Pac-12 Power Rankings after Week 5

October 8, 2013

Five weeks into the season, the Pac-12 has proven itself the top conference in the nation. So who is the best of the best so far? Let's find out.


1. OREGON (5-0, 2-0)

The Ducks have looked invincible thus far and have thoroughly dominated every opponent they have faced. Last week's 57-16 drubbing of the Buffaloes in Colorado was a classic example of how unstoppable this offense is. The starters were pulled with seven minutes left in the 3rd quarter after Heisman Trophy contender QB Marcus Mariota's seventh touchdown of the game (5 passing, 2 rushing). The Ducks have scored at least 55 points in every game this season, and that's with the starters sitting out the 4th quarter.

Only Stanford, UCLA, and maybe Washington appear capable of even challenging the Ducks this season.

2. STANFORD (5-0, 3-0)

If not for WR/Returner Ty Montgomery, the Cardinal probably get upset last week against Washington. Montgomery's 99-yard touchdown return to open the game, and 204 total return yards, were critical in getting Stanford over this test. Montgomery also caught a 39-yard touchdown pass from QB Kevin Hogan, who threw for only 100 yards total on a day the Stanford offense mightily struggled.

However, like they almost always seem to do, David Shaw's team found a way to get it done (and no, I don't buy Steve Sarkisian's silly comments that Stanford intentionally faked injuries to slow down the game).

Expect this team to get back to their normal dominant self when the Cardinal travel to Utah next week.

3. UCLA BRUINS (4-0, 1-0)

UCLA struggled at times last week at Utah, but found a way to win, 34-27, because the defense was able to intercept Utah's Travis Wilson six times. Good teams find a way.

Another quality of good teams: Clutch quarterback play. Sophomore QB Brett Hundley had a mediocre game by his own high standards, throwing for a mere 211 yards while rushing for 85 yards more. But he threw for a score, caught a touchdown, and rushed for another along the way, while also making the key plays down the stretch.

Expect a huge performance against Cal next week as the Bruins seek revenge for last year's shocking loss to the Bears.


Okay, we're sold. Despite suffering its first set back of the season, a tough 31-28 loss at Stanford on Saturday night, the Huskies have shown they are legit. 

Senior QB Keith Price threw for 350 yards and two scores against a widely respected Stanford defense. He is clearly back to the Keith Price of two years ago, if not better. RB Bishop Sankey's 125 yards rushing and two scores were no less impressive.  The Huskies met the physical test of the Cardinal and didn't back down an inch. They had 489 total yards to Stanford's 279.

One would hope the Huskies can build on this performance and start a new winning streak. Alas, the Ducks come into town next week.  Maybe they can start the week after.  


To almost everyone's surprise, Wazzu is for real this year. An impressive 44-22 victory at Cal last week strongly suggests that the Cougars must be regarded as clearly better than the bottom-dwellers of the conference. 

While it's tough to say whether Connor Halladay's 521 yards passing against Cal is an indication of things to come or just an example of beating up on an exceptionally weak defense (remember, they beat USC earlier this year without scoring on offense), a road win in this conference is always impressive.


ASU football fans must get tired of their team being a tease. Todd Graham's teams are all-world at home in Tempe, but mistake-prone on the road (see 1st half of Stanford game). 

Last week's 37-34 loss to a clearly inferior Notre Dame team was a classic Sun Devils choke job (and certainly didn't help validate claims that the the Pac-12 is the top conference this year). QB Taylor Kelly's 362 yards passing and three touchdowns kept ASU close in a shootout, but three critical turnovers and a surprising inability to stop the Irish running game (Where were you Will Sutton?) proved to be ASU's undoing.

ASU seems to have the talent to play with anyone in the Pac-12 South, and they luckily avoid playing Oregon at all this year. But as the schedule gets easier and the wins pile up in the next few weeks the doubts will remain. Only a late-season victory at UCLA can erase them.


After an embarrassing loss to open the season, Mike Riley's team has won four straight, including two games in conference. Junior QB Sean Mannion had a career day passing for 414 yards and six touchdowns against Colorado in the Beavers last game, a 44-17 drubbing of the Buffaloes. Mannion is averaging over 400 yards passing per game this season.

The big question is how well he will do against the top of the conference.  The schedule picks up this week at Washington State.

8. ARIZONA WILDCATS (3-1, 0-1)

When last seen, Arizona lost 31-13 at Washington. But considering how good the Huskies have been this year, we can't read a whole lot into that. Junior running back Ka'Deem Carey ran for an impressive 132 yards in that game and averages 108 ypg this season on the ground.

This team more than any other in the conference is still a mystery after five weeks, having easily defeated three weak non-conference opponents and only played one conference game. Next week's game at the Coliseum in Los Angeles will tell a lot about where this team stacks up in this very deep conference.

9. UTAH UTES (3-2, 0-2)

The Utes fought hard in a close 34-27 home loss to UCLA last Thursday. Despite an astonishing six interceptions thrown by QB Travis Wilson, the Utes were in that game until the final minute.  Indeed, if Wilson can avoid those interceptions, the Utes could still surprise people in the Pac-12 South. The Sophomore QB has thrown for 1406 yards and 11 touchdowns in five games this season

Utah next gets a tough Stanford team at home. Another competitive game, win or lose, could see the Utes rise on this list.

10. USC TROJANS (3-2, 0-2)

The Trojans firing of Lane Kiffin was not all that surprising. The team was in disarray and he was hated by many of the alumni. The 62-41 loss to ASU that preceded the firing had eroded faith in the one thing this team thought they could rely on: the defense. 

The Trojans are still filled with talent throughout the roster though and with interim head coach Ed Oregeron USC should be able to regain its confidence as the schedule eases up a little.


Despite a nice start last week, the Buffs took the beating that almost everyone takes when they play Oregon nowadays. However, that makes two blowout losses in conference now and it has yet to be proven this year's team can seriously compete in the best conference in the country.

Paul Richardson's 621 receiving yards this season are bright spot, but he has slowed down as the competition has picked up. If Colorado is to avoid the bottom of the Pac-12 South, they will need his magic.

12. CAL GOLDEN BEARS (1-4, 0-2)

Until last week, the Golden Bears could still believe that their poor record was as much a product of their tough schedule as anything else. However, after being pounded at home 44-22 by the Cougars, it is clear that injuries, inexperience, and a horrible defense have been the underlying causes of poor performance for this team.

Further, the prolific offense continues to turn the ball over and make the least of their ability to move down the field. Another 489 yards passing for true freshman Jared Goff resulted in a paltry 20 offensive points (the other 2 points came on a safety).  Sonny Dykes' team has yet to beat an FBS opponent and next week's game at UCLA will not be the first.

By Manish Pandya
Staff Editor for

1 comment:

  1. Huskies will top the list when they beat Oregon


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