Monday, October 19, 2009
Pac-10 power rankings
By Ted Miller
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
We have a new No. 1, and California moves up. UCLA falls into the dreaded No. 9 spot after starting Pac-10 play 0-3.
1. USC: The Trojans have now beaten two ranked teams on the road and are back in national title contention, rising to No. 4 in both polls. While they made things unnecessarily interesting at Notre Dame, it's clear that they are elite on both sides of the ball.
2. Oregon: The idle Ducks fall out of the top spot, but their eyes shouldn't be focused on the Trojans. A visit to what figures to be a very angry Washington squad on Saturday will be a considerable obstacle. It's been a while since Washington had a chance in this bitter rivalry, and Husky Stadium is certain to be rocking.
3. Arizona: The Wildcats were fortunate to beat Stanford, but they will be quick to note they deserve some good fortune. If not for that "Immaculate Deflection" at Washington, Arizona would be comfortably in the Top 25 and tied atop the conference standings. As it is, quality wins over Oregon State and Stanford aren't too shabby.
4. Oregon State: Beavers fall a spot during their bye week -- recall Arizona won at Reser Stadium. They visit USC on Saturday. One school of thought is the Trojans will be focused and out for revenge after what happened last year in Corvallis. The other school might note that all those new Trojans starters might be emotionally spent after the win at Notre Dame.
5. California: It was only a win at sagging UCLA -- and the Bears are still only 1-2 in the conference -- but there was enough about the way Cal played to suspect this team is rising again. The Bears play three of their next four at home, with Washington State coming to town on Saturday.
6. Arizona State: Know why winning sloppy is so good? 'Cause it's winning! The Sun Devils' bowl hopes got a huge boost with the win over Washington. Now, how will that physical defense deal with a road trip to Stanford, a physical team that figures to be a bit angry this week?
7. Stanford: If someone had said the Cardinal was going to gain 584 yards at Arizona, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who would believe Stanford would have lost. But it did, in excruciating fashion. As dynamic as the offense is, the defense lacks the athleticism to consistently stop Pac-10 offenses, something Oregon State and Arizona exposed.
8. Washington: Win by the miracle, lose by the miracle. But this one fell heavily on coaching mistakes -- clock management and a horrible defensive breakdown. The Huskies are still a work in progress and so is the coaching staff. You know what, though? If the Huskies upset the Ducks, the fan base will be fairly forgiving.
9. UCLA: Speaking of works in progress, the Bruins took a step back against California, but this time the defense let the offense down -- particularly against the run. Things won't be any easier Saturday because Arizona's offense is humming.
10. Washington State: The Cougars spent the bye week trying to get healthy. They head to Berkeley on Saturday, hoping that Cal will revert to the team that scored just six points in two games, not the one that pounded out 45 vs. UCLA.