1.) Oregon: Well, what can I say? I was way wrong to think Arizona had a chance against the Ducks. Until they lose, Oregon must be considered the top team in the Pac-12, and, in my opinion, the 2nd best team in the country. Too much speed on offense, as always, and apparently some real grit on defense.
2.) Stanford: The Cardinal will have to settle for the number two spot until the top two teams meet on November 17th, unless Oregon loses to a different team, of course. It’s remarkable how in the end, the top dogs in the conference are still an outrageously fast Oregon team and a power running Stanford squad. So much has changed, and so much has not.
3.) USC: I’m still placing USC above Oregon State, just because I believe that even with one loss, they are the better team. Unfortunately, the two teams never meet in the regular season, so they will always have to be compared indirectly. For now, USC survives with one loss, but they will have to win in a more impressive fashion to regain national title contender type confidence.
Sept. 22, 2012; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oregon State Beavers defensive end Scott Crichton (95) stops UCLA Bruins running back Johnathan Franklin (23) after a short gain in the fourth quarter at the Rose Bowl. Oregon State won 27-20. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
4.) Oregon State: Those plucky Beavers. Not only did the grind out a win against Wisconsin, they even managed to beat fellow upstart UCLA in Pasadena, and this time, Sean Mannion threw for 379 yards. That has to feel good for the fans in Corvallis who have had to deal with a recent period of mediocrity. Apparently, those days are gone. Looking forward, there’s no team that I wouldn’t expect the Beavers to beat until the November 10th game against Stanford. And yes, that includes a game against Washington that is looking increasingly difficult for the Huskies.
5.) UCLA: As I’ve said before, I really like UCLA, mainly because Brett Hundley and Johnathan Franklin are a lot of fun to watch. They may not be undefeated anymore, but really, I think time will tell that this was not a bad loss, and that Oregon State is just pretty damn good. UCLA still knows how to score points, and if they can get that defense figured out a bit (379 yards to Sean Mannion…) I think they still have a good shot against USC in the Pac-12 South.
6.) Arizona State: You can certainly argue that ASU deserves to be above UCLA, but I don’t buy it. It’s starting to look like a loss to Oregon State is a bit more forgivable than a loss to Missouri, but the Sun Devils are still dangerous as one of the five or six Pac-12 teams that have not reached elite status, but may still win 8 or 9 games. Things are getting clearer by the week, but for now it’s still a jumbled mess, and that makes for good football.
7.) Arizona: All of the sudden, the Wildcats are in a fairly similar boat as the Huskies, in that they just got blown out by a very, very good team. Sure, Arizona beat a then-ranked Oklahoma State, but until OSU plays some other games against FBS teams, we don’t even know how impressive that is. I still think Matt Scott and Co. have the ability to win 8 or 9 games, but for now it’s just time to wait and see.
8.) Washington: Well, the Huskies didn’t play, and they don’t move in my rankings. If they manage to beat Stanford, they will rocket up these rankings, but I have to say, if they lose, I’m not sure they will fall much. 2-2, with two wins against mediocre teams and two losses against top-10 Stanford and top-3 LSU, isn’t disastrous, it’s just what you have to expect from what appears to be a fairly average team. If Washington doesn’t like that, they can just go ahead and beat Stanford on Thursday, and I won’t be caught calling them average again.
9.) Utah: Well, this is awkward. Utah was the trendy pick to take Stanford’s spot as the third best team in the conference, and that has not gone well at all. Instead, they are 2-2, with one win against Northern Colorado and another against a BYU team that was ranked #25 at the time of the game, but now sits at 2-2 as well. The most alarming thing about this mediocrity is the 37 points given up to Arizona State in yesterday’s loss. If Utah doesn’t have defense, they have nothing.
Sept. 22, 2012; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils defensive end Davon Coleman (43) celebrates with mascot Sparky after beating the Utah Utes 37-7 at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE
10.) Cal: Wow, 1-3. Can’t blame that entirely on Tosh Lupoi. This is exactly what can happen in this newly ultra-competitive Pac-12. Cal came out flat against Nevada, and since then all they’ve done is win against Southern Utah and lose to two top-15 teams. We will see if that dreadful record is really a product of a tough schedule next week against Arizona State. If Cal can beat the Sun Devils, they deserve some serious credit, but for now, things do not look good for Jeff Tedford.
11.) Colorado: Good for them! I’m not really sure if this win on the road against WSU really represents a turning of the corner, of it really just shows that Colorado has some life and WSU is damn terrible on a level none of us really guessed. I guess it could be a bit of both, but either way, at least the Buffaloes won’t have to hear any talk of 0-12.
12.) Washington State: As Jim Moore put it, “When you lose to the worst team in the country, you’re the new worst team in the country.” Well, if not the country, at least the conference. Maybe the Cougars put it all together later in the season, but for now, they are not scaring anyone. Looking at the rest of their schedule, WSU will probably be picked to lose every game they play the rest of the season.