Welcome to your CGB Pac-12 Football Power Rankings! Wow, what a long title!
Our braintrust of writers have come together to rank the teams in this crazy week of play. Next to each team name, you can see how many first-place votes that team earned parenthetically. Beneath that, each voter justified their vote (if they wanted) with the rank they gave that team listed parenthetically, for your reference
And away we vote!
Ruey Yen: Now that Pac-12 play has started and enough games have been played, it is probably time to start ranking teams by who I think would most likely win in a potential matchup at a neutral site. However, given how Cal is on a winning streak, I would not want to jeopardize that by changing things. So a fundamental change in ranking methodology from me will have to wait.
Sam Fielder: Three huge wins in the three marquee match-ups this week throw my Power Rankings into chaos. I had a really tough time deciding both the best win and the worst loss. And I also fully expect that when I do these next week that the top and bottom teams could be reversed. Pac-12 fun, everyone!
KWBears: This was a tough week for the Pac-12. In what was supposed to be our three most competitive games, we got three loud thuds from teams we were hoping to make some more noise this season. With the season one-third over, it definitely looks like we're seeing which teams deserve to be highly ranked and which ones are dropping fast. I guess we all got that preseason hype pretty wrong for some of these falling teams....
1. Utah Utes (8)
Last week: 4
Nick Kranz: (2) I really didn't think Utah's offense was capable of that type of explosion against any type of vaguely legit FBS defense. Wow.
Berkelium97: (1) Complete domination over Oregon in every phase of the game. They looked like national title contenders on Saturday night.
Leland Wong: (1) I know this hasn't exactly been Oregon's year, but they're still regarded as the kings of the conference, so Utah gets the bonus bump for knocking off the top dogs. Can you imagine how good this team would be if QB Travis Wilson could do better than 60% completion with 7.6 yards per attempt?
Ruey Yen: (2) The big win at Oregon sure looks impressive. Given how this game was preempted for the Pope coverage in Philly, I didn't get to watch a second of this.
Benwemer: (2) A very close second to UCLA. An incredibly impressive win in Eugene. These guys are good, but I really don't think they're good enough to be the best in the conference.
boomtho: (2) Holy hell. I'm still a bit in disbelief that someone can walk into Eugene and do that to the Ducks. I am very, very worried about our trip to Rice-Eccles.
Sam Fielder: (1) Really tough to decide who had the better win this week, but I'm going with Utah because they knocked off the reigning Pac-12 champ. And didn't just knock them off—they knocked them out. What a win for the Utes.
ragnarok: (1) Utah over UCLA for my top spot this week, not just because of the way the Utes embarrassed Oregon on their home field, but Michigan's blanking of BYU last weekend also makes the Utes (winners over Michigan in Week 1) look better and the Bruins (narrow winners over BYU last weekend) look worse.
Nik Jam: (1) Going into Oregon and blowing out the defending Pac-12 champs deserves a top ranking. Utah's for real.
KWBears: (1) The Utes destroyed Oregon in Eugene—that has not happened in recent memory. QB Travis Wilson is back and this spells bad news for the rest of the conference.
atomsareenough: (1) It clearly, clearly has to be Utah this week. Nobody in the conference has humbled Oregon like this in a VERY long time. They treated last year's national champion runner-ups like an FCS doormat. Statement game, coming-out-party, whatever you want to call it, this game has the potential to truly shake up the established order in the Pac-12. The Utes were effective in all phases of the game, as well; they ran the ball very well with Booker and Wilson, they completed passes, they played fantastic defense, and their special teams were excellent (I think Hackett may be the best college punter I've ever seen). Is Oregon down? Sure. But they're still a powerhouse program with a lot of talent, and we are only truly realizing the extent to which they are down because of what Utah did to them. Utah came ready and played about as well as they could possibly play, and in a wonderful example of turnabout being fair play, stuck it to Oregon with all the force and relentlessness that Oregon has made a habit of dealing its opponents. It was truly a sight to behold.
mpeters10: (2) Their destruction of Oregon was the most satisfying non-Cal college football game I've watched in a long time. The Utes have a great team in all three phases. It's extremely disappointing that they have two weeks to prepare for our Bears. We're going to have to play really well to beat them.
Perryscope: (2) Even more impressive win than UCLA beating Arizona. The Utes went into Autzen Stadium in Eugene, the hardest place to win in the Pac-12 and absolutely destroyed them. The battle for the Pac-12 South is going to be one for the ages with UCLA and Utah the frontrunners in the division with USC still in the conversation. The Utes have a bye this week.
