Another week, another slate of tough games in the Pac-12. There were more blowouts than we’d like to see, but there were still plenty of fun games.
It’s now time to regroup and break down week 6 topics and look at a totally new power rankings that have shifted quite a bit this week...
What to Watch For...
Rise of the Sleeper RBs
So we knew about Bryce Love and Myles Gaskin as superstar RBs in the Pac-12, but this season has churned out several surprise RBs that have taken this conference by storm. Jermar Jefferson of OSU, JJ Taylor of Arizona, and Eno Benjamin of ASU have separated themselves with the most rushing yardage totals in the Pac-12. Now, half of Benjamin’s yards came against Oregon State, but these 3 RBs have still been pleasant surprises to the rest of the conference. Unless you have to play against them. Then that sucks.
Is There Hope for Playoffs?
After Stanford’s tough loss to Notre Dame, the Pac-12 Conference is in serious limbo for having a chance at the CFP. The Cardinal served as the conference’s best chance until their recent loss. Still, not all hope is lost. Oregon, Washington, and even Stanford still have an outside chance. Any of these 3 could make it into playoffs. This scenario would almost certainly mean that 1 team would have to go undefeated and be crowned Pac-12 champion, in addition to some outside help. So we’re saying there’s a chance...
Another Surprise The Top 25
Last week, Cal cracked the top 25. This week, we get the Colorado Buffaloes in the top 25. The conference has had several teams break into the rankings, but Colorado has been the only team to be undefeated in the conference to this point in the season and be ranked. Will it continue? Probably not, the Pac-12 is too difficult of a conference to navigate without a loss. But is it fun to watch Colorado? Absolutely. The only L the Buffs have taken this season was when Chip the Buffalo took a T-shirt cannon to the family jewels. Keep climbing, Buffs.
Pac-12 Power Rankings
1. #10 Washington Huskies (4-1 Overall, 3-0 Conference)
U-Dub took care of business against the upstart BYU Cougars in a 35-7 victory. Sure, it was a ranked matchup, but any college football fan worth their salt knew this result was coming. The Huskies beat up on BYU for 4 quarters, and retook the top spot in this series of Power Rankings due to Stanford’s loss. Jake Browning had a solid game for the Huskies, while Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed each tallied over 80 yards rushing and combined for 3 TDs. The Huskies have found themselves in a winning streak after their opening season loss, and that win total should increase this week against a weak UCLA squad.
Up Next: @ UCLA
2. #14 Stanford Cardinal (4-1 Overall, 2-0 Conference)
Stanford did not look good this weekend from the get-go. Notre Dame quickly piled the points early on, and the Stanford offense just couldn’t get anything going against the Notre Dame defense. Bryce Love had a decent game for the Cardinal, but he still hasn’t looked like his old self this season, and it has severely hindered Stanford’s offense. Stanford is still among the top teams in this conference, and the loss does nothing to Stanford’s chances in the Pac-12 North, but it does severely hurt any chance the Pac-12 had of being represented in the CFP.
Up Next: Versus Utah
3. #18 Oregon Ducks (4-1 Overall, 1-1 Conference)
The Ducks topped a tough Cal team this past weekend in a 42-24 contest. Justin Herbert turned in a good game against an elite Golden Bear defense. He continues to establish himself as the top QB in this year’s draft class and is propelling the Ducks offense. The main stars, however, were RBs Travis Dye and CJ Verdell, who each accumulated over 100 yards rushing in the winning effort. This game was Oregon’s most complete effort of the season, and they now get a bye to recover.
Up Next: Bye
4. #21 Colorado Buffaloes (4-0 Overall, 1-0 Conference)
The Buffs took down UCLA with relative ease this past weekend. Colorado has come out of nowhere to be the surprise team of the conference up to this point in the season, and are the biggest risers in this week’s power rankings. Their efforts in the season have been rewarded with their first appearance in the top 25 this week. Travon McMillian continued to be the workhorse of the Buffs, and has developed into a star within the conference. Steven Montez had himself a big performance with 3 total TDs combined with over 400 yards of total offense. Colorado will face their toughest test of the season against the Sun Devils this week.
Up Next: Versus ASU
5. Washington State Cougars (4-1 Overall, 1-1 Conference)
After losing a tough matchup a week ago, the Cougars flipped the tables this week and won a tight matchup against Utah. Gardner Minshew continues to be a star under Mike Leach’s system, as he threw for over 400 yards again in this game. The Utes were arguably the toughest team Wazzu has had to face, and the Cougs pulled out a tough win. Look for them to light up the scoreboard next week against a shoddy OSU defense.
