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Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 4

Taking stock of the Pac-12 Conference after 4 weeks.

NCAA Football: Washington at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Washington (4-0, 1-0) - Colorado jumped out to an early 7-0 lead against the visiting Huskies. Then, in the final 54:36 of gametime, the Washington defense only allowed 3 more points. Washington leads the conference in points allowed (47) and is third in points scores (178). This kind of dominating performance in their first road conference test was enough to put them into the top spot this week.
  2. Southern Cal (4-0, 2-0) - USC struggled mightily with Cal for 3 quarters; the score was tied at 13 all heading into the final frame of football. Then the Trojans rattled off 17 points in a little over 3 minutes of game time to essentially put the game away. This is what makes grading USC so frustrating - they obviously have more talent than anyone else in the league, but have spent the season underperforming. They will face their only big road test of the year this Friday against Washington State, though.
  3. Washington State (4-0, 1-0) - The Cougs sit on this weird tier of the Pac 12 where I don’t think they’re as good as Washington or USC, but do think they’re a step ahead of everyone else in the conference. The upcoming game against USC really is their first major test of the season, and the good news is they get the game at home on a Friday night. The bad news is that USC may have been looking forward to this game last week.
  4. Utah (4-0, 1-0) - The last undefeated team in the conference gets this spot by default, though I’m just not convinced that the Utes are all that good. Kyle Whittingham did get his first win over Arizona this weekend, which means at least someone was able to get a monkey off their back this weekend.
  5. Stanford (2-2, 1-1) - David Shaw owes Jim Mora money for fixing his offense for him. K.J. Costello looks like he could be the starting QB for the Cardinal going forward, and the Stanford offense could return to form going forward. The defense, meanwhile, won’t face an offense as good as the Bruins for awhile, so expect peak Stanford to return any moment now.
  6. UC Berkeley (3-1, 0-1) - Cal didn’t look all that bad against USC. Turnovers from some inexperienced players did the Bears in, but they still played the Trojans to a stand-still for 3 quarters. That’s something to build on for Justin Wilcox’s squad, though now they get some big road tests with trips to Oregon and Washington coming up.
  7. Colorado (3-1, 0-1) - The game against Washington confirmed that the Buffalo have taken a step back from last year, but may still be a top-end team in the conference. A loss to the Bruins, though, might set the rebuild back.
  8. Arizona State (2-2, 1-0) - The Sun Devils showed some fight I didn’t expect them to in their upset of Oregon, but the question I now have is whether that upset was because of said fight, or if Oregon isn’t nearly as good as their hot start made it seem. Right now, I’m leaning towards the latter.
  9. Oregon (3-1, 0-1) - So, it turns out Oregon really hadn’t played a good team through 3 weeks, and in their first true road test under Willie Taggert, came up short. There’s going to be some growing pains for the Ducks, especially with the rough stretch of the season coming up, where the Ducks may not be favored in any game until a matchup with Arizona in the middle of November.
  10. UCLA (2-2, 0-1) - The Bruins are tied for 9th in the nation in scoring offense (45.0) and sit at 125th in the country in scoring defense (43.3). That’s not a recipe for success.
  11. Arizona (2-2, 0-1) - The Wildcats showed some fight in their loss to Utah, but it feels more and more apparent that this is a bottom-tier team. They get a bye week this week, which is nice, at least.
  12. Oregon State (1-3, 0-1) - Hope you enjoyed the bye week, Oregon State, because here comes Washington.