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Jacob Thorpe’s Pac-12 Conference power rankings

The out-of-conference games took their toll on the Pac-12 and now that the conference’s teams are sufficiently beaten up they’ll start to play each other. With a 25-4 record in nonconference games the Pac-12 mostly solidified its reputation as one of college football’s top conferences.

Still, it’s hard not to think that the Pac-12 missed an opportunity to really be considered elite. USC is still one of the conference’s most talented teams and could certainly win the Pac-12 South. If it does, it will make every good program it beats look bad in the process, losing to the team that lost to Boston College.

Even though UCLA went undefeated, the Bruins’ six-point average margin of victory against what wasn’t thought to be an imposing schedule is going to diminish the national perception of one of the Pac-12’s most talented teams for the rest of the year.

At least Oregon took care of business.

1 Oregon (3-0; last week: No. 1) Oregon has already reached the point in the season where it doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone. All the Ducks need to do is avoid a letdown and they’ll be in the playoffs.

2 Stanford (2-1; last week: No. 4) Let’s hope the cadets of Army show a little more firepower off the field.

3 Arizona St. (3-0; last week: No. 3) Todd Graham scrambles to find film on UCLA backup quarterback Jerry Neuheisel. Maybe the sophomore’s dad has some lying around the Pac-12 offices?

4 UCLA (3-0; last week: No. 6) Brett Hundley’s injury has caused coach Jim Mora to take a self-imposed vow of silence and we shall join him in solidarity.

5 USC (2-1; last week: No. 2) Athletic director Pat Haden finally drew the line when Steve Sarkisian asked him to sub in at running back against Boston College.

6 Washington (3-0; last week: No. 7) Receiver John Ross is averaging 28 yards and 0.44 touchdowns per offensive touch. Maybe against Oregon and Stanford the Huskies will start giving him the ball more than three times per game.

7 Arizona (3-0; last week: No. 5) Nevada wouldn’t be the worst Pac-12 team this season but the Wildcats should win by more than one touchdown at home.

8 Utah (2-0; last week: No. 9) If Travis Wilson goes into the Big House and beats Michigan the Utes will be a top-five team in next week’s power rankings and Wilson will be the Pac-12’s second-best healthy quarterback.

9 California (2-0; last week: No. 8) If California can win in Tucson then we’ll know this team is legit. If not, well this season is already an improvement over last year.

10 Washington St. (1-2; last week: No. 11) The Cougars showed just how prolific the Air Raid offense can be when you’re bigger, stronger and faster at every position.

11 Oregon St. (2-0; last week: No. 10) One shudders to think how the Beavers would have fared against Portland State and Hawaii if quarterback Sean Mannion had done the sensible thing and turned pro last season.

12 Colorado (1-2; last week: No. 12) The Buffaloes can look for positives in a closer-than-expected loss to Arizona State.


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