- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
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If you don't like where you are in the power rankings, play better.
Yeah... talking to you, Oregon State.
1. Stanford: Thought about moving Oregon up just because Stanford didn't play, but the Cardinal's opponent on Saturday -- boredom -- was better than the Ducks' (Nicholls State). San Jose State is not a foe to take lightly.
2. Oregon: The Ducks did what they were supposed to do: dominate in every way. Now things ramp up over the next two weeks, starting with a looooong trip to Virginia, which beat BYU in its opener.
3. Washington: The Huskies move up from No. 6 after turning in the conference's first win over a ranked nonconference foe. Now can they remain at these lofty heights after they take a week off?
4. UCLA: The Bruins posted a quality win over Nevada, so the big debate this week was whether the Bruins should be No. 3. Arguable. But if you look at the schedule, UCLA has a perfect trip on Sept. 14 to establish itself high up in the early conference pecking order: at Nebraska on Sept. 14.
5. Arizona State: The Sun Devils fell from No. 3 because they didn't play. Sorry. That's how the power rankings work. Things move around every week. A win over Sacramento State won't reveal much, either. But thereafter things get interesting, starting with Wisconsin on Sept. 14.
6. USC: The win at Hawaii wasn't very revealing. The defense looks better than in 2012, but the lack of clarity at QB is an issue, and it will remain so until coach Lane Kiffin decides the Maxwell Smart intrigue he is generating around the position isn't worth it.
7. Utah: The Utes move up two spots with a quality victory over Utah State. There are still plenty of questions -- injuries to WR Kenneth Scott and LB Brian Blechen are big -- but the improvement of QB Travis Wilson is grounds for optimism. While the Utes shouldn't overlook Weber State, Oregon State's visit on Sept. 14, which now seems much more winnable, could become the linchpin for both teams' season.
8. Arizona: The Wildcats pretty much did what everyone expected against Northern Arizona. Now they head to UNLV, a slightly tougher test, as it's never easy to win on the road, particularly with a new starting QB. Still, we won't know who Arizona is until it visits Washington on Sept. 28.
9. California: Cal had its chances against Northwestern, and freshman QB Jared Goff certainly flashed promise, but a pair of pick-sixes did in the Bears. The Bears defense, though missing a handful of starters, was a bit of a disappointment, as was the O-line, which yielded four sacks and didn't run block very well after the first drive. Cal has Portland State before Ohio State comes to town on Sept. 14.
10. Washington State: The Cougars surely have a lot of regrets from their Auburn trip. It was a game they could have won, if not for a few mistakes. Winning at USC on Saturday would be a red-letter victory Mike Leach could hang his hat on. That said -- and you know Leach and his players would never say this -- another competitive performance could be enough for this team to buy into its improvement.
11. Colorado: Buffs, congrats on rising from the basement. That was a quality win over Colorado State. Now don't blow it by overlooking Central Arkansas.
12. Oregon State: Bad Beavers! Bad! Very bad. We projected a 7-0 start. Now, with the defensive showing against Eastern Washington, we have no idea. The first step toward redemption is taking out frustrations on Hawaii.