SportsPac12: Pac-12 Football Power Rankings: Week Two
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Pac-12 Football Power Rankings: Week Two

September 05, 2018

Pac-12 Football: Week Two Power Rankings

With the season underway, you'll see more movement on this list, and everything is subject to change. Winning won't always move a team up, but losing most often moves a team down. This week, Washington State is the biggest riser, with Arizona making the deepest drop.

1. Washington (0-1) — Last Week's Ranking: 1 
It would be short-sighted to drop the Huskies for losing their season opener to a Top 10 team by less than a touchdown, unless that team were in the Pac-12. While Washington made its share of mistakes, they played Auburn tough. Just how tough should become more apparent in coming weeks. Granted, Jake Browning did not have his best day, but Aaron Fuller, Ty Jones, and Quinten Pounds played as well as any trio of receivers in the Conference. Myles Gaskin became UW's all-time leading rusher, and Salvon showed off his potential. The Huskies remain the team to beat.

2. USC (1-0) — Last Week's Ranking: 2 
Freshman quarterback JT Daniels lived up to his recruiting legend, exciting USC fans with 282 yards passing on 22 completions. Among them were seven passes for 98 yards to fellow Mater Dei High star Amon-Ra St. Brown, who scored on a 43-yard touchdown strike. But the Trojans also surrendered a whopping 308 yards rushing to UNLV, an obvious concern. USC must plug the gaps in their defense before visiting the Farm this weekend, where Stanford's Bryce Love will be hungry to redeem himself. He isn't likely to be held in check a second week.

3. Utah (1-0) — Last Week's Ranking: 3 
The Utes were not tested as much as the top two teams on this list, but their dominance of Weber State was in keeping with their placement. After a slow start and a couple turnovers, the Utes limited the Wildcats to just 13 yards passing and 46 yards rushing. Utah racked up 587 offensive yards of their own, with Tyler Huntley throwing for 279 yards and four touchdowns, and Zach Moss adding 150 yards and a score on the ground. If the Utes have their way with Northern Illinois on Saturday, they could ascend to the top of this list after Week Three, when Washington comes to town.

4. Oregon (1-0) — Last Week's Ranking: 4 
The Ducks started slow, falling behind early, but responded in typical Oregon fashion, piling up points in a rout. Quarterback Justin Herbert added to his Heisman hype, throwing for 281 yards and five touchdowns in just 10 completions. He did so while overcoming some big drops and breaking in a rotation of six different running backs, who combined for 212 yards. The Duck defense showed more signs of improvement, but we won't really know how much 
until Stanford comes to Eugene in Week Four. Meanwhile, Oregon needs to stay healthy and focused against two more weaker foes.

5. Stanford (1-0) — Last Week's Ranking: 5 
The Cardinal showed they can win without a dominant performance from Bryce Love, whose Heisman hopes took a hit when he was held to a scant 29 yards by the Aztecs. But SDSU's focus on Love only prompted a passing explosion from K.J. Costello, who threw for 332 yards and four touchdowns, including three to JJ Arcega-Whiteside. The Cardinal defense gave up some big plays early, but shut down San Diego State in the second half. Stanford's first big test comes this week, when USC tries to spoil the Cardinal's chances of winning a fifth North title in seven years.

6. Washington State (1-0) — Last Week's Ranking: 8 
Outside of Washington and Oregon State, the Cougars drew the toughest opening game, playing at high altitude in Wyoming. Transfer quarterback Gardner Minshew made the best of his first opportunity, throwing for 319 yards and three touchdowns, while tailback James Williams gained a combined 153 yards rushing and receiving out of the backfield. Wazzu's defense frustrated Cowboy QB Tyler Vander Waal, limiting him to 67 yards passing, and sacking him three times. The win, punctuated by a couple trick plays from Mike Leach's "Big Gulp" formation, should help the Cougars move forward after a tough offseason.

7. Arizona State (1-0) — Last Week's Ranking: 9 
The doubters who predicted embarrassment, if not disaster, when the Sun Devils hired a television broadcaster with no college coaching experience, couldn't find much to criticize in Herm Edwards' debut. Manny Wilkins, K'Neal Harry, and Eno Benjamin overwhelmed UTSA with 501 yards of total offense, andASU's defense flirted with a shutout, recording an NCAA-leading 10 sacks, dogging the Roadrunners with the intensity of their head coach. Now some of those preseason doubters are even including the Devils in their bowl projections.

8. California (1-0) — Last Week's Ranking: 7 
The Bears played Ross Bowers, Chase Garbers, and Brandon McIlwain at quarterback, rotating them in a choppy offensive performance that resulted in just 119 yards passing. Running back Patrick Laird helped take up the slack, carrying the ball 29 times for 95 yards and a touchdown. But it was Cal's ball-hawking defense that won the day, nabbing four interceptions, and hanging on as North Carolina charged back from a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter. The Bears may not dominate many teams this season, but they'll likely put themselves in a position to win.

9. Colorado (1-0) — Last Week's Ranking: 10 
The Buffs showed some of the swagger and fight characteristic of their 2016 South Division title team in defeating Colorado State in the Rocky Mountain Showdown in Denver. Colorado scored on CSU almost at will, with quarterback Steven Montez completing 22 of 25 passes for 338 yards and four touchdowns. The Buffalo defense, meanwhile, frustrated the Rams on all but a few drives, looking much improved. Colorado looks poised to give Nebraska all it wants in Lincoln on Saturday.

10. Arizona (0-1) — Last Week's Ranking: 6 
With all the buzz in Tucson over Kevin Sumlin's hiring in the offseason, along with the preseason appearance of quarterback Khalil Tate on the cover of Sports Illustrated, expectations were bound to blow up. So when BYU's big defensive front got the better of Arizona's depleted offensive line, holding Tate to 14 yards in UA's first loss in a home opener since 2000, the disappointment was palpable. The Cats will need to play with more urgency and implement a better game plan to win at Houston.

11. UCLA (0-1) — Last Week's Ranking: 11 
Any misguided notions that Chip Kelly could wave a wand over the Bruins and make them look like his old Ducks was promptly dispelled in UCLA's loss to Cincinnati. It didn't help that the Bearcats knocked out Bruin starting quarterback Wilton Speight early, showing why freshman Dorian Thompson-Robinson wasn't quite ready to take the reigns. Five rushers combined for just 144 yards and four first downs in an offense that showed good potential but clearly needs work. The schedule only gets tougher from here, and UCLA's youth and inexperience will likely become more apparent next week at Oklahoma. Still, the Bruins remain in good hands, and the future remains as bright as the day Kelly was hired.

12. Oregon State (0-1) — Last Week's Ranking: 12 
With much of the nation pulling for the Beavers to upset the scandal-plagued Buckeyes, Oregon State looked like it was up to the task early, despite losing starting quarterback Jake Luton. Replacement Conor Blount responded with a 49-yard touchdown pass to speedy Trevon Bradford,
 and running back Artavis Pierce sliced through Ohio State's defense for 168 yards. In the end, the Beavers simply couldn't stop the Buckeyes, surrendering 721 yards and 77 points to one of the nation's best teams. But there was a lot to like: This Oregon State team possesses the confidence last year's Beavers lacked.