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Pac-12 Football Notebook: Week 5 Power Rankings & What To Watch For

What’s new this week throughout the conference?

Stanford v Oregon Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

So, that was a fun week of football! Stanford and Oregon may have delivered a candidate for game of the year this week, while WSU-USC and ASU-Washington also featured great back-and-forth games.

But that is all in the past, and we are onto week 5 prep. So let’s get into the hot topics and see the updated power rankings...

What to Watch For...

#7 Stanford Versus #8 Notre Dame

Sure, this game may have no implications on the Pac-12 championship, but this game will be a huge factor in dictating the Pac-12’s shot at the CFP. Stanford has established themselves as the top competitor for the CFP out of the Pac-12, and this matchup versus the Irish will decide how legit those chances really are.

Notre Dame v Stanford Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Who Will Rise Up From The South?

The Pac-12 North has put forward several quality teams including Stanford, Oregon, and Washington. However, the South hasn’t fared nearly as well in establishing a clear top dog. At some point, you have to wonder which team from the South will make a move for the championship. USC is the preseason favorite, but Arizona State and Colorado have shown flashes of being quality teams, while even Utah could steal the South. We have a lot of maybes, but no definite contender...yet.

Washington v Utah Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

New Member To The Top 25

This week, we saw the Cal Golden Bears creep into the top 25 even though they were on a bye. Cal has been a surprise contender in the North this season, and their introduction to the top 25 cements their status as being a legit squad. Sure, they haven’t faced any conference foes to this point in the season, but it sure has been fun to watch the Bears ascent.

Idaho State v California Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Pac-12 Power Rankings

1. #7 Stanford Cardinal (4-0 Overall, 2-0 Conference)

Stanford pulled out a win in the most exciting game this past weekend in a 38-31 victory over Oregon. KJ Costello was masterful in leading the offense, while Bryce Love had another solid game to keep the Cardinal in it. The defense managed to force several key takeaways on Oregon mishaps that kept their chances alive. There was some luck involved, but all championship teams have a stroke of luck here and there. The Cardinal proved their elite status and have put the nation on notice after this win.

Up Next: @ Notre Dame

Stanford v Oregon Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

2. #11 Washington Huskies (3-1 Overall, 2-0 Conference)

The Huskies found themselves in a dogfight for the 2nd straight week against the Sun Devils. The defense of the the Huskies were the stars in this game, as the Huskies allowed less than 300 yards to a potent Sun Devil offense. Jake Browning performed well enough to keep the Huskies ahead, while Myles Gaskin continued to shoulder the load as he put forward a good day as well. The Cardinal may have all the hype right now, but U-Dub is clawing their way back into the conversation, and cannot be forgotten as Pac-12 play continues to go full swing.

Up Next: Versus BYU

3. #20 Oregon Ducks (3-1 Overall, 0-1 Conference)

The Ducks suffered a crushing overtime loss to Stanford this past weekend. Justin Herbert proved why the NFL should be in love with him and turned in a fantastic performance that put Oregon in a position to win time after time. This was arguably the most complete game the Ducks played all season. Yet, they still couldn’t shake off the turnover bug which ultimately doomed Oregon’s chances. Still, Oregon showed that they should be a team worth fearing and that they can contend with anyone in the conference.

Up Next: @ Cal

4. #24 California Golden Bears (3-0 Overall)

Cal had a bye this past weekend, but still found themselves with a top 24 ranking after the weekend ended. Cal has been a pleasant surprise this season, and their defense has led the way to this point. Cal ranks 6th in the nation in total defense, while ranking 5th in defensive efficiency. The Cal defense is legit, but they will have a serious test this week against Oregon.

Up Next: Versus Oregon

Idaho State v California Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

5. Utah Utes (2-1 Overall, 0-1 Conference)

Utah also had a bye this past weekend. Utah is a team on the fringe of bursting through to the upper echelon in the Pac-12. Remember when I started spitting out statistics about Cal’s great defense? Well, Utah’s is better. Utah ranks first in the ENTIRE NATION in total defense. Utah has possibly the best defense in the entire nation, but can’t figure out how to get the offense going. If the Utes can get the offense going, the conference should watch out.

Up Next: @ WSU

6. USC Trojans (2-2 Overall, 1-1 Conference)

USC finally got back in the win column with a quality victory over a tough Washington State team in a 39-36 battle. JT Daniels finally started to piece things together in a 3 TD performance for the Trojans while Stephen Carr and Vavae Malepeai both added 77 yards rushing to give the Trojan offense some bite. The defense still has some things to figure out, but Trojan fans should be encouraged after this win.

Up Next: @ Arizona

7. Colorado Buffaloes (3-0 Overall)

The Buffs got a rest weekend as they prepare to take on UCLA this week. Colorado also has been a fun surprise team this season. Travon McMillian has been the star of the team so far, while Steven Montez has provided stable QB play to give Colorado a quality offense. Watch out for the Buffs.

Up Next: Versus UCLA

8. Arizona State Sun Devils (2-2 Overall, 0-1 Conference)

ASU had another difficult loss as they were narrowly defeated by the Huskies in a 20-27 Pac-12 After Dark showdown. Manny Wilkins did not play well in the loss, but the Sun Devils rushing attack kept the team in the game. ASU is in a funny spot, as they have some soul-searching to do. They looked incredible at times against MSU, but have suffered 2 back-to-back losses. With more league play on the horizon, ASU will have to figure things out quickly if they want to compete for the Pac-12 South.

Up Next: versus Oregon State

Arizona State v Washington Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

9. Washington State Cougars (3-1 Overall, 0-1 Conference)

The Cougars lost a close matchup against USC this past weekend. Wazzu dominated the possession battle as well as the total yardage battle, but still couldn’t put the Trojans away. Gardner Minshew threw for over 300 yards, but the Cougars as a team failed to eclipse 100 yards rushing. Wazzu has shown glimpses of being a dangerous team, but they still don’t have the rushing attack or a strong enough defense to be consistent in the Pac-12.

Up Next: Versus Utah

10. Arizona Wildcats (2-2 Overall, 1-0 Conference)

Arizona kept the good times rollin as they piled on almost 600 yards against Oregon State, including over 400 rushing yards. JJ Taylor and Gary Brightwell were the stars on offense for the Wildcats, as the 2 backs combined for over 400 yards rushing by themselves. The defense was also a pleasant surprise, as they limited a strong Oregon State offense to just 14 points. It’s tough to say if Arizona has turned the corner as they have beaten up on weaker teams, but the Wildcats are headed in the right direction.

Up Next: versus USC

11. Oregon State Beavers (1-3 Overall, 0-1 Conference)

The Nevada loss may have ripped out Beaver hearts, but this loss against Arizona crushed their souls. The fantastic Beaver offense had no answer for the Wildcat offense, and the Beavers floundered to just 14 points. Conor Blount looked mediocre in addition to an injury. It seems the Beavs will have a QB controversy again once Jake Luton is healthy. To make matters worse, the lethal rushing offense failed to top 100 yards. Finally, the defense was downright atrocious against the run. They could not stop the Wildcat offense. Period. Oregon State displayed arguably one of it’s worst performances of the season this past week. Yes, even worse than Ohio State.

Up Next: @ ASU

12. UCLA Bruins (0-3 Overall)

UCLA got a much needed bye week to try and figure things out. The Chip Kelly era has gotten off to a horrendous start, and the Bruins will need a win soon in order to quell their fans. Not a lot has gone right for this team, so they will be looking for positive signs this week against Colorado.

Up Next: @ Colorado

Week 4 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!