- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
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If you don't like where you are in the Power Rankings, play better.
1. Oregon: The power rankings are about reacting to the latest games as well as the cumulative body of work and general perception of butt-kicking ability. The Ducks are now tops in all three. And after witnessing Mark Helfrich's tour-de-force presser following his team's bludgeoning of Tennessee, reporters realized we've still got some Chip Kelly wiseacre to enjoy.
2. Stanford: Stanford falls behind due to style points. Of course, Stanford knows that winning, if continued, will conquer style. The Cardinal just needs to keep doing the former, starting with an interesting visit from Arizona State on Saturday.
3. UCLA: The Bruins now own the highest quality win in the conference with Saturday's emotional 18-point come-from-behind victory at Nebraska. Furthermore, how the Bruins took care of business -- 38 consecutive points? Are you kidding me?! -- was freaking impressive on both sides of the ball. Jim Mora and his staff seem to be pretty good in a halftime locker room.
4. Washington: The Huskies took care of business on the road against a solid Illinois team. After Idaho State, the visit from Arizona on Sept. 28 will present a big test for both teams.
5. Arizona State: The Sun Devils looked like the superior team against Wisconsin, but that doesn't change the fact they nearly blew it and -- let's face it -- got lucky with how things went down at the end with Pac-12 officials Larry, Curly and Moe. Still, it was a good win since the scoreboard says it was. Now, what can the Sun Devils do on the road against Stanford?
6. Washington State: The Cougars should improve to 3-1 on Saturday against Idaho. Then they get Stanford in Seattle, the first of four consecutive games against North Division foes. It's a tough stretch, but it certainly looks closer to a potential 2-2 run than it did in August. And two wins puts the Cougs one win away from bowl eligibility with four games to play.
7. Arizona: The Wildcats have been the quietest team in the conference because they played three weak nonconference opponents. They have looked pretty good, with an improved defense being particularly noteworthy. But we still don't know these guys and won't until they go to Washington on Sept. 28.
8. Oregon State: That was a big, clutch win at Utah. A potential season-changer. The preseason perception was the Beavers had a good shot at a 7-0 start. It's not unreasonable to be leaning toward ending up 6-1 now, particularly if QB Sean Mannion keeps doing his NFL QB-looking thing. Next up is a visit to a San Diego State team that can't -- please, Beavs, no! -- can't be overlooked.
9. USC: Not unlike Oregon State getting off the carpet, the way USC handled Boston College was enough to suggest it's premature to throw in the white towel for the Trojans' 2013 season. Clancy Pendergast's defense has been dominant, for one. And just maybe the offense is starting to figure things out.
10. Utah: Ouch. So many "what ifs" from the home loss to Oregon State. A great comeback, only to fall in overtime. Again, ouch. It's probably good news that a visit to BYU is up next. That's a big emotional game, and the Utes need to move on from a big emotional game.
11. Colorado: The grudge match with Fresno State was canceled due to major flooding -- unquestionably the right call, by the way -- so the renewed Buffs were on the sidelines and again will be off this week. It will be interesting to see how two consecutive weekends without a game will affect the visit to Oregon State on Sept. 28. That's a sneaky interesting game.
12. California: The Bears are the only team in the conference with a losing record, though that is a function of tough scheduling against a pair of ranked Big Ten teams in two of the three weeks. If Cal had played Arizona's schedule, it would be 3-0 and we'd be celebrating new coach Sonny Dykes and true freshman QB Jared Goff. But, as it is, the 1-2 record stands as the only available body of work. And that defense? Pretty yucky so far, injuries or not.
1dKevin Gemmell and Erik McKinney