Rob Hwang: (2) They're up here because of their scintillating performance at Autzen, but they could easily drop. The question remains: was it a break-out game for their offense or was it one of those days where EVERYTHING was clicking?
Solomon Kim: (1) I don't think anyone could have predicted anything like this happening The Utes completely thrashed the Ducks IN Eugene. That definitely speaks volumes to the ability of both teams this year.
2. UCLA Bruins (6)
Last week: 1
Nick Kranz: (1) I'm keeping the Bruins in first because I think they have more total talent and more upside, but I would not object to giving the Utes the top slot.
Berkelium97: (2) The run defense was the only blemish in a strong performance.
Leland Wong: (2) They put up 500 yards on a Top-25 team thanks to a wealth of talent across all positions and Josh Rosen had some pretty impressive throws.
Ruey Yen: (3) The Bruins also had an impressive win at Arizona, with College Game Day taking place in Tucson to boot. Maybe the Bruins are pretty good.
Benwemer: (1) Beat up Zona and are now competing with Utah for the South. My number one based on all-around talent even without Myles Jack.
boomtho: (1) Clear favorite in the Pac-12 South, if not the whole conference. Nice dominant win on the road against Arizona.
Sam Fielder: (2) Boy, UCLA certainly got right in a hurry there. I thought their injuries might hurt them this week, but they sure looked unstoppable dismantling the Wildcats.
ragnarok:: (2) Went on the road and blew out Arizona, which would probably be enough to keep the top spot most other weeks. I'd say there's a large gap between the top two and everyone else right now.
Nik Jam: (2) UCLA is on fire. Tough call whether to give them or Utah #1, but Oregon is seemingly better than Arizona. A few weeks from now that may turn out to be false.
KWBears: (2) The Bruins just embarrassed the Wildcats in Tucson. UCLA now has good wins against BYU and Arizona, both ranked programs at the time they played.
atomsareenough: (2) No Myles Jack, no Eddie Vanderdoes, no Fabian Moreau... no problem. I think Arizona made a bunch of crucial mistakes, but UCLA took full advantage and won big in the desert, so credit to them as well. The Bruins still have some question marks, but they showed their depth and they have to be feeling pretty good about themselves and their position in the conference race this week.
mpeters10: (1) The Bruins keep rolling along despite injuries to star defensive players. Utah's win was impressive, but I think UCLA still has the most complete team in the conference.
Perryscope: (1) Very impressive win in Tuscon against a pretty good Arizona team. They are the team to beat in the Pac-12 with an explosive running game thanks to stud Paul Perkins. Also, QB Josh Rosen bounced back from his rough game against BYU with a great game. They play a hopeless Arizona State team at home this week.
Rob Hwang: (1) Josh Rosen impresses once again. Paul Perkins is the most underrated and under-appreciated RB in quite possibly the nation. The defense was stout without Jack and Moreau, but the also played the majority of the game against an Anu Solomon–less Arizona. They remain atop—as long as they don't lose.
Solomon Kim: (2) Close second behind the Utes. The Bruins had a dominant win over the Wildcats, but Solomon's exit puts an asterisk next to not the win, but that score gap.
Ed. note: Believe it or not, Solomon isn't talking about his own exit right now.
3. California Golden Bears (1)
Last week: 3
Nick Kranz: (5) One of the weirdest, dominating-not-dominating-what-is-going-on performances you'll ever see. After 3 straight "solid, but should have been better" performances, we have to ask: How likely is it to get better? Is this team destined to be solid but flawed for the entire season?
Berkelium97: (3) The Bears still can't put together a complete game.
Ruey Yen: (1) How can I possibly justify the Bears at the top of the Pac? Well, the Bears have found a way to stay unbeaten, for one. More importantly, I actually think the Bears have a solid chance to win the Pac this year. Even with all of the stronger Pac-12 South teams, Cal has a legit shot at beating all of the rest Pac-12 North team to pull an UCLA per 2011 (okay, so that team benefited from USC being ineligible), where a worse record in the North may be enough to send the Bears to the championship game...that is conveniently located in the South Bay at Levi Stadium. With all of the Cal fans in the entire Bay Area and beyond flocking to see the Bears with their best chance to win the conference, I can see Jared Goff being carried off the field by fans rushing the field after an improbable Cal victory. Okay, that's probably a bit unrealistic...given how the Levi Stadium's security will likely not allow Cal fans to rush the neutral field.
