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Pac-12 Power Rankings: Oregon remains king after Michigan State victory

The Oregon Ducks backed up the hype by smashing the Michigan State Spartans.

Steve Dykes

1. Oregon Ducks -- : We were never sure whether the Ducks would keep churning out wins with Mark Helfrich stepping into Chip Kelly's shoes. There were signs (against the Wildcats last year especially) Oregon wasn't the same, and with the loss of defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti, there was another red flag. But a huge victory after a rough first half against Michigan State this weekend proved the Ducks are in fantastic shape. They're tough, versatile and not worried about perception. They outscored and overpowered the Spartans 28-0 in the second half to overcome a first-half of struggle.

2. USC Trojans ↑↑: USC's defense in the red zone was pretty darn impressive against an experienced Cardinal offense. Running back Buck Allen was big, and there are too many reasons to put this team atop the Pac-12 South.

3. Stanford Cardinal ↓↓: Nothing to be ashamed about in losing to USC in a game that could have gone either way.

4. UCLA Bruins -- : Brett Hundley and the offense looked a bit better after struggling to get into a groove against Virginia, but giving up 35 points to Memphis is another concern.

5. Arizona State Sun Devils --: Like Arizona, rival ASU found trouble against a team it shouldn't have trouble with. A fast start at New Mexico gave way to a somewhat testy second quarter. As expected, the offense is darn good while the defense has some issues to overcome.

6. Arizona Wildcats -- : Vegas said it would be close. Never bet against the house. Beating UTSA and holding strong down the stretch showed that a defense many believe is undersized -- OK so it did really struggle with the pass rush -- against came through when it counted. Putting Anu Solomon through a test and winning isn't the worst thing in the world.

7. Washington Huskies -- : Quarterback Cyler Miles showed well enough in his first start of the year. Offense isn't the issue. Giving up 52 points to Eastern Washington isn't the best, however.

8. Utah Utes -- : Utah's offense did more damage to Fresno State than the USC Trojans did a week prior despite them running more than 100 plays against the Bulldogs. Comparing such things should be taken with a grain of salt, but the point here is that the Utes' offense is darn good.

9. Oregon State Beavers -- : From ASU to Oregon State, the middle of the Pac-12 is very, very even. The Beavs held off Hawaii, 38-30, this week.

10. California Golden Bears ↑↑: Cal finds itself at 2-0 on the year. Sure, the first win came against a sad Northwestern squad that this week fell at home to Northern Illinois, and this past week the Golden Bears unsurprisingly beat Sac State. Wins are wins. The Cougs would understand.

11. Washington State Cougars ↓↓: Washington State's opponents haven't been completely awful, which is the only reason the Cougs aren't dead last. The improvements seen last year are still in my mind, and this team is better than this. Still, this season is becoming a bit unsettling.

12. Colorado Buffaloes -- : Soon enough, Colorado won't be last. Sefo Liufau is the real deal, and though UMass isn't the most intimidating opponent, beating it on the road this week is a big step forward after the Buffs opened the season with a disappointing loss to rival Colorado State.