Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 2

Football vs Colorado State University 9/10/11
Sean Goebel/Staff

NORTH DIVISION

No. 1: Stanford (2-0)

Saturday afternoon at Raleigh’s, the screens flashed from the Cal-Colorado game to Stanford-Duke highlights and fans in the Telegraph bar cheered.

They cheered, because it was only halftime and the Cardinal were only up 17-7 against Duke and Andrew Luck — for the first time in a long time — only looked mortal.

With a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, the presumptive Heisman front-runner threw a pick six at the Blue Devil 37. So he turned around tossed three more scores before the final buzzer.

Luck’s defense came through for him as well; after allowing 268 yards in the first half, it clamped down on the Blue Devils for a game total of 335. Final score: 44-14, Stanford.

— Jack Wang

No. 2: Oregon (1-1)

The Ducks’ 69-20 demolition of Nevada on Saturday proved two thing: The Wolfpack really aren’t all that competitive without former quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the Oregon offense’s showing against LSU the previous week — 27 points, three touchdowns, four turnovers— was more of an aberration against a great defense than a prognosticator of the season.

Darron Thomas tied a school record with six touchdown passes on Saturday. The Ducks rushed for 272 yards as a whole. Nine different Oregon players caught a pass.

After a disappointing season opener, the Ducks are off and running — and back to being one of the best offenses in the nation.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

No. 3: Cal (2-0)

Some would say that the Bears’ win over Colorado showed heart. Others would call it an escape. Cal’s vaunted defense looked not only mortal, but just plain bad at times in its 36-33 victory over the Buffs on Saturday. The offense still managed a solid outing (aided by countless Colorado penalties) which was the primary catalyst in the Bears’ win.

Cal will not face a challenge this weekend with Presbyterian. Coach Jeff Tedford did say that heralded freshman running back Brendan Bigelow will get carries this weekend. So that gives you one reason to watch this weekend’s game. Maybe.

— Gabriel Baumgaertner

No. 4: Washington (2-0)

It was another win against another mediocre non-conference opponent, but Keith Price put up numbers that made him look like a good quarterback. The sophomore slinger stuck his first eight passes and finished 18-for-25 for 315 yards with 4 touchdowns and one interception. Colorado’s Tyler Hansen had a far easier time with Cal’s defense than he did with Hawaii’s. It’s just something to think about.

The Huskies travel to Nebraska this weekend. A formidable challenge, no doubt. We should get a better feel for just how good this team is after this one.

— Gabriel Baumgaertner

No. 5: Washington State (2-0)

No, the Cougars are not ranked last in the Pac-12. Yes, this is the same team that went 2-10 last season and 1-8 in conference play. But Washington State deserves to be ranked above Oregon State and it’s not just because the Beavers are winless.

The Cougars absolutely crushed UNLV, 59-7, on Saturday. They gained 610 yards — that is not a typo. Washington State’s quarterback Marshall Lobbestael threw for 361 yards and five touchdowns. Backup quarterback, freshman Connor Halliday, threw for 110 yards, nearly twice as many as the Rebels’ starter.
San Diego State this Saturday should be more of a test.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

No. 6: Oregon State (0-2)

Oregon State has had bad starts to seasons before, but who knew that the offense would be this inept? Sure, Wisconsin is a top-10 team and BCS contender, but 35-0? That shouldn’t be happening in a Pac-12-Big-Ten game. Sean Mannion doesn’t look like he’s the answer on offense, but it looks more like the Beavers miss Jacquizz Rodgers.

I’m not exactly sure whatever is wrong with Mike Riley’s squad, but it’s really bad. The Beavers have the weekend off to regroup and see if they can beat UCLA in the gouge-your-eyes-out bowl on Sept. 24.

— Gabriel Baumgaertner

SOUTH DIVISION

No. 1: USC (2-0)

The Trojans won’t be making the Pac-12 Championship game, but with their 23-14 win over Utah, they are the definite front runners to finish first in the south division.

USC’s Matt Kalil blocked the Utes’ field goal attempt with a minute remaining that would have won the game, and Torin Harris returned it for a touchdown. The Trojans’ quarterback Matt Barkley threw for 264 yards and a touchdown, wide receiver Robert Woods caught eight passes for 102 yards and running back Marc Tyler, returning from a one-game suspension, ran for 113 yards and a touchdown.

USC can’t keep turning the ball over though; the team had three turnovers on Saturday.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

No. 2: Arizona State (2-0)

So wait, why aren’t these guys number one? Gosh, we’ve got an editor that hates change. But seriously, Arizona State is good. Very good. Though the Sun Devils’ game against Missouri went into overtime, coach Dennis Erickson’s squad looked like the better half for a large chunk of the game. Brock Osweiler is big and I mean BIG. He is big and very difficult to tackle. Aaron Pflugrad looked like one of the best receivers in the conference.

Right now, it’s on Arizona State to limit penalties and keep Vontaze Burfict sane. If they can do those two things, the Devils just may be as good as their preseason hype.

— Gabriel Baumgaertner

No. 3: Utah (1-1)

Utah lost 17-14 to USC. A few hours later, it lost 23-14.

Set up for a game-tying field goal in the final seconds, the Utes had their attempt blocked and returned for a touchdown — until the refs took away the score for “unsportsmanlike conduct,” a charge that was reversed by Pac-12 officials afterward.

The loss puts them at the bottom slot of the South division for now, but unless USC turns out to be a shadow of its former self, Utah isn’t falling too far back in the pack.

— Jack Wang

No. 4: Arizona (1-1)

Arizona wasn’t expected to defeat No. 8 Oklahoma State, but its offense looked positively feeble at times against the Cowboys.

Quarterback Nick Foles somehow managed to cobble together 398 yards, but only led two scoring drives while throwing for one touchdown. Only three of the Wildcats’ 11 drives topped 50 yards, and one first-quarter drive covered one yard in three plays.

The visitors’ running game was almost nonexistent in Stillwater, Okla., netting 41 yards on 21 carries.

— Jack Wang

No. 5: Colorado (0-2)

Colorado may have lost to Cal on Saturday, but the Buffaloes did it in brilliant and record-setting fashion.

Quarterback Tyler Hansen threw for a school-record 474 yards and receiver Paul Richardson had a school-record 284 receiving yards.

The defense was equally impressive. The unit seemed to know what the Bears were doing on offense before the play happened. Cal ended up with 14 points in the second half, but the Buffaloes were in complete control. Unfortunately for them, they could not score the go-ahead touchdown and instead kicked a field goal to reach overtime, where Cal prevailed.

— Jonathan Kuperberg

No. 6: UCLA (1-1)

For barely beating perennial punching bag San Jose State, 27-17, UCLA drops below Colorado in our rankings.

The visiting Spartans absolutely embarrassed the Bruins at the Rose Bowl. Quarterback Dasmen Stewart got his first career start after senior Matt Faulkner was concussed in a 57-3 loss to Stanford, but he wasn’t much worse than who UCLA had under center.

Stewart went 15-of-31 for 111 yards, while the Bruins’ Richard Brehaut barely edged him with 12-of-23 for 145 and a touchdown. San Jose State even had a chance to take the lead late in the third quarter after UCLA fumbled on its own 34; the Spartans moved the ball less than 20 yards before an interception, the second of four turnovers in a six and a half-minute span.

It took a 135-yard rushing performance in the second half by backup Derrick Coleman to give the Bruins their first win of the season.

— Jack Wang