Leland Wong: (5) They outgained the Pups 481 to 259 yards, but just couldn't score. For a team whose strength has been the offense for the past few years, it's very good news to be able to rely on your defense to win when the offense is struggling.
Benwemer: (3) 4-0 for the first time since 2007 and ranked for the first time since 2010. Good weekend for them. Next weekend is a trap game they cannot overlook the cougs.
boomtho: (3) Don't burn me at the stake, but I think Stanfurd may be a better team than us... but that's a guess, and the facts are that Cal is the only undefeated team in the North.
Sam Fielder: (3) It was a grind-it-out win that was harder than it should have been, but the fact that Cal is now winning these games instead of losing them is a huge positive.
ragnarok: (3) 4–0, with two road wins @ Texas and @ Washington, is a pretty good resume, regardless of the current mediocre state of both of those programs. I'm still slightly worried about Wazzu this weekend, as well as finding any wins in the murderer's row (@Utah, @UCLA, USC, @Oregon) that follows.
Nik Jam: (5) Finally the team is getting national recognition in the polls. We'll know it's a curse if they lose to Wazzu, but it's not a curse if they still tumble down the stretch against the four teams I listed above Cal.
KWBears: (4) Cal is good, but not great. That game against the Huskies was a lot closer than most Cal fans expected. The Bears have one more week to work things out (against WSU) before they had into the meat of their schedule.
atomsareenough: (3) In a sense, the Bears are right where they should have been expecting, but the fact that nothing major has gone wrong so far is a big deal. Moreover, with Oregon looking weak, Stanfurd being up-and-down so far, and a win over the Huskies already in the pocket, the Bears have a prime opportunity to compete for a division championship. Winning over Wazzu this week will be an important next step, though.
mpeters10: (4) Still undefeated! The streak is over! Yet and still, I was hoping for a much larger margin of victory once we went up 27–7. I felt like we owed them a beating and let them off the hook. The Bears' inability to comfortably close out big fourth quarter leads is frightening and will more than likely cost us a game or two against better opponents.
Perryscope: (3) Huge win at UW and they won in an unfamiliar fashion: behind the defense. We forced five sacks and five turnovers. Outstanding effort by a highly criticized unit that now helps stabilize quite a competitive team. Cal has a favorable home match-up against Wazzu and will most likely start off the year 5–0!
Rob Hwang: (3) Good win against Washington at Husky Stadium, but still a lot of question marks covering the middle of the field. The offense is slightly off as well, hopefully this week against WSU gets us back on track.
Solomon Kim: (3) Cal fans are used to last second heartbreak, but this team has held on to its lead (albeit barely) twice on the road. I'm tempted to look beyond simple bowl-eligibility to start talking about a division or even conference title.
4. Stanfurd Cardinal
Last week: 6
Nick Kranz: (3) Stanfurd's loss to Northwestern and win over USC are gradually looking better and better, as is their offense. Just a question of defensive depth and health now.
Berkelium97: (4) They finish ahead of USC thanks to last week's win.
Leland Wong: (4) The stink of their Week One loss to Northwestern is beginning to fade... I know Oregon State isn't the best team this year, but this was a pretty impressive clubbering thanks to the Furdie run game, which was good enough that Kevin Hogan only had to throw 16 times.
Ruey Yen: (4) Stanfurd are 2–0 in the Pac so far. That Northwestern loss is starting to look like an aberration...unfortunately.
Benwemer: (4) They're getting better every week and continuing to roll. Hate to say it, but I love Christian McCaffrey—he just does everything.
boomtho: (4) I was much happier when they were losing to NW. Looks like the line is really starting to jell.
Sam Fielder: (5) They had about 500 yards on the ground and won easily a game they should have won easily.
ragnarok:: (4) Week 1 is looking more and more like an aberration as the Cardinal have seemingly figured out what a functional offense looks like.
Nik Jam: (3) Another easy win for the Cardinal. I really hope they don't run the tables, but it's a possibility.
KWBears: (5) Furd got a nice win over the lowly Beavers. The battered Wildcats are coming to town and the Cardinal should beware of this potentially angry and embarrassed team.
atomsareenough: (5) The Cardinal have a similar story to USC: inconsistent play and questionable coaching. Even better for them, they don't yet have a conference loss. I just don't think their team is as talented overall as USC.
mpeters10: (3) The Cardinal rushing game is getting on track, unfortunately, and they look better and better each week. I don't like it. This needs to stop immediately, though it looks like Arizona won't be capable of doing anything about it during this upcoming game.
Perryscope: (5) Got it done at Corvallis like they were supposed to. They have been impressive and only went down in the rankings because of Cal's and USC's impressive wins.
