Now that we have concluded the preseason position rankings, it is time for the first installment of Husky Haul’s weekly Pac-12 power rankings!
Our staff, comprised of Jesse Kennemer, Erik Erickson, Paul Somerstein, Jackson Safon and myself, Evan Webeck, submitted ballots. First place votes are worth 12 points, second place is 11, and so on. In the future, I’ll use this space to summarize the previous week’s action and look ahead to next weekend.
1. Oregon Ducks (0-0) 58 votes (3 first place)
As long as new head coach Mike Helfrich doesn’t quack under the pressure of BCS Bowl expectations, the Ducks have all the talent in the world, and are the favorites to win the Pac-12. The combination of Marcus Mariota and De’Anthony Thomas should prove to be lethal to opponents.
2. Stanford Cardinal (0-0) 57 votes (2 first place)
Now that the Cardinal have their quarterback situation sorted out, unlike the start of last season, there’s no reason to believe they won’t be the cream of the crop in the Pac-12. Well, other than Oregon, but we’ll know which team prevails on Nov. 7 in Palo Alto.
3. UCLA Bruins (0-0) 47 votes
Out of the five teams that comprise the middle of the Pac-12, UCLA probably has the toughest schedule. Luckily for the Bruins, they also have the best quarterback of the group in sophomore Brett Hundley.
4. Arizona State Sun Devils (0-0) 44 votes
Outside of Oregon, ASU has the best duo of running backs in the conference. It won’t have to rely on them heavily, though, as Taylor Kelly has also proven to be a top-notch QB. We’ll know what we have in ASU after the first six weeks of the season, in which they face Wisconsin, Stanford, USC and Notre Dame.
5. Washington Huskies (0-0) 41 votes
The key to the season may be on Saturday, when the Huskies host No. 19 Boise State in the grand reopening of Husky Stadium. Should the Huskies impress, they’ll see themselves rocket up the polls and power rankings, but none of it will matter if the team still can’t win on the road.
t6. USC Trojans (0-0) 34 votes
Rarely, for a college team, is the head coach the biggest question mark. But Lane Kiffin has proven to be a disappointment for USC. With arguably the most talent in the conference (outside of QB), if Kiffin doesn’t win this year, he could see himself out of a job.
t6. Oregon State Beavers (0-0) 34 votes
Surprisingly, the only tie of the poll, especially in such a deep conference. The Beavers finally announced Sean Mannion would be their starting quarterback in Week 1. Don’t be surprised to see Cody Vaz step in if Mannion doesn’t perform, though. At least they’re one step ahead of USC, in that they’ve actually named their starting quarterback.