Pac-12 power rankings: Oregon remains our No. 1 choice
The reaction to the first week of the college football season is always over the top. Alabama and Florida State will still likely be dominant teams this season despite some close calls on Saturday. UCLA and Washington’s offenses aren’t as bad as they looked in season-opening road games, and Georgia running back Todd Gurley would not be an NFL All-Pro this season, probably.
But we did learn a few things watching the Pac-12’s first slate of games. Here’s how the conference currently stands based on the initial impressions from a week of competition against mostly lesser-regarded opponents.
1 Oregon: (1-0; last week: No. 1) Freshman “Rolls” Royce Freeman looks like a star at running back, so backfield batterymate Byron Marshall switched gears, collecting 138 receiving yards and two touchdowns to go with 90 yards on the ground.
2 Stanford: (1-0; last week: No. 3) Ty Montgomery took his first touch of the season – a punt return — 60 yards for a touchdown and the Cardinal didn’t let UC Davis score a single point. Not a bad start for the two-time defending Pac-12 champs.
3 USC: (1-0; last week: No. 5) After a week of turmoil in Southern California the Trojans looked awesome in Steve Sarkisian’s first game as USC coach. Cody Kessler earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors after throwing for 394 yards and four touchdowns, and there should be more where that comes from if his group of freshmen receivers is as good as it looked on Saturday.
4 Arizona State: (1-0; last week: No. 4) The Sun Devils’ defense didn’t look like an inexperienced group during the rout of Weber State. The young defenders will be veterans by the time they face a real opponent in week four.
5 UCLA: (1-0; last week: No. 2) Obviously, the Bruins can’t rely on the defense to score 75 percent of their points most weeks. The offense needs to find a way to score with quarterback Brett Hundley running for his life.
6 Arizona: (1-0; last week: No. 8) There isn’t much more Anu Solomon could have done to prove he is the right man at quarterback for the Wildcats. Debuts don’t get much better than 425 yards and four touchdowns.
7 WSU: (0-1; last week: No. 7) It’s the chicken-or-the-egg conundrum for the Cougars, who need to develop a winning attitude amid a flurry of late losses. Dating back to last season, the Cougars have lost three consecutive games in which they led or had a chance to take the lead late in the fourth quarter.
8 Washington: (1-0; last week: No. 6) Jeff Lindquist made a great case for Cyler Miles to take over as the starting quarterback, completing just 3 of 15 passes in the second half of a game the Huskies were lucky to win.
9 California: (1-0; last week: No. 12) Sonny Dykes picked up the first road win of his tenure as the Cal coach and the Golden Bears matched their win total from a season ago. Cal might not be an automatic victory in Dykes’ second season.
10 Utah: (1-0; last week: No. 10) Quarterback Travis Wilson made it through his one half of football healthy, and that’s about all that mattered in a game that could only have ended in a blowout victory for the Utes.
11 Oregon State: (1-0; last week: No. 9) The Beavers didn’t lose to their lower-division opponent in this year’s opener but OSU still trailed at the half against Portland State.
12 Colorado: (0-1; last week: No. 11) The Buffaloes were outscored 17-0 in the fourth quarter in Denver, a surefire way to lose a rivalry game and to remain at the bottom of the Pac-12.