Rob Hwang: (5) A week off. They're getting better(?) which is weird considering they were supposed to be good. I don't know anymore.
Solomon Kim: (4) Northwestern is definitely starting to look like a fluke. The next two weeks will clear up any remaining questions we have in that regard.
5. USC Trojans
Last week: 7
Nick Kranz: (4) USC should perpetually be ranked 4th in the Pac-12, to average out the fact that they have absurd talent but completely no-show two or three games each year ARGH WHY DID YOU LOSE TO STANFURD I'M STILL ANGRY ABOUT THAT DAMMIT.
Berkelium97: (5) A good win, but ASU has done nothing to prove it's even a middling Pac-12 team.
Leland Wong: (3) Considering their talent, this wasn't even a great game for QB Cody Kessler, who couldn't even complete 60% of his passes and threw his first interception of the year. But who needs to be accurate (or a good run game) when you can throw for over 11 yards per attempt and nearly 20 yards per completion?
Ruey Yen: (5) Good win by the Trojans...but maybe ASU is just bad this year.
Benwemer: (5) Beat ASU, but how good of a win is that...? Nobody really knows.
boomtho: (5) Either ASU is a lot worse than we all that at the beginning of the year, or USC isn't going to go away quietly. Sadly, I think it's the latter.
Sam Fielder: (4) Back to beating down overmatched competition. It's what Sark and the Trojans specialize in.
ragnarok: (5) A nice recovery after laying an egg vs. Stanfurd, the Trojan very efficiently turned fout turnovers into a 28-point margin of victory vs. Arizona.
Nik Jam: (4) Great bounce back win at Arizona State.
KWBears: (3) USC has a lot of athletes and that was on full display against ASU this week. Things may be clicking again for the Trojans.
atomsareenough: (4) I think the game was probably a little closer than the final score (much like the Bruins and Arizona, the Trojans barely outgained the Sun Devils by a yard), but USC needed a big win like this to get the bad taste of the Stanfurd loss out of their mouths. I still don't trust Sark & Co. to win consistently down the stretch, but if they've figured things out, they're still very much in the title hunt.
mpeters10: (5) USC got back to what they enjoy the most: destroying inferior opponents. USC can prove something to me if they can beat Notre Dame in a few weeks.
Perryscope: (4) They absolutely embarrassed the Sun Devils on offense, defense, and special teams. Cody Kessler once again looked very good and that Heisman resume is getting better every week. After giving up 41 points to Stanfurd, the USC defense gave up only 14 points. I still think USC will be a very tough team in this conference.
Rob Hwang: (4) Great win at Tempe, but their City of Los Angeles counterparts and Utah thoroughly outshone them just by box score alone. Kessler threw for 5 TDs, but there's still something unimpressive about this team's wins. Also, the fact they have a loss to Stanfurd on them.
Solomon Kim: (5) The Trojans are making their easy match-ups look easy as one would expect, but the question remains: can they win their big conference games? The Furd says no.
6. Washington Huskies
Last week: 8
Nick Kranz: (6) I was really impressed with UW's defensive resilience, but that offense is at least a year away, with issues at pretty much every position group.
Berkelium97: (7) That defense is the real deal.
Leland Wong: (6) Kudos to a stellar defense that kept them in this game. Aaaand that's about all the nice things I can bring myself to say about this school after having to talk about them for a week.
Ruey Yen: (8) The Washington D was impressive and I think Jake Browning will not be as turnover prone given more seasoning. I see them being a more dangerous team in the second half of Pac-12 play.
Benwemer: (6) Very hard-fought loss. Defense quieted a very good offense. If they had cut down on turnovers, they probably win. They had a shot and that's all you can ask for.
boomtho: (8) For internal consistency, I've got to put them above ASU, because they hung with the #3 in the rankings closely, while ASU got stomped by the #5 team. Their front seven is going to wreck a few gameplans the rest of the year.
Sam Fielder: (8) Of all the teams that lost, they were the closest to actually winning, despite the four turnovers.
ragnarok: (6) The Huskies are a couple of plays from being 4–0, but are almost certainly going to remain in the middle of the Pac this year.
Nik Jam: (9) Getting better and jelling as a team wasn't enough to extend their win streak vs. Cal. I still see them getting to a bowl game.
