SportsPac12: 2018 Pac-12 Football - Week Four Power Rankings
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2018 Pac-12 Football - Week Four Power Rankings

September 17, 2018

Pac-12 Football: Week Four Power Rankings

The Conference meat-grinder begins in earnest this week. There should be a lot less speculation about the merits of beating up on soft teams, and a lot more meaningful movement, based on winning.

1. Stanford (3-0) — Last Week's Ranking: 1 
The Cardinal may not have scored many style points against UC Davis, but they did what they needed to do to stay on top of this list: Win. Next up, a trip to Autzen, where Justin Herbert's explosive offense will test Stanford's defensive prowess, and a GameDay-crazed crowd will try its poise. 

2. Washington (2-1) — Last Week's Ranking: 3 
The Huskies made Utah's stout defense look average, but it was Washington's defense that rendered the Utes incapable of having much say in the outcome
. Only two or three teams will have a chance to derail the Dawgs the rest of the way, if they continue to play with the same dominance everyone expected in preseason.

3. Colorado (3-0) — Last Week's Ranking: 4 
Oregon fans won't like seeing Colorado here, but the Buffs have handled everything that's been thrown at them, and against tougher opponents than those the Ducks faced. That's enough for them to hold their spot, at least for now. With two winnable home games ahead, Colorado could be the surprise team of the early Conference season.

4. Oregon (3-0) — Last Week's Ranking: 5 
Finally, the Ducks get a chance to prove they belong near the top of the Pac-12 against a ranked and worthy foe. Though Oregon didn't dominate San Jose State as much as expected, they won handily enough to stand their ground, both here and in the Top 25. Stanford should give the Ducks all they want in what could be one of the best games of the season.

5. Washington State (3-0) — Last Week's Ranking: 8 
The Cougars have taken care of business against middling to poor opponents, and they've looked good doing it. Now they have a chance to silence the doubters with a rare win in L.A. Upsetting a struggling USC team might not seem overly impressive at this point in the season, but it should hold up come year's end.

6. Utah (2-1) — Last Week's Ranking: 6 
This much seems certain: The Utes didn't play like a team ready to contend for the South Division title last week. But then, Utah always seems to struggle against the Huskies, having lost 10 of 11 of their matchups with them. This week's bye gives Utah a chance to regroup and focus on Washington State in what could be a trap game for the Cougars.

7. California (3-0) — Last Week's Ranking: 9 
Don't look now, but the Bears appear to be a much better team than anyone envisioned in the preseason. Thanks to BYU's upset of Wisconsin, Cal already has a quality win under its belt. A bye gives the Bears extra time to prepare for another big win against what could be a despondent or overconfident Oregon team on Sep. 29.

8. Arizona State (2-1) — Last Week's Ranking: 2
ASU's meteoric rise hit a bit of a speed bump in San Diego. The Sun Devils made too many mistakes against the Aztecs, but they didn't go down easy, coming within a controversial penalty of scoring two touchdowns in the last four minutes. Things only get tougher on Saturday in Seattle. Could ASU shock the world yet again?

9. USC (1-2) — Last Week's Ranking: 7 

The good news is the Trojans may not be as bad as they seem. How many other Pac-12 teams have faced Stanford and Texas in the first three weeks? Still, there's no excuse for a team with USC's depth and talent to net -5 yards rushing, or to get blown out by an unranked Longhorns team. Their tilt with Wazzu is a must-win, to say the least.

10. Arizona (1-2) — Last Week's Ranking: 12 
What to make of an expected blowout? Struggling to put away Southern Utah in the first half didn't inspire a lot of confidence, but the Cats deserve some credit for finishing strong. Nonetheless, save for UCLA's collapse, Saturday's game in Corvallis could well have been a battle for the cellar. If Arizona can't beat the Beavers, it's going to be a long season.

11. Oregon State (1-2) — Last Week's Ranking: 10  
The Beavers came within a missed field goal of snapping their four-year road losing streak, eclipsing last year's win total, and moving up on this list. Even so, there was much to be encouraged about in OSU's loss to Nevada. The Beavers made some key stops late, and best of all, they didn't give up. A victory over Arizona would reinvigorate their season. 

12. UCLA (0-3) — Last Week's Ranking: 11 
The Bruins are in danger of seeing a slow start transform into a disastrous campaign.  Fresno State is a well-coached team, but UCLA has no business losing to the Bulldogs by 24 at home. The Bruins' bye week is well-timed, but the schedule doesn't get any easier for Chip Kelly and Company from here.