The Pac-12 wasted no time diving into it’s usual madness. The South took care of business, the North... did not follow suit. How will that shake up our power rankings? Keep reading to find out...
12. Arizona Wildcats (0-1 Overall, 0-0 Conference)
The 2021 season was expected to be a rough year for the Wildcats, but Arizona showed they have a good amount of fight in them. The Wildcats managed to keep it to a one-score game and keep the Cougars offense to 368 total offensive yards. In addition, Arizona seemed comfortable rolling with Gunner Cruz at QB. He gave the Wildcats good production with 336 passing yards to go with one touchdown. Not much was expected of UofA heading into this season, but they have shown signs of life after week one.
Next Game: vs San Diego State Aztecs
11. Washington State Cougars (0-1 Overall, 0-0 Conference)
The Cougs also were locked into a battle against Utah State that they very easily could have won. The Cougar offense wasn’t as explosive as we’re accustomed to seeing from Wazzu. Part of this problem is tied to a rocky start at the QB position. Jarrett Guarantano started for the Cougs but suffered an injury after the fourth drive of the game, bringing Jayden De Laura into the game. While neither was lighting the world on fire, De Laura displayed a bit better comprehension of the offense. Max Borghi is still the catalyst of that Cougar offense and feeding him the ball is a great idea for whoever is taking the snap from center. Combine a messy offense with some questionable play-calling and you have a mixed bag of positives and negatives to start the year for the Cougs.
Next Game: vs Portland State Vikings
10. Stanford Cardinal (0-1 Overall, 0-0 Conference)
This past weekend was about as horrible of a start that could’ve happened to Stanford. The offense was completely inept and had nothing going all game and failed to top 250 total yards. The defense did the best they could and kept Kansas State to 24 points and less than 350 total offensive yards, but they had no help from the offense. The Cardinal rotated between Tanner McKee and Jack West at quarterback but neither made big waves in the offense. In addition, the usual staple Cardinal running game was non-existent and didn’t even hit 40 yards rushing. Stanford starts the year on a sour note and will have no time to recover, as they travel to take on the Trojans next weekend.
Next Game: @ #15 USC Trojans
9. California Golden Bears (0-1 Overall, 0-0 Conference)
Cal also started the year on an uneven note despite remaining competitive against the Nevada Wolfpack. QB Chase Garbers played a rather flat game to open the year, throwing for 177 yards on 25 completions to go with one touchdown and one interception. The rushing attack actually showed signs of life as the Bears accrued 153 rushing yards as a team with Damien Moore leading the production with 79 yards on his own. The defense held it’s own against a highly-touted NFL prospect in Carson Strong and limited the Wolfpack to 22 points. The Golden Bear offense would always be the Achilles heel of this team and week one was a perfect example of that. The defense will be strong but as long as the offense struggles to find a footing, Cal should prepare for more results like this one.
Next Game: @ TCU Horned Frogs
8. Oregon State Beavers (0-1 Overall, 0-0 Conference)
Oregon State had arguably the toughest opponent of the Pac-12 teams to start their season with a loss, which is why they still rank at this point. There were plenty of pros for the Beavs but, also, plenty of cons to go with our start to the season. Sam Noyer was dubbed the starting quarterback but was downright putrid running the offense. The offense took major leaps forward once Chance Nolan came in and replaced Noyer, leading the offense to two touchdown drives within a quarter and a half of play. The production of Nolan assuredly means the Beavs now have a full-blown QB competition, again. The defense left a lot to be desired for an experienced squad such as this. The Beavs start the year with more questions than answers to their team, but will have two very winnable games coming up to hopefully iron out some issues before conference play.
Next Game: vs Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors
7. Colorado Buffaloes (1-0 Overall, 0-0 Conference)
Our first winning team of the weekend! The Buffs welcomed Northern Colorado to town and handled business against them. The total offensive stats won’t blow you out of the water, but there were bright spots on an offense that totaled 35 points in this game. Running back Jarek Broussard totaled over 100 all-purpose yards to go with a touchdown and was the standout player of the game. The Buffs defense also came to play and limited Northern Colorado to 256 total yards and only one touchdown. Now, this is a team Colorado should beat. But it’s still encouraging to see the Buffs handle business. The first real test of the season comes this weekend against Texas A&M.
