Pac-12 Week 3 Power Rankings: Trojans tumble, Bruins survive

You can see last week’s Power Rankings here. If you don’t like where you’re ranked, don’t lose at home.

1. UCLA Bruins: Despite their Week 3 offensive struggles, the Bruins have the best résumé in the conference. They are undefeated, have beaten a Group of 5 team and have beaten a top-20 team. No one else can boast that.

2. Oregon Ducks: Oregon’s only loss is still the best loss in college football. Take that for what it’s worth. It was back to business against an overmatched Georgia State team. The Ducks face a big test next week against a physical Utah defense.

3. Arizona Wildcats: As others fall, the Wildcats climb. They’ve done exactly what they were supposed to do against their nonconference competition. In fact, they’ve looked better each week. UCLA comes to town next week for an exciting matchup. The Bruins are undefeated against Arizona in the Jim Mora era.

4. Utah Utes: Not that Fresno State is a powerhouse, but winning with a backup quarterback on the road is still solid. The trip next week to Eugene, Oregon, could catapult the Utes into national legitimacy. Or it could again leave them outside the league’s upper echelon looking in.

5. California Golden Bears: We got a better look at how the defense would fare against a Power 5 offense. And it wasn’t great. But fortunately for the Bears, the offense is. They earned a quality win in a hostile environment. Cal has a huge opportunity to shake up the pecking order in the North next week at Washington.

6. Stanford Cardinal: Can’t you just see coach David Shaw raising his index finger to his lips to shush everyone who counted out the Cardinal? (The Pac-12 blog included.) The offense that took so much heat in Week 1 dropped 41 points on the road in upsetting No. 6 USC. If this is the team that shows up the rest of the season, there's no reason to think it can’t challenge for the conference title. If. No one plays the us-vs.-the-world card better than Shaw.

7. USC Trojans: We’ve been saying since the schedule came out that we’d learn what USC was all about after Week 3. Well, we know it can beat up on weaker teams. But that’s all the Trojans have to show for their season right now, because a home loss to an unranked team -- and a conference rival at that -- can’t be sitting well. A trip to Tempe, Arizona, awaits next week. And we all remember what happened the last time a USC coach went to ASU. Not sayin’, just sayin’.

8. Washington Huskies: I think we can all agree that Washington is about where we thought it would be through three weeks. At least recordwise. Offensively and defensively, the Huskies look better than I thought they would. That bodes well with a surging Cal team coming to Seattle next week. The Huskies have a great opportunity to show that they still belong in the top half of the division.

9. Arizona State Sun Devils: I think ASU is capable of being much better than the team we’ve seen the past couple of weeks. But until it puts that product on the field, a second-half surge against New Mexico doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence. The penalties and general lack of discipline are a concern with an angry USC coming to town.

10. Washington State Cougars: I really struggled with this one. I wanted to move the Cougars up to No. 9 because I think they have looked stronger each week since their season-opening loss to Portland State. But then again, they had that season-opening loss to Portland State. And that’s tough to forget. Win at Cal after the bye week, and you’ll get a much-deserved bump.

11. Colorado Buffaloes: One year ago, they would have lost a game like Saturday's win over the Rams. And not because of talent, but because that’s a game the Buffs wouldn’t have believed they could win. The Buffs might not be ready to challenge yet for the Pac-12 South. Or even a bowl berth. But coming back from a two-touchdown deficit, shaking off a missed game-winning field goal as time expired, and then winning in overtime shows the maturation of this program. It’s finally starting to believe it will win the games it should win.

12. Oregon State Beavers: The problem with being last in the power rankings is it’s tough to move up when almost everyone else in front of you wins as well. (No, we’re not ready to drop USC to No. 12 yet.) And beating San Jose State won’t move the needle that much. That said, it was a nice win for the Beavers. It’s easy to be enamored with the potential and athleticism of Seth Collins, who ran for two touchdowns and threw for a third. A visit from Stanford on Friday will pose the toughest defensive challenge to date.