After another great week of football, we take a moment to break down what we saw in the Pac-12 while getting prepped for the upcoming weekend.
As week four gets ready to roll, so do we. We are back with our top headlines and power rankings.
What to Watch For...
Clay Helton and the Trojans have gotten off to a tough start to their 2018 campaign. The Trojans were expected to contend for the Pac-12 South after winning the Pac-12 altogether in 2017. However, the departure of Sam Darnold and several other key contributors has weighed heavily on USC. JT Daniels was a 5-star QB recruit for USC who has been expected to lead a supposedly potent USC offense, yet the Trojans have faltered under hefty expectations. One has to wonder how Clay Helton will right the ship after being handled by Texas this past weekend.
Conference Play Begins
This weekend marks the first true weekend of all conference play. This will mark the beginning of weeding out the contenders and pretenders. All Pac-12 followers can admit that conference play can tear teams apart. Thus, this allows us to see who can really stand apart from the rest of the league.
Who are the True Playoff Contenders?
3 weeks through the season only 2 teams from the Pac-12 that are ranked have a legit chance at the CFP: Stanford and Oregon are still undefeated while having a top 25 ranking. Stanford has several respectable wins against San Diego State and USC, while Oregon has a name pedigree that is appealing to to the committee. Washington still has a chance, but the loss against Auburn means U-Dub would have to run the table against a tough Pac-12 slate for a chance. As it stands, Stanford has to be considered the favorite for a Pac-12 team in the playoffs, with Oregon not too far behind.
Pac-12 Power Rankings
1. #7 Stanford Cardinal (3-0 Overall, 1-0 Conference)
The Bryce Love-less Cardinal got off to a rocky start versus UC Davis, but eventually found their footing and took care of business in a 30-10 victory over the Aggies. UC Davis has been a respectable FCS team this year, and were a handful for the Cardinal in the early going of this contest. KJ Costello had a horrible start as he threw two picks within the first 10 passes, but came around and tossed two TDs. The Cardinal are about to hit a grinder of a schedule in the next few weeks, so we will see what this team is made of very soon.
Up Next: @ Oregon
2. #10 Washington Huskies (2-1 Overall, 1-0 Conference)
The Huskies took a hard-fought win against the Utah Utes this past weekend. The defense of U-Dub stole the show as the Utes never managed to get anything going the entire game. The Husky offense didn’t perform as well as expected, but the Utah defense probably played a factor in restricting Jake Browning and company’s success. The Huskies are a well oiled machine right now and are looking to keep things rolling against the Sun Devils next week.
Up Next: versus ASU
3. #20 Oregon Ducks (3-0 Overall)
The Ducks found themselves in a competitive game against San Jose State this past weekend. Justin Herbert was inconsistent again as he completed less than 50% of his passes for 300 yards with three TDs, but two interceptions. The Ducks inability to put away San Jose State may cause some concern, but this is still a lethal offense that can put up points even when sputtering. The Ducks will receive their first true test of the season this weekend as Stanford comes to town.
Up Next: versus Stanford
4. Washington State Cougars (3-0 Overall)
The Cougars are the biggest risers this week as they have strung together three strong wins. After a 59-24 win over Eastern Washington, the Cougs are rolling. Gardner Minshew threw for 470 yards this game, and managed to avoid turning the ball over as well. EWU has been a historically strong FCS team, so this was no joke of a matchup for Wazzu. The Cougars will face a test this upcoming week against the Trojans who will be eager to bounce back after another loss.
Up Next: @ USC
5. Utah Utes (2-1 Overall, 0-1 Conference)
Utah suffered a tough loss against an elite squad in the Huskies. Utah was never out of the game, thanks to their defense. But the offense was never able to do much against the stout Huskies defense. Turning the ball over 3 times doesn’t help the Utes’ effort, either. The offense failed to accrue even 150 passing yards, and didn’t have a single rusher over 70 yards. Utah will get a bye this weekend to rest and collect themselves before taking on Wazzu.
Up Next: Bye
6. California Golden Bears (3-0 Overall)
Cal took care of business against Idaho State this weekend as they rolled up 45 points. Chase Garbers played very well as he racked up three passing TDs for Cal. The defense for the Golden Bears wasn’t as stout as they have been in the past few weeks, but part of that was due to the fact that the Bears started putting in second stringers midway through the 3rd. The Bears continue to be one of the pleasant surprises of the conference, and they will have a bye week before their first conference game against Oregon.
Up Next: Bye
7. Arizona State Sun Devils (2-1 Overall)
After a tremendous win against the Michigan State Spartans, Arizona State suffered a tough loss against San Diego State to yank them from the top 25. Manny Wilkins turned in another solid game for the Sun Devils with 341 passing yards and 2 TD. But the defense for ASU couldn’t support the offense, as they allowed 440 total yards to the Aztecs. This is a brutal loss for Herm Edwards and his team, but they will have a chance at redemption as they head to Seattle to take on the Huskies
Up Next: @ Washington
8. Colorado Buffaloes (3-0 Overall)
The Buffs keep rolling after they took down UNH 45-14. The star of this game turned out to be RB Travon McMillian. The senior RB gained 162 yards on 15 carries with 2 TDs. McMillian carried the Colorado offense and kept the winning streak going. The defense also had another strong showing, and Colorado is quickly becoming a team worth respecting in the Pac-12.
Up Next: Bye
9. USC Trojans (1-2 Overall, 0-1 Conference)
USC suffered a much worse loss against the Texas Longhorns than against Stanford. The Longhorns piled on almost 400 total yards and 37 points in the beat down on USC. JT Daniels never found a groove and was unable to get the USC offense going throughout the game. Sure, he passed for over 300 yards, but a good chunk of that came in garbage time. The running game was outright atrocious, as the Trojans compiled negative five rushing yards as a team. If you’re wondering, your vision is just fine, NEGATIVE FIVE yards total rushing. Yikes. The Trojans offense is in free-fall and needs some sort of bounce back against the surging Cougars
Up Next: versus WSU
10. Arizona Wildcats (1-2 Overall)
Arizona finally got back in the W column against SUU. Khalil Tate and the offense gathered over 600 total yards and 62 points in the winning effort. Tate looked more like himself as he threw for 349 yards and five TDs. The defense is still a cause for concern, as they gave up over 400 yards and 31 points to the Eagles, but at least the Wildcats are winning. Arizona will start their conference play against the Beavers this upcoming weekend.
Up Next: @ OSU
11. Oregon State Beavers (1-2 Overall)
Well, that was a tough loss, to say the least. Even though the end result wasn’t what we wanted, this was a big step forward for Oregon State. If this was last season, UNR would have piled on 60 points and the Beavs would have been out of it by the 2nd quarter. Oregon State fought the entire game and put themselves in a position to win at the end of the game. Jake Luton returned and played well for the Beavs with 284 yards and a TD. The defense is still a glaring weakness, and is a massive work in progress for Jonathan Smith.
Up Next: versus Arizona
12. UCLA Bruins (0-3 Overall)
UCLA is in a full free fall after getting beat up by Fresno State, 38-14. The Bruins turned the ball over four times, and couldn’t stop the Bulldog offense all night. Dorian Thompson-Robinson and the Bruin offense looked lost again in the game. Chip Kelly’s tenure has gotten off to a horrific start, and they will get a much-needed bye to recollect themselves before conference play.
Up Next: Bye
Week three is finished and week four is up next 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!