Pac 12 Week 6 Power Rankings
Pac 12 Week 6 Power Rankings
The Pac 12 schedule officially kicked off this week and the conference race got started with a bang. The elite teams of the conference showed up and looked elite while some of the teams chasing them showed that they can be dangerous foes down the stretch. It was the first pieces of the conference picture falling into place and there was plenty to learn from the weekend.
One of the biggest lessons may have been that as good as the entire conference looked in non-conference play, there are still a few programs that are leading the pack by a wide margin. The standard-bearers of the conference didn’t let anybody down as they came out and took care of business in a major way. Some of the programs that looked like they were ahead of schedule on rebuilding their brands out of the cellar of the conference learned that they still have some serious work to do.
It was an illuminating weekend that allowed us to see the Pac 12 race in a much clearer fashion. Some teams saw their hopes of making an improbable title run get dimmer (or burn out altogether) while other darkhorses felt their confidence grow. As the conference moves forward, there is plenty of intrigue and excitement to come as teams vie for the top spot in the conference and a guaranteed trip to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl.
After five weeks, the hierarchy of the conference continues to shuffle out. There are movers and shakers up and down the rankings (some in the wrong direction) as everyone tries to scrape their way up the ladder. Without further ado, let’s count down the Pac 12 Power Rankings heading into Week 6.
12. Cal Bears (1-3, 0-1 Pac 12)
Before the season started, the Cal Bears were written off as a young team with a ridiculously difficult schedule that had no chance of winning more than a handful of games at best. While there have been flashes of great play from true freshman Jared Goff, the Bears fell to 1-3 after getting blown away in Eugene over the weekend. Sonny Dykes will try and keep his team together as they regroup at home this week against the Washington State Cougars with a chance to get a conference win against another team struggling towards the bottom of the Pac 12 standings.
11. Colorado Buffaloes (2-1, 0-1 Pac 12)
After a long layoff, the Colorado Buffaloes went into Corvallis and showed that they still have a ways to go in their rebuilding effort. They were unable to slow down the Oregon State offense while their offense sputtered and failed to keep up their end of the shootout pace. Mike MacIntyre will need to go back to the drawing board to get his team back on the winning track, but will find it difficult in Week 6 as they go up against the powerhouse Oregon Ducks.
10. USC Trojans (3-2, 0-2 Pac 12)
Many people felt that Lane Kiffin didn’t deserve to retain his job as head coach of the USC Trojans this season. On Saturday, he made sure he fixed that oversight. USC went to Tempe in a “must-win” game against ASU if they hoped to stay in the conference title conversation and were overwhelmed. Their previously top-five defense was blown out of the water, giving up 62 points, while the offense spun its wheels with highly questionable play-calling from Kiffin. To make matters worse, Biletnikoff Award winner Marqise Lee had to be carted off the sideline with a knee injury. No coach and possibly no Lee moving forward, the Trojans have some soul searching to do on their bye this week.
9. Washington State Cougars (3-2, 1-1 Pac 12)
The Washington State Cougars were filled with confidence as they prepared to take on the Stanford Cardinal but were quickly exposed as wonting when it comes to competing the Pac 12 elite. They were physically man-handled on both sides of the ball, the previously stingy pass defense was shredded and the offense was completely stagnant. Connor Halliday couldn’t finish the game after limping off the field and into the locker room in the third quarter so WSU’s pride may not be the only casualty from their blowout loss. This week, they have a big matchup with Cal in Berkeley in a contest that could determine who finishes in the cellar of the Pac 12 North.
8. Arizona Wildcats (3-1, 0-1 Pac 12)
After a packing-peanut soft non-conference schedule, the Arizona Wildcats faced their first real test on the road in the rain of Seattle. After hanging tough for a half, the Cats got left in the dust and lost big to the Washington Huskies, showing that there are some serious issues still facing this team. Ka’Deem Carey is as explosive as ever in the running game but the defense is still unable to hang with dynamic offenses and the passing game was no help. Rich Rodriguez needs to regroup and get his team on the right path quickly on the Cats’ bye in Week 6.
7. Utah Utes (3-1, 0-1 Pac 12)
With a week off, the Utah Utes have been working on preparing for the defending Pac 12 South champion UCLA Bruins this coming Thursday. Kyle Whittingham will have his team prepared to take their shot at making a serious splash in the conference title race and get the Utes their first conference win of the season. Travis Wilson has been dynamic in leading the offense, but the Utes’ defense needs to show that they can hang with a high-powered offense like UCLA.
6. Oregon State Beavers(4-1, 2-0 Pac 12)
The Oregon State Beavers have been trying to recapture the identity that made them a darkhorse conference title contender in the preseason. The offense has been explosive with Sean Mannion throwing the ball all over the field and the defense showed up as the Beavers buried Colorado in Corvallis. Blowing away a rebuilding Buffs is far from a true “return to form” for Oregon State but it’s a start. With a bye in Week 6, the Beavers will look to build on their strong performance and defend their early cushion in the conference standings.
5. Arizona State Sun Devils (3-1, 1-1 Pac 12)
The Arizona State Sun Devils are almost through their grueling early season stretch with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish coming up next week in Dallas. Todd Graham got his team back on track following after getting man-handled in their conference opener by exploding offensively on USC. With the win, they got themselves back into the mix in the Pac 12 South race and positioned themselves to make a run down the stretch. Some big challenges still await ASU but for now they are a dangerous team waiting to strike a blow in the conference race.
4. Washington Huskies (4-0, 1-0 Pac 12)
With that all-important first conference win in the books, the Washington Huskies are looking like a legitimate threat in the Pac 12 North race. Steve Sarkisian has his team playing smart and tough led by a resurgent Keith Price at quarterback, workhorse Bishop Sankey at running back and a defense that is flying to the ball. UW faces a major hurdle next week as they travel to Palo Alto, but playing Stanford will be a major opportunity to put themselves in the mix for a Pac 12 title.
3. UCLA Bruins (3-0, 0-0 Pac 12)
The UCLA Bruins had the week off in preparation for their Thursday night game against the Utah Utes this week. They watched as the Pac 12 race got a little better defined and will come out ready to cement their place at the top of the Pac 12 South. With some of the other divisional contenders falling off this week (USC and Arizona, in particular), the Bruins are in as strong a position as ever to get back to the Pac 12 title game at the end of the regular season.
2. Stanford Cardinal (4-0, 2-0 Pac 12)
With a pair of starters out of the lineup at kickoff and a bit of a letdown in the fourth quarter the week before, some people were wondering if the Stanford Cardinal were going to be on upset alert against Washington State. The Cardinal quickly put those concerns to rest as they completely dominated in every phase of the game. They rolled like a top-five team should and looked like a team capable of winning a national title. They will have a chance to cement their place at the top of the Pac 12 power ranking with a showdown against Washington next week on The Farm.
1. Oregon Ducks (4-0, 1-0 Pac 12)
The Oregon Ducks have their sights set on a BCS National Championship in 2013 and dispatched the Cal Bears like a team that is capable of doing it. With their offensive explosion in the rain of Eugene to kick off their conference schedule, Oregon set a school record with their fourth straight game with at least 50 points scored. The Ducks are looking like a well-oiled machine and with Colorado coming up next should keep their strong play rolling and continue to reign at the top of the Pac 12 Power Rankings.