KWBears: (8) QB Jake Browning is a true freshman and that showed on Saturday. He will be good some day, but not this year. There's just not a lot of complexity to the Huskies offense which makes them all the more predictable for opposing defenses.
atomsareenough: (6) Yes, the Huskies lost. Yes, they're 2–2. Yes, the offense is still kinda dicey. But they have good talent on both sides of the ball, the defense is very strong, and the rebuild is ahead of schedule. They will upset someone this year.
mpeters10: (7) The Huskies showed a lot more fight than I thought they would when down 20 points. They have a decent team, but it's young. Chris Petersen needs time to turn it around.
Perryscope: (8) I really liked how they played against Cal. Even though their offense struggled all game, they found a way to have a chance to win the game in the 4th quarter. True frosh Jake Browning had a rough game and was under constant duress but I think the Huskies still have a chance to go bowling this season.
Rob Hwang: (8) The defense is a lot better than we expected after losing a lot of starters. The offense, on the other hand, still needs a lot of work. Jake Browning does have the look of a great Pac-12 QB.
Solomon Kim: (7) The Huskies have a lot more bite than initially believed. I'm pretty sure that Goff's ribs will agree.
7. Arizona Wildcats
Last week: 5
Nick Kranz: (7) Last year, Arizona had a solid defense with Scooby Wright and friends. His friends all graduated, and one man alone does not a defense make.
Berkelium97: (6) The ground game looked great but the passing game was atrocious, especially after Solomon left.
Leland Wong: (7) Despite the hideous score, the Wildcats actually moved the ball decently against the Bruins. But they gave the ball away thrice (all in the first half) and only scored on three out of eight first-half drives.
Ruey Yen: (6) I am assuming that Anu Solomon will be back soon, otherwise the Wildcats would be ranked lower.
Benwemer: (7) Bruins put a number on them. Bear down?
boomtho: (6) I guess Scooby Wright wasn't the solution to all of the Wildcats problems. Arizona ended up at #6 for me because of lack of good candidates, not because of any good signs on their resume.
Sam Fielder: (11) I think the injuries to key people caught up to them and they really walked into a good UCLA team.
ragnarok: (8) Arizona's three blowout wins over UT-San Antonio, Nevada, and Northern Arizona don't look all that impressive now. The Wildcats faced their first test of the season Saturday night, and they definitely didn't pass. Arizona might still be a good team, but I don't see them being a factor in the Pac-12 South.
Nik Jam: (7) Like Arizona State, I think it's safe to say Arizona won't factor into the Pac-12 South title race, but they'll still be a tough out for teams going forward.
KWBears: (7) We all expected at least a fight in this GameDay match-up, but all we got was the same old from a Wildcats program that is consistently streaky. RichRod and this squad is in trouble of performing to their normal expectations again—just average.
atomsareenough: (8) Well, they got Scooby Wright back, but he clearly wasn't 100%. Hopefully Anu Solomon isn't out too long with a concussion. I think Arizona can still contend if they heal up quickly and get their act together, but they have no margin for error after making so many against the Bruins.
mpeters10: (8) Wow. I expected a lot more from them this season, but they have not looked good from the moment this season kicked off against UTSA.
Perryscope: (6) Bad news for the Wildcats. They lost considerably to their division counterpart and worse lost their QB, Anu Solomon, in what appeared to be a head injury. With or without him, Arizona has a tough match-up at the Farm next week.
Rob Hwang: (7) A lot hinges on Anu Solomon's injury status. If he's not back I just don't see this team having the offensive firepower with Nick Wilson alone to do damage in the South. Also, Scooby Wright was brought back from injury a little too quickly and was not nearly effective in stopping UCLA. They need to bring him back when he's a 100%.
Solomon Kim: (8) I was disappointed in this match-up. I expected more and I'm sure Rich Rod did too.
8. Oregon Ducks
Last week: 2
Nick Kranz: (8) All five of Oregon's NFL draft picks left gaping holes. Kinda refreshing that for once they haven't been able to seamlessly replace brilliant players.
Berkelium97: (8) Andy Buh, is that you?
Leland Wong: (8) Let's look on the bright side... P Ian Wheeler had what I can only assume is the most action of his collegiate career with seven punts?
Ruey Yen: (7) It's a rebuilding year (by their lofty standard) up at UC Eugene.
Benwemer: (8) *sigh* I thought they were so much better. Utah just embarrassed them. Absolutely atrocious.
boomtho: (7) Beat down, destroyed, crushed... I can't even capture how thoroughly Utah outplayed them. But... they're still talented, and I really think they may only lose one more game and end up as 9–3. I'm definitely over-ranking based on their production to date, though.
