Pac-12 Power Rankings After Week 2

September 9, 2013

It's never too early to start our yearly Pac-12 Power Rankings. Certainly, we expect a substantial amount of movement in the upcoming weeks as all of the squads begin the home stretch before the full-blooded conference season begins, but we can see some interesting patterns potentially emerging already. Here are the current rankings, trying to evaluate the limited play we've seen thus far with a grain of salt.


1. OREGON (2-0)

The Ducks speed of play is still breathtaking and they make "time of possession" seem like the most irrelevant game stat in sports. They actually lost the possession battle last week at Virginia by over 17 minutes...and won 59-10. QB Marcus Mariotta passed for 199 yards and ran for 122 more while De'Anthony Thomas chipped in with 124 yards rushing. Each had three touchdowns. 

With or without Chip Kelly, Oregon can still embarrass all but the most elite opponents.

2. STANFORD (1-0)

Stanford powered their way to a solid 34-13 win over San Jose State. QB Kevin Hogan threw for over 200 yards and two touchdowns in a workmanlike performance in the Cardinal's season opener. The defense was physical and sound as expected.

This team has never been about flashy stats and they will remain at or near the top of the conference rankings if they continue to win (as we expect they will).

3. UCLA BRUINS (1-0)

The Bruins 58-20 stomping of Nevada in Week One only reaffirms our initial predictions that UCLA would be the top dog in the Pac-12 South. Brett Hundley is the best QB and, perhaps best player, in the southern portion of the conference and his passing (274 yards, 2 TDs) and rushing (63 yards, 2 TDs) skills didn't disappoint.  Jordan James' 155 yards rushing could be an indication that the Bruin running game is in good hands despite the loss of Johnathan Franklin.

A nationally televised contest at Nebraska this week will reveal whether the Bruins are mere contenders for the Pac-12 South or the national title. If the Bruins beat the Cornhuskers for the second straight year then this could be a special year for UCLA. 


A 55-0 blowout of Sacramento State proved the Sun Devils can destroy a bad team the way a good team is supposed to.  Taylor Kelly looked great throwing for 300 yards and five touchdowns and the ASU defense was as good as advertised. 

But games against Wisconsin, Stanford, and Notre Dame in the rest of September will be the real proof of this team's potential to be a conference or national contender.


The Huskies undoubtedly had the most impressive performance of the season for any conference team when they dismantled then #19 Boise State two weeks ago, 38-6. QB Keith Price looked dynamic once again in throwing for 324 yards and a couple of scores and RB Bishop Stankey rushed for 161 yards and two scores of his own.

So far, so good. Now can these guys play on the road? Let's see a little more before we fully get Husky fever.


Wazzu was surprisingly competitive in a 31-24 Week One loss at Auburn ... and then shocked everyone with last week's win at USC. The defense looked great against the Trojans. But are the Cougars for real or are the Trojans just that bad? It will be a few weeks before we know for sure. 

If QB Connor Halladay can throw down the field (over 500 yards in two games) without turning the ball over (5 INTs) then maybe Mike Leach's team can surprise everyone. 


Ka'Deem Carey rushed for 171 yards and two scores in an impressive 58-13 drubbing of UNLV last week. However, questions remain whether the passing game will be effective enough to get through the Pac-12 schedule. A couple of more tuneup games will possibly help iron out the kinks.

We frankly won't know much about the Wildcats until they start conference play at Washington on September 28.

8.  UTAH UTES (2-0)

A solid win against Utah State in week one was followed by the requisite 70-7 blowout of Weber State last week. Travis Wilson looks ready to lead the Utes and he was solid in throwing for 264 yards and three touchdowns.  

A conference match up with the Beavers this week will help reveal what the Utes are reasonably capable of this year. 


The Bears looked pretty good in losing to a ranked Northwestern team in Week One, and then looked very shaky in a surprisingly close 37-30 win against unheralded Portland State last week. 

The good news: At least they have finally found a quarterback. In two games true Freshman Jared Goff has passed for an astounding 930 yards. Sonny Dykes' "Bear Raid" offense has been more prolific than almost anyone could have imagined. If not for a couple of bad luck tipped interceptions against Northwestern, the Bears might be 2-0.

The bad news: Even with a few starters down with injuries, giving up 553 yards of total offense to Portland State is simply inexcusable. With Ohio State next, the Bears could get embarrassed if things don't radically change on defense.  


Mike Riley is too good a coach to not get this team back on track.  A nice 33-14 win at home against Hawaii last week, in which QB Sean Mannion threw for 372 yards and four touchdowns, helped restore some morale for the Beavers. 

Nonetheless the home loss to Eastern Washington still constitutes the worst performance by any Pac-12 team this season. Are the losses on defense from last year's squad a much bigger deal than almost everyone thought? 


WR Paul Richardson has had two 200-yard games already and the Buffaloes are 2-0 after beating a couple of patsies.  But conference play against decent teams is still ahead and nothing other than Richardson has been all that impressive. 

 12. USC TROJANS (1-1)

A humiliating 10-7 home loss in conference to Washington State?! The Kiffin countdown is under way at USC as the the embattled coach has now watched his team drop six of their last eight games dating back to last season.  Can anyone recall that this team was the SI Presason #1 last year? The offense is atrocious and the quarterback play (and conservative play calling) is alarmingly bad. 54 yards of total passing offense?!

On the bright side, RB Tre Madden has rushed for over 100 yards in each of the first two games and the defense is top-notch. Still, Trojan fans are thinking the same thing: If they can lose to the Cougars at home, how bad can things get? This could get ugly very fast.  

By Manish Pandya
Staff Editor for

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