clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Pac-12 Power Rankings: North is disgusting, Los Angeles shines and Arizona schools have some work to do

It's still too early to overreact, but the Pac-12's performance in week one was very telling

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Some shakeup from the preseason power rankings as we end week one of college football. We learned that the Pac-12 North is absolutely terrible, and the Arizona schools definitely showed their weaknesses this weekend. Here's the power rankings from last week if you wish to look back and compare.

1. USC Trojans

Previous ranking: 1

The Trojans ran like a well-oiled machine this weekend and played exactly how you would expect them to vs. Arkansas State. A consistent run game and a lot of options at receiver give their offense balance. Their defense has quite a few freshmen playing and they performed well, including corner Iman Marshall. The Trojans were pretty much on cruise control and hold down their spot No. 1 spot for this week. They get Idaho in week two.

2. UCLA Bruins

Previous ranking: 5

I'm hopping on the Bruins bandwagon here.  The big question heading into the season was their quarterback situation and we quickly learned that Josh Rosen will have no problem competing in the Pac-12. Yes, they played a terrible Virginia team, but Rosen made his reads, delivered quick strikes and placed his throws in a 34-16 win

They'll be getting Ishmael Adams back sometime this season, which only adds to their returning core and playmaking abilities. And as of now, Arizona should be very concerned with opening Pac-12 play vs. UCLA in just three weeks.

3. Oregon Ducks

Previous ranking: 2

The Vernon Adams debut turned out great for Oregon, putting up 61 points vs Eastern Washington. Adams took a cheap shot from one of his former teammates, but said he is good to go for next week's showdown at Michigan State.

The problem with Oregon was their defense, which allowed 42 points to an Eastern Washington team that didn't have their dynamic quarterback from last season, Vernon Adams.

Oregon can put up the points, that'll be no problem. Vernon Adams can work his way through the Oregon system that allows quarterbacks to thrive, but it'll be their ability to make key stops throughout the game that could get them in trouble this season.

4. Utah Utes

Previous ranking: 6

A pretty big, unexpected jump from the Utes this week. Utah probably isn't getting as much credit as they should be for this Michigan win. Had Michigan won, the media would have hyped up how underrated the Pac-12 South is, how Utah is a good team, and how Jim Harbaugh went into Salt Lake City for his first win.

Travis Wilson was not impressive, and neither was Devontae Booker, nor was Andy Phillips, but it was Utah's stingy defense that led the way, snagging three interceptions, one going the distance.

5. Arizona State Sun Devils

Previous ranking: 4

This game should have easily been won by ASU, despite the scoreboard displaying a 21 point loss. The offense was atrocious, with their offensive linemen being spun around by the pass rush and a plethora of dropped passes in the open. The defense showed some good signs, although both Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray were extremely inconsistent. Both Murray and Allen exposed ASU's pass rush, often fleeing the pocket and picking up massive yardage, extending drives.

This is a total confidence drainer for Arizona State, you would think. Todd Graham talked all summer long about how they're focused on A&M, expectations of being a national contender and Pac-12 champion. It's still early in the season, and ASU really had nothing going for them all night long, but that was possibly the worst game ASU could have possibly played, and you would expect them to bounce back.

6. Arizona Wildcats

Previous ranking: 3

Arizona definitely taking a hit in the power rankings, but the way the Pac-12 shook up, six seems fair. How dare I put ASU above us, right? But I look at it like this: If the two were to play next week, ASU would definitely beat Arizona. ASU did lose, but they lost to a pretty good A&M team who looked like a true SEC West team.  Now, with the current defensive situation, Arizona will get better through these non-conference games.

The offense finally found some rhythm, and despite many beliefs, I think Anu Solomon did show some improvement. Yes, he'll have to cut down on his overthrown passes, which likely would have gone for six points, but he showed a lot more poise. His offensive line did him and Nick Wilson no favors, but Solomon was able to extend plays and escape the pressure to avoid sacks. Johnny Jackson emerged as a primary target, and Arizona will get Samajie Grant back, and hopefully Trey Griffey and Tyrell Johnson soon.

Now, Arizona's defense was miserable on Thursday, but they don't win without the defense, courtesy of the Anthony Lopez and Jamar Allah scores. But Arizona gave up 32 points to UTSA, who was able to string together some long, sustained drives by throwing right over the linebackers and underneath the corners. Mixed in with some runs, Arizona had their hands full on defense. Injuries did plague Arizona early on, and the loss of Scooby Wright III definitely dropped the intensity, but the defense is young, and will need more time to mesh and build chemistry, especially these next two games.

7. California Golden Bears

Previous ranking: 8

California covered the 51 point spread over Grambling State, and they seemed to do everything as well as they could have. Now, there is a fairly steep drop off from Arizona to Cal ,and Cal to the next team in the rankings, UW.

The Pac-12 North is an absolute mess right now, and for those thinking Cal might be a surprise team, you might be right. But that is largely due to the fact that the north is absolutely terrible. California has one of the toughest schedules in the nation, but they draw SDSU next week and should have no problems.

8. Washington Huskies

Previous ranking: 9

Somehow, a loss to Boise State moves Washington up, but again, the Pac-12 North is miserable. Washington was absolutely terrible vs. Boise State until the second half, totaling just 61 yards of offense. To end the night, Washington only had 29 yards rushing on 22 carries, and just 150 yards through the air from their freshman quarterback. And it's not like Boise State has a stout defense either.

UW missed on a pretty long field goal to send the game to overtime, which would have made for some pretty great #Pac12AfterDark. They get Sacramento State next week, and I wouldn't count UW a lock here the way the Pac-12 North is looking.

9. Oregon State Beavers

Previous ranking: 12

Oregon State didn't lose to Weber State, which almost automatically moves them up here to No. 9. With a halftime score of 6-0 for the Beavers, it had me thinking that Oregon State might actually lose, much like they did to Eastern Washington a few years ago.

They seem to have a rushing game, albeit against Weber State, and Gary Andersen is definitely easing in his true freshman quarterback into the offense. They head up to Michigan next week, so this could be Oregon State's peak for the season.

10. Stanford Cardinal

Previous ranking: 7

I said last week that it was hard for me to buy into Stanford this season, and wouldn't be surprised if they lost to Northwestern. I didn't understand why people were picking them to be a threat in the Pac-12 and some even going as far as winning the Pac-12.

Stanford was absolutely pitiful. Well they lost, and it was their offense that doomed them. Six points. Just two field goals. Now, maybe Northwestern isn't absolutely terrible, but Stanford looked totally lost. Their offense has never been stellar with Kevin Hogan, but you could usually expect 13-27 points from Stanford week in and week out. Stanford is known for their defense, but they lost way too much experience to graduation and it showed.

Stanford draws UCF, who lost to Florida International last week, so this should be a good one. Warning: If Stanford loses that game they are automatically at No. 12 in next week's power ranking.

11. Colorado Buffaloes

Previous ranking: 11

Colorado is lucky that Washington State is absolutely terrible. You would think losing to Hawaii would give you the honors of being the worst team in the Pac-12, but nope. Washington State out did them.

12. Washington State Cougars

Previous ranking: 10

Washington State lost to Portland State at home. That's pitiful. The Cougars might have solidified their spot here for the next few weeks. They head to Rutgers this week and Wazzu managed to lose that game at home last year, so there's that.