Sam Fielder: (10) Wow. They got whipped at their own game and really struggled in all phases. Now we'll see how Helfrich and Co. can do on their own.
ragnarok: (9) Is Oregon the 9th-best team in the conference? Almost certainly not. But the Ducks don't have a quarterback, don't have a defense, and only have wins over Eastern Washington and Georgia State. The Ducks are still dangerous, but they're not what they have been.
Nik Jam: (8) Sure they got blown out, but they're still Oregon. They'll find a way to become relevant this season.
KWBears: (9) Who would've thought the Ducks would be this bad?! Ever since their close loss to Michigan State, it's pretty much been downhill for this team. I guess it really was all about Mariota these past seasons—without him, their offense is quite stagnant.
atomsareenough: (10) I was sorely tempted to rank Oregon #12 this week based on just how badly they were humiliated by Utah, but the truth is that they have enough quality players to still be a dangerous team, both this year and in the years to come. Maybe this is the beginning of the end of Oregon's run of dominance, or maybe it's more of a speed bump. Time will tell how they respond. Will they implode, will they rebound, will they sputter along?
mpeters10: (6) Wow. How great was it to hear how silent the Zoo was during the Utah game? I was willing to give the Ducks the benefit of the doubt to this point, but I can't anymore. This performance calls into question just how good their team is. The Ducks' defense looks like it might be the worst in the conference and this is not the conference to be in if you are vulnerable against the pass. Has the Duck dynasty come to an end? It appears so this season.
Perryscope: (7) Out of the Top 25 for the first time since 2009 and the Ducks are not what they used to be. Statistically, they have the worst defense in the Pac-12 and since their offense isn't prolific like they used to be, their team just isn't a threat.
Rob Hwang: (6) Destroyed. Annihilated. Humiliated at home. The Ducks drop, but I still see them as a great team. Utah's offense won't be that explosive every week and Oregon's secondary won't be that shell-shocked every week.
Solomon Kim: (6) I defer to Samuel L. Jackson. (But really. Wow. Not surprised by the loss, but by that point spread)
9. Arizona State Sun Devils
Last week: 9
Nick Kranz: (9) It figures that Todd Graham turns into a pumpkin less than a year after finally convincing all of us that he was a legit head coach.
Berkelium97: (10) I expected much more from the Sun Devils this season.
Leland Wong: (9) Why did I think these guys would be good? They moved the ball well enough (particularly on the ground), but gave the ball away four times—and the game with it. (BOOOOM HOW GOOD WAS THAT LINE?)
Ruey Yen: (9) I see a gap between ASU and the teams above it.
Benwemer: (9) I, along with everyone else, was wrong about this football team.
boomtho: (9) Can't remember a Pac-12 team being quite so overrated in a long time.
Sam Fielder: (12) So this team is not good. I'm now convinced.
ragnarok: (7) Woulda given the Trojans a game if they haven't gifted them so many turnovers.
Nik Jam: (6) The Sun Devils finally fall down to Earth. I don't think it's time to give up on them yet, but they're all but out of the South race already.
KWBears: (6) Things are not getting any easier for the Sun Devils as they head to the Rose Bowl next week.... probably for another shellacking.
atomsareenough: (9) Why are the Sun Devils looking so mediocre this year? I haven't watched enough of them to know, but clearly they're not the same team from last year.
mpeters10: (9) Perhaps the most disappointing team of the season thus far ... or is it Oregon? Arizona? Probably the Sun Devils. They look AWFUL. No-compete level.
Perryscope: (9) Disappointing start to the season to say the least. Both losses were blowouts to pretty good teams however both wins were close to bad teams. They were supposed to be competitive in the Pac-12 South and many experts had them in the College Football Playoffs. Boy were they wrong.
Rob Hwang: (11) Wow. Never did I imagine this team being blown up that badly. This team does not look like what we expected them to be. They still have a little bit of time to make up for their past games, but there isn't a lot of leeway anymore.
Solomon Kim: (9) I can't really say much about the Sun Devils, but they're in for a tough month.
10. Colorado Buffaloes
Last week: 10
Berkelium97: (9) Enjoy the winning record now, Buffs fans. Things are going downhill in a hurry during conference play.
Leland Wong: (10) Really wanted to give the Buffaloes a better ranking for shutting out Nicholls State; I know they're just an FCS school, but that's a huge relative achievement for the struggling Colorado. But, I just can't personally justify it when looking at the other performances. A much-needed dominant win on both sides of the ball.
Ruey Yen: (11) It's another win for the Buffs, even if it's came against Nicholls State (which is in Louisiana, by the way, I had to look it up).
