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Pac-12 Confidential

Bud Withers offers an inside look at the Pac-12 Conference and the national college scene.

October 1, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Pac-12 rankings, statistically speaking . . .

1. Oregon (5-0).

Rationale: Who else?

Stat-wise: Ducks average 52.4 points, 14 more than anybody else in the league.

Next: Washington in Eugene Saturday night.

2. Oregon State (3-0).

Rationale: Beavers, now 14th-ranked, are the only unbeaten besides Oregon in the conference.

Stat-wise: Markus Wheaton-Brandin Cooks combo is 2-3 in Pac-12 receiving yards per game, totalling 269 average. And not against stiffs.

Next: WSU at home Saturday.

3. Washington (3-1).

Rationale: ASU’s body of work looks better, but Huskies get it on the basis of a rousing win over a top-10 team in Stanford.

Stat-wise: UW allowing a league-best 60 first downs in the post-Nick Holt era.

Next: At Oregon Saturday night.

4. Arizona State (4-1).

Rationale: Sun Devils still haven’t faced a top-flight quarterback this year. But they’re doing famously against average ones.

Stat-wise: Sun Devils lead in pass efficiency (167.4) and pass-defense efficiency.

Next: At Colorado Oct. 11.

5. Stanford (3-1).

Rationale: Even if Cardinal can’t complete a screen pass (or a fade route, or a slant, or a . . . ) they did beat USC.

Stat-wise: After two straight years of 50-percent-plus third-down conversions, Stanford is worst in the league at 29.8.

Next: Arizona at home Saturday.

6. USC (3-1).

Rationale: Why not?

Stat-wise: With Matt Barkley, Robert Woods, Marqise Lee, Silas Redd and Curtis McNeal, third-down conversion rate of 30 percent, 11th in league, is shocking.

Next: At Utah Thursday night.

7. UCLA (4-1).

Rationale: Bruins have done nicely, but win over Nebraska looks less daunting and they stumbled against Oregon State at home.

Stat-wise: A year after being ninth in Pac-12 total offense, Bruins are No. 1 at 560.4.

Next: At Cal Saturday.

8. Utah (2-2).

Rationale: Somebody’s got to be eighth.

Stat-wise: Utes were last in pass offense in 2011; they’re last in pass offense again, at 190.8 yards a game.

Next: USC Thursday night.

9. Arizona (3-2).

Rationale: Since the benchmark win over Oklahoma State, ‘Cats have been bitten by the state of Oregon.

Stat-wise: LB Jake Fischer leads the conference in tackles with 49.

Next: At Stanford Saturday.

10. California (1-4).

Rationale: In reality, Bears have played mostly below this level. Their only win is over FCS Southern Utah.

Stat-wise: The two-time league leaders in total defense are now No. 12 at stopping the run (174.8).

Next: UCLA at home Saturday.

11. Colorado (1-4).

Rationale: I think most of us would agree Washington State is better than Colorado. But that’s not what the scoreboard said on Sept. 22.

Stat-wise: Buffs rank last in pass-efficiency defense (154.7).

Next: Arizona State at home Oct. 11.

12. Washington State (2-3).

Rationale: At this level, is an explanation really necessary?

Stat-wise: The Cougars had only 17 sacks last year. This year, they’re tied for second with 16.

Next: At Oregon State Saturday.

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