Now that we have a few games in the ledger, let’s start the Pac-12 Power Rankings.
As a reminder, the power rankings are what I consider a snap shot of conference at this moment. It’s not a predictor of how the league race will finish nor will we take into consideration events in the distant past.
The rankings are different than the polls, which take into account preseason expectations and measures teams on the entirety of the season results.
So with that, here’s a handicap of the Pac-12.
No. 1 Colorado (4-0 record, 23 AP, 6 RPI, 25 Sagarin rating, 48 Pomeroy rating) — The Buffaloes entered the AP poll at No. 23 this week. It’s the first time they’ve been ranked in the AP poll since the 1996-97 season. It’s also the first time CU has been ranked before the conference season in 42 years. The last time was Dec. 30, 1969. Looks like sophomore Askia Booker, who was named the P12 Player of the Week, will take over the scoring responsibilities from departed senior Carlon Brown. Booker is averaging 17.8 points.
No. 2 Arizona (3-0, 10, 55, 22, 25) — Coach Sean Miller has an embarrassment of riches. The Wildcats don’t have anyone averaging more than 14 points or 30 minutes and it’s likely to be like that all season. Arizona can go nine deep. The non-conference schedule is set up for a great start. Solid road tests at Texas Tech and Clemson before No. 7 Florida visits McKale Center on Dec. 15.
No. 3 UCLA (4-1, 11, 40, 36,17) — Losing David Wear to a back injury forced the Bruins to start ballyhooed freshman Shabazz Muhammad on Tuesday. He didn’t disappoint and scored a game-high 21 points to lead UCLA to a win. What will coach Ben Howland going forward. He likes playing the Wear twins (Travis and David) together when many observers believe they shouldn’t be on the court at the same time. Lost in the Muhammad saga is Jordan Adams’ amazing start. He’s averaging 19.6 points.
No. 4 Oregon State (3-1, — 61, 60, 62) — If Devon Collier plays the way he did during last week’s New York homecoming, then he’ll be an all-conference pick and the Beavers will make their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1990. Collier had 27 points and 14 rebounds against Purdue and 21 and 6 vs. Alabama. Still, OSU has to overcome the season-ending injury suffered by center Angus Brandt.
No. 5 California (3-0, — , 84, 44, 43) — The Golden Bears haven’t really been tested so far. That’s going to change in two weeks when they play a three-game stretch that includes Wisconsin, No. 18 UNLV and No. 14 Creighton. Still Cal can boast the two leading scorers in the Pac-12 right now. Allen Crabbe is averaging 26.7 points and Justin Cobb 20.7.
No. 6 Oregon (4-0, — , 18, 70, 70) — We’ll know much more about the Ducks after Friday’s game at No. 18 UNLV. Just like Cal, Oregon hasn’t really been tested in four home games. Still it’s been good experience for the Ducks freshmen backcourt that includes Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson, who each average 10 points and 25 minutes.
No. 7 Washington (2-2, — , 30, 45, 67) — There’s no shame in losing by 11 at a neutral site to No. 3 Ohio State. The loss at home to Albany is the only blemish on the Huskies’ record. If not for that game, UW would be considered one of the top teams in the Pac-12. Washington plays seven of its next eight games at home not including a road trip to KeyArena to face Seattle University. The three-week stretch should allow the Huskies a chance to regain some momentum heading into the Pac-12 season. … Aziz N’Diaye leads the conference with an 11.8 rebounding average.
No. 8 Stanford (3-1, — , 34, 55, 51) — The Cardinal lost at home to Belmont, which is a big black eye on its record. No one knows yet how good Belmont is and the same is true for Stanford. Thursday’s game against No. 13 Missouri should answer some questions. Junior 6-10 forward Dwight Powell scored 27 points in the opener and had 14 in the second game. However, in the past two games he’s scored six and two points.
No. 9 USC (3-1, — 126, 92, 158) — It’s difficult to explain away a 30-point loss in a neutral site to Illinois, otherwise the Trojans would rank a little higher on this list. But USC managed to bounce back and beat Texas in overtime Tuesday night and plays Marquette today. If the Trojans beat Marquette, then they’ll salvage a road trip that began awfully. It’s surprising Jio Fontan is averaging just 7.5 points and is the fourth leading scorer on the team.
No. 10 Arizona State (3-0, — , 159, 138, 199) — So far redshirt freshman Jahii Carson is living up to the hype. He’s averaging 18.7 points, which is fourth in the conference. Coach Herb Sendek promised to open up the offense and the Sun Devils scored 97 points in an easy win over Florida A&M. After beating up on tomato cans, ASU faces Arkansas on Friday and could meet either Wisconsin or No. 14 Creighton on Saturday.
No. 11 Utah (1-1, — 334, 217, 308) — The Utes are still waiting for former Rainier Beach standout Aaron Dotson (foot injury) to return. He could return next month. Meanwhile Glen Dean, another former Rainier Beach standout, leads Utah in scoring at 13.0 per game.
No. 12 Washington State (2-3, — 222, 117, 121) — At some point, the Cougars will learn how to win close games. If not, coach Ken Bone won’t have a job much longer. Last season, WSU was 4-7 in games decided by six points or less. This season, the Cougars have a three-game losing streak, including two losses decided on the final possession. WSU has the only losing record in the Pac-12. To make matters worse, DaVonte Lacy has a knee injury and missed Tuesday’s game.