Benwemer: (10) Got a shutout and congrats to Nelson Spruce.
boomtho: (10) Signs of life in Boulder.
Sam Fielder: (6) It only goes downhill from here.
ragnarok: (10) A 3–1 start for the Buffs is nice, but extending Nicholls State's losing streak to 21 games is hardly a challenge compared to Pac-12 play.
Nik Jam: (10) I can't see this team getting the necessary three wins in conference play to go to a bowl game. Kind of like our 2014 schedule, it's way too loaded.
KWBears: (10) The Buffs got a nice win this week, but the real games start next week for them versus the Ducks. This Oregon team is going to be pissed off, and that's too bad for Colorado.
atomsareenough: (7) They only beat Nicholls State, sure, but a shutout is something to be proud of. They're halfway to bowl eligibility and if I squint hard enough, I can maybe see the Buffs scratching out three more wins (maybe Oregon State, Washington State and.... Arizona State? Some other upset?) in order to get there. If they only get 5 wins though, they're really going to be kicking themselves over how they played in Hawai'i.
mpeters10: (10) The Oregon defense is bad. Let's see how many points they can put up this week. If they can score a bunch of points, maybe they have a shot at an upset. Probably not, but maybe. Oregon isn't invincible anymore and competing with the Ducks, albeit a down Ducks team, would show tangible improvement for the Buffs.
Rob Hwang: (10) They're winning (against the FCS).
Solomon Kim: (11) I said on another site that the Buffs would only win three this season. It's still possible that I'm right, but maybe I need to give them more credit. That being said, I think there are a bunch of guys in Eugene hungry to vent some frustration.
11. Washington State Cougars
Last week: 12
Leland Wong: (11) Getting a bye week right before facing an upper-mid-level Pac-12 team is just what they needed.
Ruey Yen: (12) Surprisingly, Wazzu managed to make some news on a bye week...with that random fiasco about their flag not being able to make it to College Game Day. That's one way to Coug it on a bye week.
Benwemer: (11) Had a bye this week, so they couldn't lose in the rankings.
boomtho: (11) Hope we're knocking them down to #12 next week!
Sam Fielder: (7) They narrowly didn't lose the bye week.
Nik Jam: (11) They will not be an easy out next Saturday, but no reason to see this team bowling.
KWBears: (12) The Cougars had a bye week, but I still don't think they would win a game against either Colorado or OSU at this point, so that's why I have them at the very bottom.
atomsareenough: (11) Bye week for the Cougs. Will they have some extra wrinkles ready for the Cal game?
mpeters10: (11) Move along, nothing to see here.
Rob Hwang: (9) Mike Leach will be in Berkeley. I repeat. Mike Leach will be in Berkeley.
Solomon Kim: (10) The Cougs have had two weeks to prep for the Bears this upcoming Saturday. Still don't think it'll be enough.
12. Oregon State Beavers
Last week: 11
Nick Kranz: (11) Seth Collins looked a bit more dangerous downfield, but not hardly dangerous enough to make up for a defense starved for talent and experience.
Leland Wong: (12) Offensively, nothing was working for the Beavers. Defensively, they allowed an uninspiring Lobsterback team to gain nearly 8 yards per play.
Ruey Yen: (10) I was kind of impressed by the Beavers during the first half of their game against Stanfurd.
Benwemer: (12) I just feel bad.
boomtho: (12) If you don't have anything nice to say, guess you're not supposed to say anything at all.
Sam Fielder: (9) They at least kept things respectable until the 3rd quarter, which is more than other teams here can say.
ragnarok: (12) The 'Furd may turn out to be a really good football team this year, but Oregon State sure didn't give me any reason to move them out of the basement.
Nik Jam: (12) They're not going anywhere this year, but they're showing signs of life offensively.
KWBears: (11) The Beavers' loss to Furd was as expected. They get next week off before heading down to Tucson for probably another loss.
atomsareenough: (12) The Beavs hung with Stanfurd for most of the first half, but ultimately the better team pulled away. I have a feeling this will be a familiar refrain in Corvallis this year.
mpeters10: (12) They actually performed better than I expected them to against Furd. It doesn't move them up the rankings though.
Rob Hwang: (12) Seth Collins looks like a star in the making; Storm Barrs-Woods is the ultimate great player on a bad team.
Solomon Kim: (12) When a team comes into a season with the disclaimer "rebuilding year", it becomes easier to let losses slide. However, a crushing loss is a crushing loss.
Is it time to get to the data?
