Husky Haul Power Rankings – Week 3


Not a good week for the Pac-12, as all the 2-0 teams who went on the road lost this week. Obviously, from a Husky perspective, I was disappointed by the loss at Nebraska. But, that was to be expected. Perhaps the most disappointing loss for the conference as a whole was the complete ineffectiveness of the Arizona State offense against Illinois. So much for the Sun Devils pushing for “elite” status. Otherwise, things really turned out pretty much as expected, as the expected blowouts were blow outs, UCLA continues to look bad, and the Cougs Coug’d it again…

1. #6 Stanford (37-10 win at Arizona)- It’s never easy playing in Tucson in September. Despite the night starts, the temperature is often still hovering around 100 degrees at game time and still in the mid-80’s by the end. Nonetheless, the Cardinal went down and demolished a team that some said could challenge for the Pac-12 South title. Stanford is really showing they are the class of the Pac-12 this season and that game against at home against Oregon Nov. 12th is looking more and more like the true marquee match up of the entire season. The biggest problem with divisions is that when the top two teams in a conference are in the same division, someone gets screwed out of the championship game.

2. #12 Oregon (56-7 win over Missouri State)- Oregon did exactly what they were expected to, with their each win over Missouri State at home. They didn’t score nearly as many points as I expected they would and I was surprised they gave up a 84-yard drive for a TD on the Bear’s first possession. Oregon is certainly back to #2, but they have not shown they are on the same level as Stanford yet. Now, let’s see what these Ducks can do down in the desert when they play Arizona next week. Will they be able to match Stanford’s dominance? The Wildcats are reeling and they have to beat Oregon if they have hopes of challenging for the Pac-12 South title.

3. USC (38-17 win over Syracuse)- USC was efficient and effective against the weak Syracuse defense. Matt Barkley finally started throwing like we all know he is capable of, as he threw for 324 yards and 5 TDs. In the weaker Pac-12 South, this week’s game may be the “marquee” match-up of the division this season, when USC heads to Tempe to play Arizona State. One might think ASU will be motivated to take the Trojans out after the disappointing loss at Illinois this week. It will probably be nearly 100 degrees at game time, but if USC can’t get motivated for this game, than this probation season will really be a waste.

4. Utah (54-10 win at BYU)- I hated putting Utah down at #8 last week and in all honesty should have had them at #5 or #6. This week they earned it with a dominating win over rivals BYU in Provo. I know BYU is down a bit this year, but talk about a statement by the Utes! Utah’s final second road loss to USC is looking all the better with USC now 3-0. Utah now gets a chance to rest up with a bye week before hosting Washington the following week. I have a bad feeling about this game for the Huskies, who will be coming off a tough game against Cal the week before.

5. Arizona State (17-14 loss at Illinois)- The Sun Devils went up into Big Ten country to play Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and fell completely flat. It wasn’t like they were playing Nebraska or Wisconsin. The offense was ineffective and they did not seem to play with any swagger. This was definitely disappointing for the reputation of the Pac-12. But, the Sun Devils get their chance to start the Pac-12 season off on the right track when they host USC next week.

6. California (63-12 win over Presbyterian College)- I figured Cal would score more points, but clearly they let off the throttle in the 4th quarter. The defense held PC to only 48 total yards. That’s pretty good, even against a weak FCS team. Now that they have finished playing with the Blue Hose, the Cal Bears can really start to show everyone what they are made of with that road trip up to Husky Stadium to play Washington in their Pac-12 opener (the game against Colorado notwithstanding). If they can beat the Huskies on the road, then I’ll start to take them seriously.

7. Washington (51-38 loss at Nebraska)- I was impressed by the perserverence of the Huskies on the road. They were down right away and came back. Had some calls go against them (punt interference? Really?) and yet they just kept coming with a never say die attitude. Had they not had that 3rd quarter meltdown, they had a legitimate chance to win this game. This is the kind of game that would have been a blowout in past years. Now the Huskies will have their chance to show their continued progress when the undefeated Cal Bears come to Seattle for UW’s Pac-12 opener.

8. Arizona (37-10 loss to #6 Stanford)- I thought Arizona was going to be better than this. Some people thought the wildcats had a chance to win the Pac-12 South. But, at home in the heat of the desert against Stanford with a real chance to make a statement, they couldn’t even keep it close. Yes, Stanford is the class of the conference. But, with a real chance to show something, they were dominated. They won’t rise above #8 until they beat someone. The good news is that they’ll have another chance with Oregon coming to town next week. The bad news is that Oregon is coming to town ready to put the smack down.

9A. Washington State (42-24 loss at San Diego State)- Coug’d it. I told you didn’t I? I just didn’t see the Cougs going down to San Diego and escaping with a victory. They lead at halftime and showed they are clearly improved from years past. But, their defense was picked apart by the Aztecs in the second half and that is something they need to fix before the Pac-12 season gets going. The Cougs now get a bye week to work on that before their Pac-12 opener on the road against Colorado. That’s going to be a hard one to predict. But, it will be a statement game for both programs to get their first Pac-12 win.

9B. Colorado (28-14 win over Colorado State)- It was closer than many expected, but the Buffaloes got their first win of the season against their in-state rivals. Now with that confidence, the Buffaloes get the pleasure of heading into Columbus to be destroyed by the Buckeyes. Maybe Ohio State is down a bit this year, but something tells me this game won’t be pretty. I hope they save something and don’t get too hurt knowing that the following week the improved Washington State Cougars are coming to town.

11. UCLA (49-20 loss to #23 Texas)- Got the beatdown at home by Texas most people expected. The Bruins continues to look pretty bad and I am really starting to think Rick Neuheisel is on his way out of FBS coaching. There is no excuse for UCLA to be this bad given all the inherent advantages of playing in Westwood. On the bright side, they get to play Oregon State on the road in their Pac-12 opener next week, so they could still open Pac-12 play undefeated.

12. Oregon State (Bye)-  The Beavers got 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 this week. 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.