Up Next: @ OSU
6. USC Trojans (3-2 Overall, 2-1 Conference)
USC topped the Wildcats in a close matchup in the desert. It seems almost every week that USC has another RB go off, and this week it was Aca’Cedric Ware’s turn to have a monster game. The senior RB rushed for 173 yards and 2 TDs. The defense also turned in a solid game to give the offense a chance to win the game. Ware’s efforts helped get USC the dub, and they will now have a bye to regroup before conference play.
Up Next: Bye
7. California Golden Bears (3-1 Overall, 0-1 Conference)
After receiving a top 25 ranking last week, Cal came crashing back down to Earth as they were handled by the Ducks this past weekend. The stingy defense of Cal received a harsh reality check as they allowed almost 500 total yards to the Ducks. The standalone star for Cal came to be sophomore QB Brandon McIlwain, who rushed for 123 yards in the game. That’s almost as many yards as he passed for (128, if you’re curious). Easily the biggest reason Cal stumbled against Oregon was turning the ball over 5 times in this contest. Those mishaps will have to be corrected if the Golden Bears want to get back into the win column this week.
Up Next: @ Arizona
8. Arizona State Sun Devils (3-2 Overall, 1-1 Conference)
Arizona State had a bounce-back game against Oregon State this past weekend. This came in large part to the Sun Devils rushing for almost 400 yards in this contest. Sophomore RB Eno Bejamin ran for 312 yards and 3 TDs by himself. Those are video game numbers. The ASU offense has been solid all season, yet the defense still has some work to be done. This week presents an interesting matchup for ASU as they face the resurgent Buffaloes.
Up Next: @ Colorado
9. Utah Utes (2-2 Overall, 0-2 Conference)
The Utes have quickly dropped 2 back-to-back conference match-ups after a tough loss to Wazzu this past weekend. Utah is still in the thick of a tight Pac-12 South competition, but the last 2 losses have hurt a team that many thought would be a sleeper team in the Pac-12. The defense shut down the Cougs run game and allowed 0 yards. Seriously, 0 yards rushing on the day. The only problem? The Utes allowed over 400 yards passing, which doomed their chances. The road won’t get any easier for Utah, as they will take on one of the elite teams in the conference in Stanford this next weekend.
Up Next: @ Stanford
10. Arizona Wildcats (2-3 Overall, 1-1 Conference)
Arizona dropped a close matchup against the Trojans this weekend, and have started looking like a bottom dweller team in the conference this season. The offense of the Wildcats was ultimately flat, and weren’t able to keep up with USC. The lone bright spot came from the defense that forced 3 turnovers. That same defense, however, allowed 450 yards. The Wildcats have a lot of issues that need to be ironed out before Kevin Sumlin can even think about bowl contention.
Up Next: versus Cal
11. Oregon State Beavers (1-4 Overall, 0-2 Conference)
Welp, we knew the defense was bad. But I don’t think any of the writers at BTD thought it was allow-400-yards-rushing bad. The Beavers defense was absolutely clueless this past week, as they have been most of the season. Smith and co. have their work cut out for them in fixing that entire unit. The offense offered more life this week and provided encouragement to OSU fans. Jermar Jefferson continues to be a prodigy for Oregon State, as he rushed for another 200+ yards in this game. However, the passing game was inefficient, again. Conor Blount again proved that he offers little to the Oregon State passing game, as he failed to eclipse 150 yards passing. The good news, though, is I heard Washington State doesn’t like to run the ball, perhaps then we won’t allow 100 yards rushing.
Up Next: Versus WSU
12. UCLA Bruins (0-4 Overall, 0-1 Conference)
So the Chip Kelly experiment has gotten off to a very bad, no good, dirty rotten start at UCLA. That probably should’ve been expected as none of the recruits there fit the Kelly scheme. Still, UCLA dropped to 0-4 in a not-so-close game against Colorado. The offense can’t score, and the defense can’t stop anyone. That doesn’t equate to a winning combination. Don’t expect things to get much better, as UCLA has to face the Washington Huskies next.
Up Next: Versus Washington
The season is humming along now, and there’s no stopping this series of articles. What will you be looking for this weekend? Agree or disagree with the new Power Rankings?
Sound off with your thoughts in the comments below!