This is a new thing I’m trying this season. Last week it was just called Ranking the Pac-12. Prepare yourself for a slew of bad “Pac” related titles until I find one I like. Anyway, this is not a power ranking. It is a subjective ranking of who had the best week the week before. Teams who didn’t play will be left off unless something significant enough to merit a ranking happened. This week there was one interesting game and lots of blowouts of cupcakes. The schedule gets a lot better in week 3. Let’s do this.1. WSU Cougars beat USC 10-7
I have some misgivings putting the Cougs at the top, because they really didn’t look too great, USC looked horrific, and they’re the Cougars. Still, WSU got a road win over USC and is leading the Pac-12 North. I would never have guessed either of those things would have happened this year. WSU’s defense looked good, but there’s no arguing it was helped significantly by terrible quarterbacking and worse play-calling for USC. The offense didn’t manage a touchdown, and was maybe worse than USC’s before the big catch and run that put them in field goal position. The Cougars are certainly better than they were, but I’m unconvinced of how much. Strangely, it’s the defense that has made the greatest strides under Mike Leach.
2. Oregon Ducks beat Virginia 59-10
The Ducks weren’t perfect, but any complaints are extremely minor when you beat an FBS team on the road by 49 points. I doubt Tennessee will fare much better this week. The Ducks might not be challenged much before coming to Husky Stadium in a few weeks.
3. Utah Utes beat Weber State 70-7
Everything gets a little murky through the vast middle of these rankings. No one played anyone good and most teams won big. Extra points and the number three ranking to Utah for doing something I wouldn’t have believed them capable of before the season: putting up 70 points. That’s a lot, regardless of the opponent.
4. ASU Sun Devils beat Sacramento St. 55-0
I like blowout shutouts. This is an appropriate score given the teams involved, but it’s always encouraging to see a team nearly perfect on opening night. This Saturday gets much tougher with Wisconsin coming to town.
5. Stanford Cardinal beat San Jose St. 34-13
Stanford wasn’t incredible, but they handled one of the week’s better opponents easily. Offense is going to be the question for the Tree. They’re lacking in established skill players outside of QB Kevin Hogan. The defense and O Line will have to carry them until they can get clicking.
6. Arizona Wildcats beat UNLV 58-13
Another big win over a weak opponent. The passing game is struggling for the Cats. Luckily they have All-American Kadeem Carey back from suspension. Carey is one of the few players to ever be suspended for being an All-American. The guy’s amazing in so many ways.
7. Oregon State Beavers beat Hawaii 33-14
We have reached the section: “Unimpressive wins against terrible opponents”. Hawaii is terrible. Even USC beat them handily. OSU did too, but it took a while. The game was in question for the first half before the Beavs pulled away. They also lost the defense’s captain and maybe best player, LB Mike Doctor. At least he should heal quickly (Doctor joke). Actually, probably not: 6-8 weeks out. The O Line is beat up as well. We’ll see if the Beavers can rally, but it’s looking like a potentially long season. Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks are pretty great though.
8. (Tie) California Golden Bears beat Portland St. 37-30; Colorado Buffaloes beat Central Arkansas 38-24
Many similarities here. Both teams struggled to beat bad opponents. Both had some standout offensive performances: Jared Goff went over 450 yards for the second game in a row for Cal, with many of those yards going to WR Bryce Treggs; Buff WR Paul Richardson had his second straight 200 yard receiving game. That’s never been done before in the Pac-12. Good stuff. Unfortunately, the rest of the team isn’t that great, for both squads.
10. USC Trojans lost to WSU 10-7
Oh, USC. Where to even begin? This was one of the worst offensive performances I have ever seen. Both quarterbacks are bad and made worse by Lane Kiffin’s poor handling and ridiculously terrible play-calling. Maybe my biggest question is why both quarterbacks are so bad. Both guys were highly rated and possess obvious physical skills. It’s no surprise if one of them doesn’t develop, but I find it quite strange that both are struggling so greatly. One more strike against Kiffin. Unfortunately for him, he’s already wearing a Golden Sombrero. The defense is good enough to sustain them if they can show even the slightest threat on offense, but that’s looking like a lot to ask for at the moment. That sentence is really depressing if you simultaneously look at their roster. They have so much talent it’s crazy. This team is going to have to drastically improve if they want to save Kiffin’s job, let alone get to a bowl game. I’d put Kiffin at about a 3% chance of returning next year.