built a lot of credibility across the country as one of the premier college football conferences this season. Now, it’s time for conference play to begin and for the Pac 12 powers to eat themselves and destroy that credibility.

This may be the deepest the conference has been in a very long time. From top to bottom, there are no “easy outs” on the schedule. Every team is dangerous and can win on any given Saturday which will lead to some very exciting contests as the fall rolls on with a fair share of upsets along the way. Will some favorites topple on the first weekend of the full-conference schedule? It’s never too early.

The UCLA Bruins and Utah Utes get a bye this week as they prepare to square off next Thursday to kick off Week 6 of the college football season. That puts the rest of the conference on the field as the Pac 12 race begins in earnest. Can the front-runners impose their will on the rest of the conference or will some upstarts make waves with strong showings?

In all, five games are on the docket for the Pac 12 this weekend. If you can’t watch all of them, it’s important to know which are going to be the most exciting games. With that said, let’s count down the Pac 12 Watchability Power Rankings for Week 5.

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5) Cal Bears @ No. 2 Oregon Ducks

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Scott Olmos - USA TODAY Sports

The Oregon Ducks have been rolling on offense this season, ranking No. 2 in the country in total offense while averaging 672 yards per game. The Cal Bears defense…has not been good. Injuries and an overall lack of depth have made things tough for Cal defensively and Saturday’s not going to be any easier. Jared Goff will make things interesting for a while with his big arm, but the Oregon secondary will create turnovers and this game will get out of hand in a hurry and end up as just another game Marcus Mariota doesn't have to finish.

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4) Colorado Buffaloes @ Oregon State Beavers

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Christopher Hanewinckel - USA TODAY Sports

If you love to see the passing game in action, this will be the game for you. The Oregon State Beavers and their No. 3 ranked passing attack welcome the Colorado Buffaloes and their No. 7 ranked passing attack to Corvallis this Saturday. OSU was supposed to be a Pac 12 darkhorse this season, but their glaring defensive issues have quieted that talk down in a hurry. Two of the best receivers in football so far this season, Brandin Cooks and Paul Richardson, will be on display, however, against questionable secondaries, so expect fireworks to fly in this potential shootout.

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3) No. 5 Stanford Cardinal @ Washington State Cougars

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Robert Stanton - USA TODAY Sports

On paper, this game may not look like much but it gets a lot more interesting upon closer inspection. Last season, the Washington State Cougars pushed the Stanford Cardinal to the brink, but gave up 10 sacks and couldn’t finish a late rally to seal the upset. Of course, that was before Kevin Hogan took over last season. Stanford will be without some of its best players at kickoff, however, which adds to the intrigue. Offensive guard David Yankey is tending to a “family matter” and won’t be at the game while safety Ed Reynolds has to sit out the first half for a targeting penalty last week. Can a Cougs team brimming with confidence capitalize on a depleted Stanford roster?

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2) Arizona Wildcats @ No. 16 Washington Huskies

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Joe Nicholson - USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats took it to the Washington Huskies last season in Tucson to the tune of a 52-17 blowout. Steve Sarkisian has his team focused on revenge for that loss as they make a run at the Pac 12 North division title. This game should have plenty of firepower as two of the premier running backs in the nation square off. Ka’Deem Carey led the nation in rushing a season ago and is looking like he’ll be right up there once again for Arizona while Washington has unleashed Bishop Sankey in their newly potent offensive attack.

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1. USC Trojans @ Arizona State Sun Devils

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Kirby Lee - USA TODAY Sports

While it may be too early to call this game a truly “must-win” situation, the USC Trojans and Arizona State Sun Devils both desperately need to win this game on Saturday. Both USC and ASU are contenders for the Pac 12 South but each of them have already suffered their first conference loss. Dropping to 0-2 in Pac 12 play is a deep hole to get out of, especially with several extremely challenging games still on the schedule (especially for the Trojans). USC has to get their offense on track while Arizona State has to bounce back and re-establish their identity in the trenches. The winner will jump right back into the conference title race while the loser will need a major turnaround to get to where they want to be at season's end.