Pac-12 Football: 2018 conference power rankings – Week 2

TEMPE, AZ - OCTOBER 19: The 'Pac 12' logo is displayed on the filed during the college football game between the Washington Huskies and the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on October 19, 2013 in Tempe, Arizona. The Sun Devils defeated the Huskies 53-24. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
TEMPE, AZ - OCTOBER 19: The 'Pac 12' logo is displayed on the filed during the college football game between the Washington Huskies and the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on October 19, 2013 in Tempe, Arizona. The Sun Devils defeated the Huskies 53-24. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

After Week 1, the Pac-12 football teams did what they normally do: surprise, overachieve and disappoint. Now with just a few weeks left in non-conference play, GoJoeBruin takes a look at this week’s Pac-12 Power Rankings.


  1. Washington  Lost to 9) Auburn 21-16
  2. USC Won vs UNLV 43-21
  3. Stanford Won vs San Diego State 31-10
  4. Oregon Won vs Bowling Green 58-24
  5. Utah Won vs Weber State 41-10
  6. Arizona Lost vs BYU 28-23
  7. UCLA Lost vs Cincinnati 26-17
  8. Arizona State Won vs UTSA 49-7
  9. Cal Won vs North Carolina 24-17
  10. Colorado Won at Colorado State 45-13
  11. Washington State Won at Wyoming 41-19
  12. Oregon State Lost at Ohio State 77-31

PAC-12 Power Rankings Week 2

1. USC Trojans, 1-0

Last Week: 2 | Next Opponent: at Stanford

In his first NCAA game, true freshman QB JT Daniels was steady for the Trojans throwing 22 for 35 with one touchdown. Granted it was against a weaker opponent in UNLV but they are an improving team. Since coach Tony Sanchez took over in 2015, the Rebels’ win total has increased each year. Trojan running back Aca’Cedric Ware looked good rushing for 100 yards on just 10 carries. One concern for USC was the problem of getting the ball in the end zone. In the first half, 4 out of 7 drives ended in a field goal. They can get away with that against UNLV but if they’re only putting up three points instead of seven against Stanford this week, USC may quickly find themselves 0-1 in PAC-12 play. But for now, they have the best talent in the PAC-12.

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2. Washington Huskies, 0-1

Last Week: 1 | Next Opponent: vs North Dakota

The Huskies lost to the most talented Pac-12 Week One opponent, Auburn. In the loss, the Tigers held Washington to just one TD. Gus Malzahn’s defense also held Jake Browning to just 18 completions on 32 attempts. If the Huskies could have scored one more touchdown instead of settling for a field goal (3 FGs 1 TD), we would have been talking about how Washington was going to win the National Championship but instead, their dream is (pretty much) done.

3. Stanford Cardinal, 1-0

Last Week: 3 | Next Opponent: vs USC

San Diego State stacked the line against Bryce Love and the Cardinal…and it worked. Love was held to just 29 yards on 18 carries. Unfortunately for the Aztecs, when you stuff the box you leave your cornerbacks on an island and Cardinal QB KJ Costello took advantage. The junior from Coto de Caza threw for 332 yards including 226 yards to wideout JJ Arcega-Whiteside. This shows that even when Bryce Love has a difficult night, the Cardinal can still find a way to win.

4. Oregon Ducks, 1-0

Last Week: 4 | Next Opponent: vs. Portland State

It’s difficult to tell how good quarterback Justin Herbert and his Oregon Ducks team is at this point. With a win against Bowling Green and upcoming games against Portland State and San Jose State, the Ducks season won’t really get going until they start conference play with games vs Stanford, at Cal, Washington, at Washington State, and at Arizona. After that run of games, we’ll know just where Oregon stands. Until then, they need to dominate their lite non-conference games.

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5. Utah Utes, 1-0

Last Week: 5 | Next Opponent: at Northern Illinois

Blowing out an FCS team like Weber State to open your season is a great way to ease into a season but won’t shoot you up any power rankings. Running back Zach Moss was a big play machine rushing for 150 yards on just 16 carries.  The Utes visit Huskies Stadium (first PAC-12 ever) to play a Northern Illinois team that was crushed by Iowa last week. Utah must concentrate on this game and take care of business because they travel to Washington to face the other Huskies in two weeks.

