Sam Fielder: I think we've clearly moved into 2 tiers here...top 6 and bottom 6. I'm hard pressed to see any of the top 6 (except for Arizona, I'm still not totally sold on them) losing to any of the bottom 6 as they are all clearly flawed teams. I think that on any given Saturday any of the bottom 6 could beat one another (which we've already seen) so conference play should start getting really interesting.
ragnarok: The two-tier split seems pretty clear cut right now, although I'm absolutely positive we'll see a few upsets crossing that line, and I'd bet that at least one team on the bottom half will improve and make a run at the top half before the season is over.
1. Oregon (holding steady)
Sam Fielder: They are good. They score a lot. Nothing else to see here; move along.
norcalnick: What is there left to say? It's hard seeing anybody but Stanford beating them, and after a lackluster performance vs. Army, even that seems iffy.
atomsareenough: Went down 7-0 against Tennessee... and then put up 59 straight points.
Berkelium97: My concerns that Helfrich would not seamlessly replace Kelly have officially been laid to rest. This team looks like a national title contender.
2. UCLA (up one spot)
Berkelium97: THAT is how you respond when the opponent puts up 21 early points.
atomsareenough: They were down 21-3 at Nebraska, only to score the next 38 points in the game and shut out the Huskers in the second half. The Bruins were very, very impressive.
norcalnick: I'm not really convinced that UCLA is better than Stanford yet, but they deserve major kudos for racing past Nebraska on the road. If we don't reward teams for winning tough games, what's the motivation for scheduling tough games?
3. Stanford (down one spot)
Sam Fielder: Struggled with the triple option and gave up some gaudy numbers but still got a win.
norcalnick: Allowing 20 points and 333 yards to Army was pretty surprising. For most teams, that's a reasonable performance, but Stanford's lofty rankings are based on having a top 5 defense in the nation. That said, struggling against the triple option doesn't necessarily mean that Stanford will struggle against more conventional offenses the rest of the way.
Berkelium97: Army played very well and ran for an impressive 4.7 ypc against the Stanford D. Will the Lobsterbacks' inability to create blowouts lead to an upset this year?
4. Washington (up one spot)
norcalnick: Illinois probably isn't as good as Wisconsin. But UW nearly outgained the Illini 2 to 1, and their 10 point win didn't really represent the extent to which Washington dominated. That's a good road win, and combined with a win over Boise St., a better resume than ASU and arguably Stanford.
Berkelium97: They didn't get Sarked, at least. They may not be as good as the Boise State win suggests, but this is a decent team. They have no shot at the Pac-12 North title, however.
5. Arizona State (down one spot)
Sam Fielder: Should have lost in what ended up being one of the most bizarre things ever. Still, better than anyone below them at this point.
atomsareenough: They should have lost at home to a solid Wisconsin team, but they manage to steal a win thanks to some bad decisions and execution by the Badgers and boneheaded Pac-12 reffing. Todd Graham continues to lead a charmed life.
norcalnick: True, they were lucky to escape with a win after a bizarre ending. They also had the game well in hand and it took a dubious replay review to give Wisconsin a chance to win at the end anyway. It's still a good victory, and the race for the South title looks even more intriguing than the race for the North.
Berkelium97: Despite Todd Graham's best efforts, ASU somehow escaped with a win. This was the first ASU game I watched; they're not as good as I expected. They're good enough to challenge for the Pac-12 South title, but I'd consider UCLA a heavy favorite.
ragnarok: I'd like to think that, had Arizona State lost last weekend, I'd have still put them at #5 this week. Playing well against a good Wisconsin team, even had they lost, is still miles more impressive than anything #6 Arizona have done this season.
6. Arizona (holding steady)
Berkelium97: They still don't have much of a passing game and will not go far in the Pac-12 unless they find one.
norcalnick: I want to punish Arizona for their pathetic schedule, but I can't yet. When they lose to Washington in two weeks I predict they'll plummet in the power rankings.
7. Washington State (up one spot)
atomsareenough: Not much to see, the Cougs take care of business against FCS Southern Utah, scoring 48 points. Wazzu should be 3-1 after next week, as their next opponent is Idaho.
8. USC (up three spots)
Berkelium97: Kessler looked like a competent quarterback! Was this a sign of Boston College's incompetence or an upward trend for USC's offense?
atomsareenough: Boston College isn't good, but the Trojans took care of business, and more importantly for USC, the offense didn't look inept. Kessler was 15/17 for over 200 yards, and they rushed for over 200 as well.
Sam Fielder: Rumors of their demise might be a bit premature, but we can still hope...
9. Oregon State (up three spots)
norcalnick: I don't know what to do with them. They lost to Eastern Washington and looked bad against Hawaii. But they have a road conference win. Frankly, I think OSU is Cal - a terrible defense, but an offense that can win a shoot-out. For now, they're placed ahead of Utah, even though it feels wrong.
atomsareenough: The offense still looks potent, but they are having serious, almost Cal-level problems on defense. They're also not running the ball well. Unlike the Bears, though, the Beavers were able to do just enough to win this time, aided by 3 Utah turnovers. As the only teams with conference wins, the Cougs and Beavers are atop the Pac-12 North for the time being.
10. Colorado (holding steady)
atomsareenough: The Buffs have to postpone their game with Fresno State in light of the torrential rains and flooding in Boulder. Might be a blessing in disguise, as they'll have a better chance of actually winning this matchup later on in the season.
norcalnick: I ranked them last, which might be harsh, but I think they are the least talented team in the conference, and close wins over bad teams won't make me change that opinion. It's a shame that a natural disaster delayed their chance to prove themselves.
11. Utah (down four spots)
atomsareenough: Painful 51-48 home overtime loss in a shootout with Oregon State. Is the Beaver passing attack that potent, or does Utah have questions on defense as well?
norcalnick: I suspect that Utah, like Cal, Colorado, and Washington St., are going to suffer this year. They all share the fate of being average teams in a stacked, stacked conference.
12. California (down two spots)
norcalnick: The opposite of Arizona. The teams they have played are too good to get a sense of what Cal can really do. Or at least, that's what I tell myself while conspicuously ignoring the Portland St. game.
Sam Fielder: I ranked them over Utah because I think our two losses are "better" than their two wins.
atomsareenough: Defense, Bears! Defense. Maybe one of these weeks Cal will start to play some. I know Ohio State has a great offense, but giving up 2 touchdowns in just 4 plays on defense to start the game is inexcusable, and a guaranteed losing formula. It doesn't get any easier, as the Golden Bears face Oregon in Eugene next.
Berkelium97: They have the worst resume in the conference and one of the worst defenses in the nation. Sure, they can beat any of the Pac-12's teams in a shootout. Will they? I wouldn't count on it happening regularly.