Not a ton of change in the rankings this week. But that could change after Saturday as the Pac-12 — like most every other conference — starts to get into the heat of the schedule with almost everyone playing a game that could start to really define its season.
1, Stanford — Cardinal remains at the top, but the rebuilt O-line isn’t looking quite as stout as last year’s — though that was obviously a lot to ask. Game at Arizona Saturday will tell a lot.
2, Oregon — Ducks got the expected breather against Nevada and now get an even easier task against Missouri State. And I still look at the schedule and figure Oregon will be 7-1 when it rolls into Seattle on Nov. 5.
3, Arizona State — We’ll move ASU up a notch. But the Missouri game should have been more convincing — the Devils continue to be their own worst enemy. Game at Illionois Saturday night could be tricky.
4, Cal — Bears drop a notch after needing overtime to win at Colorado. Good news is that it had the offense to win a shootout — Zach Maynard looks more and more like the answer at QB. Bad news is that a defense some thought could be the best in the Pac-12 was beaten all over the place by Colorado’s passing game, particularly rising star WR Paul Richardson.
5, USC — Boy, a nine-point win sure looks a lot better on paper, doesn’t it? USC got a lot of good fortune to beat Utah, and hardly seems to be playing to its potential. If the Trojans don’t soundly beat Syracuse Saturday then it may really be time to start questioning what’s going on.
6, Washington — Huskies got off the mat against Hawaii, though the way it ended still leaves a little reason to wonder. No reason to wonder, however, about Keith Price. And UW gets a chance to prove itself anew Saturday at Nebraska.
7, Utah — Utah seems to have the defense to compete in the Pac-12. But Jordan Wynn and his evolving passing has Utah’s offense producing a little less than expected so far. A tough test at BYU this week before a bye and then hosting Washington
8, Washington State — Cougs haven’t played anyone yet, but the numbers and the margin of victory can’t be completely ignored. WSU has beaten bad teams the way that good teams do. Saturday’s game against an underrated San Diego State team, however, will tell an awful lot.
9, Arizona — Wildcats looked outclassed last week against Oklahoma State, and are in danger of falling out of things in a hurry without some rapid improvement as they now host Stanford and Oregon and then play at USC and Oregon State.
10, UCLA — That San Jose State was still in the game in the fourth quarter felt like something of a defeat for UCLA fans — the few that were there, anyway. Bruins need a strong showing against Texas or things could derail in a hurry.
11, Colorado — Buffs showed lots of life against Cal and showed that Richardson may be one of the better players no one has heard of in the conference, if not the country. But hard to put an 0-2 team much higher. That should change this week, however, as the Buffs play Colorado State in Denver.
12, Oregon State — Beavers were a train wreck in Wisconsin and now are officially turning things over at quarterback to Sean Mannion. A most fortuitous time for a bye.