In a week that featured almost all non-conference matchups for our Pac-12 teams, the conference had a rather poor non-conference showing. Of nine non-conference matchups scheduled for the Pac-12, they came away victorious in just four of those games. Granted, one of those wins was a BIG one. So one must wonder how these matchups affected our power rankings...
12. Arizona Wildcats (0-2 Overall, 0-0 Conference)
Everything nice I said about the Wildcats last week just about went completely out the window after this game. The offense was completely inept and the defense had no answer for the Aztec offense that eclipsed 450 total yards. To make things worse, Gunner Cruz started and was downright atrocious at times. Jedd Fisch ended up benching Cruz in favor of Will Plummer late in the third quarter and while he wasn’t much better, he did well enough to earn the starting nod against Northern Arizona this coming weekend. In addition to starting completely from scratch in terms of competitiveness, the Wildcats now have a QB controversy on their hands. Arizona is in a tough place right now where they’re hunting for any positives. It doesn’t help that they can’t even get fans into the stadium correctly, as some fans waited 45 minutes in line and missed kickoff due to a lack of employees to scan tickets.
Next Game: vs Northern Arizona Lumberjacks
This is inexcusable. @Dave_Heeke owes a massive apology to everyone. Fans, players, coaches…everyone. pic.twitter.com/REIKVH2HNl— Tucson Tomorrow (@TucsonTomorrow) September 12, 2021
11. California Golden Bears (0-2 Overall, 0-0 Conference)
Cal dropped another very winnable game against TCU this past weekend. It’s been back-to-back weekends where the Bears have played hard and nearly secured a W. Cal has a lot to be hopeful for after this weekend. The offense was sharp with Chase Garbers notching two touchdowns and over 300 yards passing to secure an impressive 91.4 QBR. Damien Moore also scored two touchdowns himself as the entire offense cleared 400 total yards while remaining turnover-free. It was the defense that dropped the ball for Cal as they allowed 34 points and over 500 yards of offense to the Horned Frogs. The Bears have to be encouraged with their offensive performance. Justin Wilcox will get the defense sorted out and if the offense can maintain this production, the Bears could quickly bounce back.
Next Game: vs Sacramento State Hornets
10. Washington Huskies (0-2 Overall, 0-0 Conference)
Quite honestly the most disappointing team in the conference to date, the Huskies dropped another game against Michigan where they really weren’t competitive after the second half. Washington held tough to a 10-0 deficit at the half, but the wheels quickly fell off once the second half started. The score ballooned to 24-3 by the third possession of the second half and the Wolverines never looked back. Dylan Morris was sharper than in the first week but it still wasn’t enough to keep pace with Michigan. The offense has struggled mightily to find a groove to start the season. The Huskies will be looking to bounce with a Sun Belt Conference opponent coming to town for a hopeful tuneup game. Though the Huskies week one performance against Montana means not even this game is a guarantee for the Huskies.
Next Game: vs Arkansas State Red Wolves
9. Washington State Cougars (1-1 Overall, 0-0 Conference)
Washington State got into the win column with a comfortable win against Portland State. The Cougs offense operated well with Jayden De Laura running things, as he threw for 303 yards and three touchdowns on the day. Max Borghi received the bulk of the snaps as the main tailback, but it was actually Deon McIntosh who was the most efficient runner, topping 64 yards on just eight carries. The rushing attack of Cougs proved to be a major strength in this game, tallying three touchdowns and over 150 yards. The defense was not good, to say the least. However, this is the trend we see from Wazzu; allow a lot but score even more. Still, notching their first win of the season is a big boost for the Cougs.
Next Game: vs USC Trojans
8. Oregon State Beavers (1-1 Overall, 0-0 Conference)
The Beavs poured it on Hawai’i to get in the win column for the first time this season. The offense was incredibly sharp as Chance Nolan threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns. In addition to Nolan’s great game, the rushing attack was fantastic for Oregon State; B.J. Baylor rushed for 171 yards and three touchdowns as the entire team accumulated over 250 rushing yards. Just about everything the offense was doing was working. Did the defense allow some points? Sure. But by the time Hawai’i started putting points on the board, the score was already 31-7 in the third quarter due to some rotation of backup players to let up off the gas. This was about as complete of a game that the Beavs could have asked for and will hope to keep the momentum rolling as Idaho comes to town this weekend.
