Welcome to the Week 5 Power Rankings. You can see last week’s rankings here. If you don’t like where you’re ranked, play better.
1. Washington (5-0 overall, 2-0 Pac-12; No. 2 last week)
I was in the camp that thought Washington would be good but was still a year away from reaching the upper tier in the Pac-12 North. There’s still a lot of football left, but like the rest of the country, I walked away from Friday night’s 44-6 win over Stanford overwhelmingly impressed with the Huskies’ performance. The hype has been justified.
2. Colorado (4-1, 2-0; No. 5 last week)
Meet the leaders of the South Division. Colorado put on a calm, poised and destructive performance against Oregon State after coming off an emotional win the week before. With a trip to USC next week, it would have been easy for the rising Buffs to play down or overlook the Beavers. They didn’t, and that’s the mark of a mature team.
3. Stanford (3-1, 2-1; No. 1 last week)
There’s nothing outlandish about losing to a top-10 team on the road. The problem was the tackling, and the penalties, and the gaps in coverage, and the offensive inefficiencies, and the inability to block, protect the quarterback, get to the quarterback, catch the football, field a punt, and so on and so on. The question is: Was this a one-week bizarro-world Stanford team or a harbinger?
4. Utah (4-1, 1-1; No. 3 last week)
If the Utes find themselves one game away from the conference championship (again), it’s going to be three missed opportunities (and plenty more along the way) against Cal that will fuel that frustration. The officials didn’t do the Utes any favors, but they didn’t do Cal any, either. There were lots of chances for Utah, which ran 97 offensive plays, to win -- and lose -- that game.
5. California (3-2, 1-1; No. 7 last week)
Of all the ways for Cal to beat Utah, a final goal-line stand probably wasn’t on anyone’s radar. Even more impressive, Utah ran nearly 100 plays and Cal gave up only 23 points. Consider this: Cal coach Sonny Dykes is now 2-0 against AP Top 25 teams this season after losing 12 straight against ranked opponents to start his head-coaching career. So why isn’t Cal ahead of Utah? Because as solid as this win was, the San Diego State and Arizona State losses look a little worse this week.
6. UCLA (3-2, 1-1; No. 6 last week)
The UCLA offense showed a little more progress and efficiency this week against Arizona, but not enough to bump the Bruins ahead of Cal, which beat a ranked team. The Pac-12 South is still wide open, and a trip to Arizona State next week becomes a must-win for both teams to stay in the division hunt.
7. Arizona State (4-1, 1-1; No. 4 last week)
Much like Stanford, we wonder whether this was just a one-week hiccup against an inspired USC team or an indication the real Sun Devils are starting to reveal themselves. Either way, Saturday's 41-20 loss wasn’t pretty. The status of quarterback Manny Wilkins -- who spent the second half on crutches -- is unknown. That could make things dicey with a veteran UCLA secondary headed to the desert next week.
8. USC (2-3, 1-2; No. 10 last week)
Even though the Trojans blasted the Sun Devils, we’re not quite ready to put a three-loss team above a one-loss team. We need to see USC perform like this more consistently. No knee-jerk reactions in the Pac-12 blog. The Trojans will have an opportunity to get back in the South hunt if they can get past visiting Colorado next week (yes, you read that correctly).
9. Washington State (2-2, 1-0; No. 12 last week)
Look who is crawling out of the basement. Maybe the Cougars aren’t ready to contend for a conference title, but their bowl hopes are looking a lot better sitting at .500 after a second consecutive win over Oregon. And not just a win -- a 51-33 thrashing. The Cougars can make some serious waves next week when they travel to Stanford.
10. Arizona (2-3, 0-2; No. 8 last week)
Not sure there is a team in the country that has been as snake-bitten with injuries over a 12-month span as the Wildcats. We’ve seen a lot of different players with potential, but not a lot of consistency. And Utah's Rice-Eccles Stadium, where the Wildcats are headed next week, isn’t particularly kind to inconsistent offenses.
11. Oregon (2-3, 0-2; No. 9 last week)
The Ducks' defense gave up six rushing touchdowns to Washington State. WASHINGTON STATE! The last time the Cougars rushed for six touchdowns (1997), "Titanic" was the No. 1 movie in America. And yes, that particular pop-culture reference was very specific and very intentional.
12. Oregon State (1-3, 0-1; No. 11 last week)
Injuries are compounding what is already a frustrating season. And it doesn’t get any easier with Cal coming to town next week.