Welcome to this week’s Pac-12 Power Rankings. You can see last week’s rankings here. If you don’t like where you’re ranked, play better.
1. Washington (6-0 overall, 3-0 Pac-12; No. 1 last week)
One game isn’t going to purge 12 years of frustration. But a 70-21 win over Oregon is a good start. The Huskies look like a playoff team and Jake Browning looks like a Heisman quarterback. It's a great time for a bye week to let the inevitable hype simmer.
2. Utah (5-1, 2-1; No. 4 last week)
We bumped the Utes up two spots but also penalized them 5 yards for a false start. When they are consistent, they look like a team that could win the Pac-12 South. In the first half against Arizona, they weren’t consistent. In the second half, they were. Utah gets a trip next weekend to Corvallis, where Oregon State this week knocked off Cal (which beat Utah last week). Also, congrats to Utes coach Kyle Whittingham on win No. 100.
3. Arizona State (5-1, 2-1; No. 7 last week)
The only thing consistent about this team is kicker Zane Gonzalez. The Sun Devils are the Pac-12’s box of chocolates. But after a 23-20 win over UCLA, they are also co-leaders in the South Division with Utah and Colorado. That’ll change for someone next week when ASU heads to Colorado.
4. Colorado (4-2, 2-1; No. 2 last week)
One conference loss -- 21-17 to USC -- isn’t going to bump the Buffs from contention. Especially in the getting-crazier-by-the-second Pac-12 South. The defense played well enough to win against the Trojans, and that should be encouraging. But failing to capitalize on four turnovers was the difference. Colorado can stay in the South hunt next week with Arizona State coming to town.
5. Washington State (3-2, 2-0; No. 9 last week)
After a sluggish start to the season, the Cougars have averaged 50 points per game in their last three. You might have been able to dismiss the Oregon game last week as the Ducks just having a weak defense. But even an injured Stanford defense warrants some credibility, and Washington State was more than up to the task in its 42-16 win. The biggest area of recent improvement has been on defense, where the Cougars have six sacks and 10 tackles for a loss in the last two weeks.
6. USC (3-3, 2-2; No. 8 last week)
The Pac-12 blog walked away from the 21-17 win over Colorado more impressed with the USC defense than the offense. The Trojans have a little momentum now after back-to-back wins against South Division teams. Remember, USC split the South with Utah last season (but won on the head-to-head tiebreaker) with three losses. The Trojans head to Arizona next week before finally catching a breather and a bye week.
7. Stanford (3-2, 2-2; No. 3 last week)
We wondered if last week’s loss to Washington was a one-week hiccup. After a second thrashing in as many weeks, it’s clear something on this Stanford team is broken. And remember, there are no more byes the rest of the way. The Cardinal need to figure out their offensive woes with a trip to Notre Dame next week. For what it’s worth, Notre Dame will be doing the same.
8. UCLA (3-3, 1-2; No. 6 last week)
With two conferences losses, the Bruins are dangerously close to be being left behind in the race for the South. Rushing for minus-1 yard (the product of five sacks and nine tackles for a loss) as they did in the 23-20 loss to Arizona State isn’t going to get the job done. The next three weeks -- at Washington State, home vs. Utah and at Colorado -- will likely determine UCLA’s place in the division.
9. California (3-3, 1-2; No. 5 last week)
The rush defense that stood so proud a week ago against Utah was gutted for 474 yards in a 47-44 loss to Oregon State. We’ve seen both sides of what Cal is capable of, and it’s equally impressive and head-scratching. Good time for a bye week to regroup before Oregon comes to town Oct. 21.
10. Oregon State (2-3, 1-1; No. 12 last week)
With their 47-44 overtime win over Cal, the Beavers finally have a Pac-12 victory under Gary Andersen. And while they watched a 17-point fourth-quarter lead evaporate, it was impressive to see them gut it out in overtime. The offensive playcalling was really impressive all night, and the fact they held Cal quarterback Davis Webb to just 113 yards in the air and no touchdowns is a testament to the game plan.
11. Arizona (2-4, 0-3; No. 10 last week)
The Wildcats played the Utes tough for a half, and they continue to show explosive potential on offense. Arizona actually outgained Utah 475 yards to 455. But the three turnovers were killers, as were the Utes' 10 points off those turnovers. Next week Arizona gets a USC team playing with renewed confidence. At this point, you have to start wondering if a bowl game is realistic for the injury-riddled Wildcats.
12. Oregon (2-4, 0-3; No. 11 last week)
The king is dead. Long live the king.