Next Game: vs Idaho Vandals
7. Utah Utes (1-1 Overall, 0-0 Conference)
The Utes recorded their first loss of the season against BYU this past weekend. Moving the ball was a challenge for the Utes, as they scored just 17 points and less than 350 total yards of offense. Charlie Brewer turned in a rather mediocre performance but the offense was kept alive by an impressive game from running back Micah Bernard. The freshman running back ran for 146 yards to go with a touchdown. Fun fact, Bernard rushed for one less yard than Brewer threw for (I guess that stat isn’t so fun for Brewer). The defense held up well, but wasn’t helped by an offense that turned the ball over twice and was inefficient throughout the night. This was a tough loss for the Utes, but it’s still a long season and this team will look to bounce back quickly.
Next Game: @ San Diego State Aztecs
6. Stanford Cardinal (1-1 Overall, 1-0 Conference)
So all the bad things I said about Stanford last week are completely out the window after their performance against USC. I don’t know if David Shaw and crew read my comments, but this looked like a completely different Stanford team that throttled the Trojans. Sophomore QB Tanner McKee was excellent and played extremely efficient for the Cardinal with two touchdowns and a 97.7 QBR. Another standout performer was tailback Nathaniel Peat who recorded 115 yards rushing on just six carries. The Stanford defense also played well as they kept a potent USC offense in check and even recorded a pick-six. This game showed the ceiling of Stanford this season and if they keep performing like this, they could hang with any team in the conference.
Next Game: @ Vanderbilt Commodores
5. USC Trojans (1-1 Overall, 0-1 Conference)
On the flipside of everything nice I just said about Stanford, comes the meaner things that I have to say about USC. They were flat-out boatraced this weekend against Stanford. Kedon Slovis was very average this weekend and didn’t bring any spark for the Trojan offense. The rushing offense was strong and clocked in 185 yards, but that wasn’t translated to points. The strange point about this game is the USC defense held Stanford to less than 400 yards while the offense outgained Stanford, the problem was that the Cardinal were extremely opportunistic while the Trojans didn’t have such luck. The embarrassing loss culminated in the firing of Clay Helton, and now the immediate outlook of this season is incredibly uncertain for USC.
Next Game: @ Washington State Cougars
4. Colorado Buffaloes (1-1 Overall, 0-0 Conference)
A loss and the Buffs jump way up? Hear me out, the Buffs hung tough with the fifth ranked team in the nation in Texas A&M and nearly pulled off the upset this past weekend. The Colorado defense was the star of the game as they held the Aggies to just 10 points and 288 total yards. In addition, they were constantly in the backfield with a sack, 14 combined pressures and hurries, and five TFL’s. Unfortunately for the Buffaloes defense, the offense was putrid all game long. With less than 100 yards passing, the passing attack was no threat to A&M. Despite a 10-7 loss, this game should be extremely encouraging for Colorado as they know they can hang with some of the top teams in the nation. Watch for the Buffs to try and make noise in the conference this season.
Next Game: vs Minnesota Golden Gophers
3. #19 Arizona State Sun Devils (2-0 Overall, 0-0 Conference)
The Sun Devils took care of business against UNLV this weekend and Jayden Daniels was electric throughout the night. He accounted for 300 total yards by himself with 175 passing yards and 125 rushing yards. It’s performances like this that gets the ASU coaches fired up about the ceiling of Daniels as well as the rest of this offense. Running back Rachaad White also had a solid game with two TD’s and 90 yards rushing on the evening. The defense arguably had one of the most impressive performances of the evening by allowing just 155 total yards to UNLV. The Sun Devils defense was lights out all game long. An impressive game from ASU but they will undoubtedly be tested with a ranked matchup against BYU motivated by a win against Utah.
Next Game: @ #23 BYU Cougars
2. #16 UCLA Bruins (2-0 Overall, 0-0 Conference)
UCLA enjoyed a bye week after their major win against LSU. They will prepare for Fresno State this weekend at the Rose Bowl
Next Game: vs Fresno State
1. #4 Oregon Ducks (2-0 Overall, 0-0 Conference)
After UCLA recorded a monumental win against LSU, the Ducks seemingly topped that game with another contender for most important win of the season by any Pac-12 team. The Ducks went into Columbus, Ohio and toppled the third ranked Buckeyes to record a statement win that Oregon has been seeking for some time. And all of this was done without Kayvon Thibodeaux and stud linebacker Justin Flowe. The Ducks leaned on CJ Verdell and the rushing game to take control of the game with over 250 rushing yards and three touchdowns throughout the contest. The defense played well enough without two key players to limit a dangerous Ohio State offense to 28 points and the Ducks even recorded a clutch interception late in the fourth quarter. All-in-all this is a massive win for Oregon and firmly entrenches them as a playoff contender. The Ducks should be the odds-on favorite for the conference champs at this point in time.
Next Game: vs Stony Brook Seawolves
What are your thoughts on this list? Is one team ranked too high? Too low?
Give your thoughts in the comment section!