- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
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If you don't like where you are in the power rankings, play better (we're thinking of adopting that as the power rankings' official slogan).
1. Oregon: The Ducks started slowly -- REAL slowly -- at Tennessee, but then opened up a bottle of kick ax and used a 45-0 run to emerge with a 48-13 win. The Ducks are a decisive No. 1 and they mostly will be on the sidelines this week getting ready for Portland State while the rest of the conference tries to prove its mettle.
2. Arizona: Wildcats quarterback Nick Foles has completed 83 percent of his passes in two games. Sure, he hasn't faced dynamic competition, but it's hard to hit a stationary target from 15 yards away 83 percent of the time. Speaking of dynamic competition: Iowa comes to town on Saturday with one of the nation's best defense. This could become one of those before-and-after games for the program.
3. Stanford: Almost as often as we thought, "Wow, Stanford looks good," during the Cardinal's 35-zip win against UCLA, we also repeatedly considered this: UCLA might be a big reason Stanford looks so good. Stanford shouldn't forget that it went to sleep in the second half at Wake Forest last year and lost a game it seemed to have in hand.
4. California: So Cal fans, should we all get on the bandwagon? Is it safe to make that leap of faith? (Don't think I am not fully aware of your hand-wringing). Because I watched the beatdown of Colorado and couldn't find many things not to like. And get this: Look who's the Pac-10's No. 1 QB. Beware: A visit to Nevada could be tricky.
5. Oregon State: We don't think the Beavers are the No. 5 team in the conference, though the teams that we thought were behind the Beavers in the preseason have closed the gap. But Oregon State drops because it was off last weekend and, to point out the obvious, is 0-1. An impressive win against Louisville should provide a boost with a marquee visit to Boise State ahead.
6. USC: The bottom line is USC is 2-0 without having played a certifiable patsy. But the power rankings aren't about bottom lines. They are about measuring power on a weekly basis, and the Trojans have struggled to consistently show it in two games. In game one at Hawaii, the defense looked terrible. In Game 2 against Virginia, it was the offense.
7. Washington: After a slow start, the Huskies overwhelmed Syracuse and reignited the reasonableness of the position that if things fall into place, an upset of Nebraska on Saturday is possible. Not that we're ready to take that position.
8. Arizona State: The Sun Devils acquitted themselves reasonably well during the preseason (two games vs. FCS teams). This does not look like a team that will be an easy-out in the conference this fall. A visit to Wisconsin, however, will be a huge upgrade in competition.
9. UCLA: The Bruins rank 115th in the nation in scoring. It's hard to win when you rank 115th in the nation in scoring, particularly when the next two games are against Houston on Saturday and at Texas on Sept. 25. Suddenly, Game 5 -- at home vs. Washington State -- takes on an unanticipated and slightly desperate importance in terms of how things might ultimately stack up in the conference race.
10. Washington State: What to say about the Cougars after they rallied to beat Montana State, an FCS team? John Blanchette nails the sane and reasonable position. Instead of another round of forehead slaps, why not enjoy a gutty comeback win?