Nope! We've got some slap-fighting over ballots first!
atomsareenough: If you guys can't put Utah on top this week after completely brutalizing last year's national championship runner-ups in every conceivable way, well... I don't know what to tell you. UCLA played well in Tucson and all, but the Utes were just executing on another level this Saturday.
Rob Hwang: To each his own.
KWBears: I completely agree, atoms. There must be some UC bias going on here....
boomtho: Leland, please move Utah down to #12 on my ballot :)
Sam Fielder: Legit pringles, boomtho.
atomsareenough: Whatever, boomtho should have his vote suspended anyway until he gives me the bottle of scotch he owes me after he bet against Cal last year :-P
Nick Kranz: Oddly, I have Utah first in my Top 25 poll (because Utah's resume is stronger) but not in my Pac-12 power poll because I simply believe that UCLA is a better team that Utah, early results be damned. We'll see if I'm right—I sure as hell hope I'm wrong.
mpeters10: Ok, I figured I needed to jump in on this UCLA and Utah debate. If Utah did this to last season's Oregon team then I would definitely put them ahead of UCLA, but they didn't. They whipped an Oregon team that has regressed tremendously since last season. Also, Utah didn't exactly run away from Utah State ... not even to the extent Washington did. They played a great game against Oregon, but I don't think it is an insta-vault to the top of every ranking. To each their own, though. Utah and UCLA will settle the debate on the field later this season.
atomsareenough: I may actually be naturally disinclined to give UCLA the benefit of the doubt because I've felt every single year that, with just a modicum of success, they are *so* incredibly quick to be overrated by everyone. And again this year, the Bruins escape with a 1-point win against BYU while Michigan crushes them 31–0. A Michigan team that Utah beat, BTW. And yeah, UCLA trounced Arizona, but the Wildcats also kinda shat all over themselves a bit too. The Bruins took advantage, but watching the Utah game as a point of comparison, that wasn't just Oregon making mistakes, it was Utah dominating them physically and strategically. Maybe that's just a perception thing, though. Heck, I feel like if Utah played UCLA right now, I'd pick Utah. Their defense is better, their run game is better, and they're not relying on a true freshman QB. We'll see how Rosen fares when facing the Utes' D. Fortunately for the Bruins, that match-up isn't going to happen until near the end of the season, so Rosen will have 6 more games under his belt by then.
So, yeah. This went on for awhile. I can't imagine how much more contentious it would have gotten if Twist didn't come in and make us all listen to his latest five-minute routine on men's attire. ("And what's up with collar stays? It's like, where's your collar gonna go?") And he didn't interrupt to keep the peace or anything. He was just really proud of his bit.
But enough with the bickering. Onto the data and votes!
Table 1. How we voted this week.
These numbers are averaged out to get the teams in the order listed in the main rankings that were given above, but boy howdy is there a nuance! The averages weren't pretty round integer values like that, and we can actually gain some resolution by taking a look at their precise values.
Figure 1. Our precise rankings, with error bars showing the standard deviation of our responses.
Daaaang take a look at how close Utah and UCLA are. There's also a nice clear divide between the top five teams of the conference and the bottom seven—and how nice is it for Cal to be in the top tier for a change? And Wash just barely edged out Arizona for the number 7 spot this week—7.200 vs. 7.267 points.
When we graph out our rankings over time, we see that Oregon has actually been in a pretty consistent downfall all season. What a strange and unusual feeling for them! I'm sure we all hope it doesn't last long. On the other side of things, UCLA had been in a pretty consistent upward trend this year—little did they know that Utah had aspirations to destroy their dreams and Oregon's.
Figure 2. Following our precise ranks over the course of the season.
We can also chart out the rounded rankings—because this post isn't long enough as it is! One of the interesting trends that I noticed here is ASU stabilizing after their fall from grace and Colorado starting to level out after a couple weeks of moving up, which really is the sole reason why they bust their asses in practice all day. Stanfurd is finally recovered after that hilarious Week One loss and are ranked higher than they were in the preseason.
Figure 3. I'm sure you know the drill by now and if you're a new reader, then I'm sure you can figure it out. The SBN Editor has eaten parts of this post for the third time tonight and I'm about to raaaage.
We quantify all of this movement up and down our rankings and branded it as Madness.
|Change on week|
Table 2. The Madness of the 2015 season!
The Ducks are now the shamed owners of the biggest single-week jump this year—and it was in the wrong direction. This also gives them the title of the Maddest team of the season—but I'm sure #Pac12AfterDark has plenty to say about that.