Monday, September 10, 2012
Pac-12 power rankings: Week 3
By Ted Miller
Last week's power rankings called the theme of this past weekend: "OK, but let's see what you do Saturday."
Lots of teams came through. Big. Some, however, didn't. That is reflected here. All complaints should be filed with "Kevin Gemmell."
You can review the Week 2 power rankings here.
1. USC: The Trojans' trip east to play Syracuse got a little weird with an evacuated stadium and everything, but there was never a moment when it even seemed reasonable to say, "Hey, the Orange have a chance!"
2. Oregon: A potential season-ending knee injury to safety John Boyett is a big -- and sad -- blow, and things didn't go as smoothly on offense as the opening weekend. But there still remains a wide gap between the top two teams here and the rest of the conference, even with the nice work yesterday.
3. Stanford: Stanford still hasn't beaten anyone, unlike the three teams directly below them. But they did enough while dominating Duke to suggest they are still the team most likely to break up the Trojans-Ducks marriage. Of course, we'll get a good feel for the Cardinal when the Trojans visit Saturday.
4. UCLA: Love the offense. It -- QB Brett Hundley! and RB Johnathan Franklin! -- is putting up ludicrous numbers. But what elevates the Bruins here is their second-half adjustments on defense. Gave up just six points to Nebraska after the break after shutting out Rice.
5. Arizona: That was not a bad Oklahoma State defense the Wildcats ran over. It's clear the Wildcats will be able to score in bunches. If they protect the football and get just enough defense, this is a bowl team. Maybe a good bowl team.
6. Oregon State: Here's a prediction: No other team will shut down Wisconsin this year like the Beavers did. Just a hunch, so we'll see. Loved how Sean Mannion handled himself. He could have gotten frustrated and tried to force things. He didn't. Sometimes 10 points is enough, and recognizing that is QB Zen.
7. Arizona State: The Sun Devils delivered another butt-kicking, albeit to a team without its starting QB. What was most impressive, though, was how easily the Sun Devils dominated the Illinois defense, which was supposed to be good. And just one penalty, one that was taken on purpose! Who are these guys?
8. Washington: Even worse than taking a beating at LSU is the injuries piling up. The challenge for coach Steve Sarkisian and QB Keith Price is keeping this team focused, positive and together during this early-season gauntlet.
9. Utah: The Utes' 12-game winning streak against Utah State -- all decided by at least 15 points -- is over. While the health of QB Jordan Wynn is the big question heading into the Holy War against BYU, the bigger problem may be poor offensive line play.
10. California: The jury is still out on the Bears, so the visit to Ohio State feels like a good measuring stick. After the Pac-12 went 3-0 -- with two underdogs winning -- against the Big Ten this past weekend, it's up to the Bears to extend the winning streak. Or, failing that, turn in a respectable performance that reveals some spine.
11. Washington State: We still don't know the Cougs. The good news is their next two opponents, UNLV and Colorado, lost to FCS teams over the weekend. They should be 3-1 heading to Seattle to play Oregon on Sept. 29.
12. Colorado: The Pac-12 blog doesn't like to be negative. We may snark a bit, but we don't like to throw an all-consuming blanket of pessimism over a team. So, in the interest of being positive, we will predict that at some point this season the Buffs will win a game. Maybe.