Husky Haul Power Rankings – Week 2


Was last week an anomaly? The Pac-12 seemed to do much better in taking care of business against a tougher slate of games this week. When was the last time the two teams from the State of Washington were a combined 4-0? Are we starting to get a clearer picture of the players and pretenders in the Pac-12 this year? To me, it seems like we have 2-3 elite teams and a bunch of teams in that 4-9 ranking that are very difficult to tell apart right now. But, I’ve got to put them somewhere, so let’s take a look at this week’s rankings:

1. #6 Stanford (44-14 win at Duke)- Now the real business begins. They crushed Duke on the road, with the Blue Devil’s only scores being a Pick-6 on a bad throw by Andrew Luck early and a late TD with all the Stanford reserves in. Now the Cardinal have a chance to make a real statement that they expect to win the Pac-12 this year by playing against Arizona down in Tuscon. If they can deal with the intense heat (despite it being a night game) and beat a team believed by some to be a challenger for the Pac-12 South Division, it will definitely send a message to the league that Stanford is for real and a challenger for a possible national title.

2. Arizona State (37-30 win over #21 Missouri in OT)- The Sun Devils showed that they will definitely be one of the challengers for the Pac-12 South with a win over a ranked opponent. Next we’ll see how the Sun Devils can do outside of the heat of Tempe as they hit the road to play Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. The Fighting Illini are not necessarily the cream of the crop of the Big Ten, but any game on the road against a BCS-conference opponent is going to be a challenge. After playing two FCS teams last year and thus missing out on a bowl, ASU made sure they scheduled much tougher this year.

3. #13 Oregon (69-20 win over Nevada)- OK, the Ducks made their statement against Nevada that they can blow out lesser opponents when they get mad. They’ll get another chance, against an even lesser opponent, when the unheralded (almost unheard of) Missouri State Bears come to Auzten Stadium next week. Who will take the over/under at 70 points?

4. USC (23-14 win over Utah)- Another close, low scoring game in Los Angeles this week for USC. Perhaps being on probation is killing their enthusiasm or maybe it is Lane Kiffin. With as much talent as they continue to assemble, the Trojans just don’t seem to be wow’ing anyone right now. I honestly hate having them in the 4-spot based on these two lackluster performances. But, a win-is-a-win and their talent continues to make them a very dangerous team going forward. They will get another chance to earn a win without impressing us when they play 2-0 Syracuse next week.

5. Washington (40-32 win over Hawaii)- Do I really think UW is the 5th best team in the Pac-12 right now? Not really, but everyone in the middle is so bunched up its hard to discern who is better. Point is, they are 2-0 right now for the first time in a while. The Huskies certainly had their hands full with the Warriors this week. Keith Price was on fire and throwing like we all expect a Husky QB to do. Chris Polk was back to his normal self. But, can our defense please stop opposing QB’s from throwing for over 300 yards and going 80% on 3rd down conversions? The Huskies certainly looked improved and more enthusiatic compared to their performance against Eastern. Did you guys notice how the Huskies were stacking the line to the leftside on all PAT’s Hawaii took? It resulted in 2 blocks and a defensive 2-pt conversion. Clearly they saw something on tape and they took advantage of it. Now let’s see what kind of character this team has as they head to Lincoln to play Nebraska. Somehow I have a feeling it won’t turn out well…

6. Washington State (59-7 win over UNLV)- Da-a-amn!! Is Paul Wulff finally getting the Cougars back on track? After crushing one of the weakest Big Sky teams last week, they stepped it up to FBS-levels and absolutely obliterated UNLV in Pullman. Is Marshall Lobbestael the second coming of Ryan L…I mean Drew Bledsoe? Despite the competition, those massive numbers of points they are scoring is still impressive given the last few seasons in the Palouse. What’s even better is how they are preventing the other team from scoring with their defense. Granted, UNLV isn’t exactly BCS-level material (losing 51-7 the week before to Wisconsin), but still a win’s a win and that matters to Coug fans. Now, let’s see what these Cougs are all about when they finally hit the road to play San Diego State.

7. California (36-30 win at Colorado in OT)- What a thrilling finish in Boulder! Although it won’t count in the Pac-12 standings, it does give Cal a nice 2-0 start to the season. Depending on how you want to look at it, they probably should be rated #5 (better than UW and WSU) at this stage. But, I feel like we still need to see more to know how legit this team is. Now that that funky non-conference game against a Pac-12 opponent is over, California can now get to the serious business of playing the Presbyterian College Blue Hose. Add your punchline here…Will the Golden Bears put up 70+?

8. Utah (23-14 loss at USC)- I really don’t like having Utah down at #8 right now. They went into Los Angeles and gave USC all they could handle, including having a chance to tie it at the end on that field goal that was blocked and returned for a TD…or not. But, a loss-is-a-loss. Now we have a better sense for what our new Pac-12 brothers are like over there. My feeling from this game is that they and USC are two middle of the pack teams in the Pac-12 South who won’t wow anyone, but might be able to challenge for the division title with Arizona State and Arizona. Now the Utes get to have a “blast from the past” by driving down to Provo to play BYU. Question is; does Utah consider this rivalry to be as important now that they are in the Pac-12? One thing is for sure, I’d bet BYU fans want to beat Utah even more after being rejected by the Pac-12 and left behind in the MWC (soon to be independent).

9. Arizona (37-14 loss at #9 Oklahoma State)- Last week I mentioned that I thought maybe I was too harsh on Arizona by ranking them 8th in the power rankings. Nonetheless, I was still taken to task by a Wildcat fan for doing so. Well, Arizona certainly did not show they should be ranked significantly higher this week against Oklahoma State. Granted, it was a road game against a very good team. There is nothing wrong with losing a game like that. But, this is the second consecutive beat-down by the Cowboys (36-10 in the Alamo Bowl) and the dominance that OSU showed on defense clearly brought Arizona back to Earth. Nick Foles and the Wildcats have a chance to make a real statement that they deserve to be considered Pac-12 South contenders if they can beat #6 Stanford at home next week.

10. Colorado (36-33 loss to California in OT)- People better start paying attention to Colorado. They have played two straight games down to the wire (remember, they were down just 7 points at Hawaii last week in the 4th quarter before UH put it away late). Tyler Hansen fits right in as a Pac-12 QB throwing for 474 yards this week. Don’t let that 0-2 record fool you. This Colorado team might just knock off some folks this year, so Pac-12 opponents better be prepared. I suspect they will finally get their first win against a relatively weak (albeit 2-0) Colorado State in Denver this week.

11. UCLA (27-17 win over San Jose State)- As muddled as the middle of the Pac-12 is, at least we know that UCLA fits in nicely near the bottom. As bad as most of us expected UCLA to be this year, to barely beat San Jose State at home? Stanford clobbered the Spartans and UCLA barely escapes. Puts some perspective into things. Guess who’s next? #24 Texas rolls into the Rose Bowl with revenge on their minds after last season’s upset. On the bright side, they get to play Oregon State on the road in their Pac-12 opener after that…

12. Oregon State (35-0 loss at #8Wisconsin)- Ouch, not even a single point. We all knew Wisconsin was going to blow them out in Madison, but still… The Beavers get a week off to lick their wounds and then will have a chance to get their season going when they host the UCLA Bruins at Reser Stadium. That is definitely a winnable game. It might just be their most winnable conference game this season. If they can’t win that one at home, they may not win any!