6. Arizona State Sun Devils, 1-0

Last Week: 8 | Next Opponent: vs Michigan State

Herm Edwards’ first game as Arizona State’s head coach could not have gone better. Sure they played a UTSA team that went 6-5 last year and was starting a quarterback that had never taken a college snap but the Sun Devils still dominated from beginning to end. ASU held UTSA to 2 yards rushing and was pitching a shutout until about 6 minutes left in the game. If the Sun Devils can come out and burn the Spartans in Tempe this Saturday night, Herm Edwards might have a decent team on his hands.

7. California Golden Bears, 1-0

Last Week: 9 | Next Opponent: at BYU

For the second year in a row, the Cal Bears took down North Carolina in their opening game of the season. The Bears leaned on R-Sr running back Patrick Laird in the form of 29 carries for 95 yards. Quarterback duties consisting of short passes were split fairly evenly between Ross Bowers (8-17, 56 yards) and Chase Garbers (7-13, 54 yards). Neither was great but at least Garbers got into the end zone. If Cal can get past BYU, who looked better than expected against Arizona last week, an easy schedule could get the Bears into late October with just one loss or better.

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8. Arizona Wildcats, 0-1

Last Week: 6 | Next Opponent: at Houston

Arizona opened their season at home as 11 point favorites playing a BYU team that couldn’t score 20 points a game last year. So, of course, BYU held dual-threat QB Khalil Tate to 14 rushing yards and just 23 points in a 28-23 Wildcat loss. More worrisome for Arizona is that Tate only completed 50% (17 of 34) of his passes. If Tate is unable to throw the ball without any accuracy when other teams play to stop his run, the Wildcats are in for a long season.

9. Washington State Cougars, 1-0

Last Week: 11 | Next Opponent: vs San Jose State

The Cougars scored 41 points against a Wyoming team that could have the best defense in the Group of Five. Gardner Minshew, a transfer from East Carolina, looked comfortable in Mike Leach’s offense completing 38 of 57 passes with three touchdowns. With upcoming games against San Jose State and Eastern Washington, the Cougars should enter PAC-12 play undefeated where their first lost may be waiting in the form of USC.

10. Colorado Buffaloes, 1-0

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Last Week: 10 | Next Opponent: at Nebraska

For the third year in a row, Colorado opened their season against in-state rival Colorado State and for the third year in a row they’ve beaten the Rams. Most impressive was quarterback Steven Montez who tore up the Colorado State defense throwing for 338 yards on 22 out of 25 passes with four touchdowns. Granted Colorado State has not impressed this year (they also lost to Hawaii) but Colorado completely controlled the game. By halftime, the Buffs were up three scores and it never got any closer. If they can get by Nebraska this week, Colorado could be 5-0 going into a clash with USC.

11. UCLA Bruins, 0-1

Last Week: 7 | Next Opponent: at Oklahoma

When Chip Kelly was hired as the new Bruins’ coach, expectations were high that he could turn around a struggling football program. After Week 1 against Cincinnati, the turn around looks as if it could be a bit slower than anticipated. Wilton Speight was hurt in the game and replaced by true freshman Dorian Thompson-Robinson. At times DTR showed glimpses of why he was such a sought-after recruit but on other plays, he looked overwhelmed. My biggest concern is that UCLA only scored 17 points against a team that gave up nearly 32 points a game last year. If the Bruins’ offense sputters like this all season, Kelly is going to have a difficult time getting bowl his new team bowl eligible.

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12. Oregon State Beavers, 0-1

Last Week: 12 | Next Opponent: vs Southern Utah

The Beavers held their own at Ohio State…for a while. They were even down by “just” 26 points with 5 minutes left in the third quarter but soon the Beavers wore out and the Buckeyes ran away with the game. Redshirt sophomore QB Conor Blount was called on after Beaver starter Jake Luton was injured. Blount threw two first-half touchdowns and ended up with 169 passing yards. Even if Luton is ready for the game against Southern Utah, first-year coach Jonathan Smith may have a tough decision on who to start at quarterback.