Next Game: vs #6 Texas A&M Aggies
6. Washington Huskies (0-1 Overall, 0-0 Conference)
The Huskies suffered a hands-down contender for one of the worst losses of any Pac-12 team this season. After heading into this as a contender for the Pac-12 title, and possibly even a playoff run, U-Dub lays a dud of a game and loses to a Big Sky Conference opponent. The offense was completely incompetent as it accumulated less than 300 total yards and turned the ball over three times. QB Dylan Morris was expected to take a step forward this year but instead looked awful against the Grizzlies. The Husky defense was strong and did a good job keeping Montana to less the 250 total yards and only 13 points. Unfortunately, they had no offensive help. Washington can certainly bounce back, but you have to question how legit of a team Washington is after a loss like this.
Next Game: @ Michigan Wolverines
5. #23 Arizona State Sun Devils (1-0 Overall, 0-0 Conference)
The game started a little slow, but the Sun Devils picked things up quickly to handle business against Southern Utah. The defense was the star of the game with four turnovers and only allowing 224 total yards. One of the more impressive sights of the weekend was how much production was evenly spread out across the offense. Jayden Daniels only tallied 132 passing yards passing because six different players on the ASU offense reached double digits in rushing yards, with four hitting 30 or more yards. The offense was incredibly well balanced on it’s path to 41 points. Two turnovers are the only concern for the Sun Devil offense. Otherwise a really good day for Arizona State fans.
Next Game: vs UNLV Rebels
4. #21 Utah Utes (1-0 Overall, 0-0 Conference)
Another team that handled business this past weekend was the Utes. The Utes scored 42 points while accumulating 450 total offensive yards while their defense allowed 17 points and 270 total yards to Weber State. The stars of the offense were Charlie Brewer and running back Tavion Thomas who totaled four touchdowns between the two players. Utah was expected to be a contender in the South, so wins like this should be expected. It still is an encouraging sign that a Whittignham-led squad is in good shape to start the season.
Next Game: @ BYU Cougars
3. #16 UCLA Bruins (2-0 Overall, 0-0 Conference)
Hands down one of the best games to witness was UCLA handling LSU at the Rose Bowl this past weekend. The Bruins looked in control nearly the entire game, and the end result seemed to be a sure thing by the start of the fourth. The UCLA offense was running smoothly all game long as Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Zach Charbonnet put on a show against the Tigers. The offense was electric on it’s way to scoring 38 points. UCLA made a statement that they are legit contenders in college football and they will be a storyline to watch all season long. Plus, shoutout to the UCLA Football digital team for the wonderful troll video on Ed Orgeron.
Next Game: Bye
Geaux Bruins. pic.twitter.com/xDZNpNN0Dc— UCLA Football Recruiting (@UCLAFBRecruit) September 5, 2021
2. #12 Oregon Ducks (1-0 Overall, 0-0 Conference)
The Ducks were the only Pac-12 North team to register a win but did so in a heart-stopping fashion. The Ducks barely edged out Fresno State in a 31-24 game that was way too close for comfort. As for the worst points of the game for Oregon, the offense just squeaked past 350 total yards and Kayvon Thibodeaux went out with an injury by halftime. Anthony Brown was pedestrian in his performance this week as well. All in all, the Ducks performed sub-optimally and barely avoided getting upset. Perhaps the Ducks were looking ahead to Ohio State, but they clearly overlooked Fresno State this weekend and were given a proper wake-up call.
Next Game: @ #4 Ohio State Buckeyes
1. #14 USC Trojans (1-0 Overall, 0-0 Conference)
USC kept it’s head and prevailed against a San Jose State team that is no pushover. Kedon Slovis looked like he was shaking away some offseason rust but still managed to accrue 250 yards passing and two touchdowns. The rushing attack also looked strong between Keaontay Ingram and Vavae Malepeai. The offensive line allowed two sacks and two more hurries on Slovis, so it’s worth monitoring to see how much that offensive line has actually improved. At the end of the day, the Trojans handled the Spartans and didn’t do anything to drop themselves from the one spot. They’ll face Stanford at home in a game that is always a challenge for the Trojans. Perhaps we’ll see how the Trojans react to a closer contest against better competition.
Next Game: vs Stanford Cardinal
What are your thoughts on this list? Is one team ranked too high? Too low?
Give your thoughts in the comment section!