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Pac-12 power rankings: Aztecs make their case for inclusion into weekly poll

UPDATED: Tue., Sept. 19, 2017, 2:18 p.m.

Stanford fullback Hannes Bohning looks on during a delay after the stadium lights went down during the second half of an NCAA college football game against San Diego State Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in San Diego. San Diego State won 20-17. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) ORG XMIT: CAGB118 (Gregory Bull / AP)
Stanford fullback Hannes Bohning looks on during a delay after the stadium lights went down during the second half of an NCAA college football game against San Diego State Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in San Diego. San Diego State won 20-17. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) ORG XMIT: CAGB118 (Gregory Bull / AP)

Through three weeks of play, seven teams still have unblemished conference records and the school that carries the best Pac-12 mark into Week 4 is … San Diego State?

One week after cruising past Arizona State, the Aztecs stunned Stanford 20-17 in a game featuring the nation’s two leading rushers. Show of hands, Pac-12 coaches, how many of you decided Aztecs stud Rashaad Penny (588 yards in three games) wasn’t worth a scholarship offer? Apparently all 12 missed out.

I’ll dock David Shaw and the Cardinal a few points for overlooking the SDSU tailback and dropping to 1-2 on the season. Meanwhile, Stanford’s neighbors in Berkeley move up a few places thanks to a 3-0 start. Six other teams bring the same record into Week 4, so not too much shifting this week, but expect plenty seven days from now.

1. USC (3-0, 1-0; last week: No. 1) – Trojans-Longhorns is too good not to be a trilogy. Let’s do it again in 11 years?

2. Washington (3-0, 0-0; last week: No. 2) – The competition hasn’t been stellar, but the Huskies still look like an elite team. If only they could find somebody to return punts…

3. Oregon (3-0, 0-0; last week: No. 3) – Knock the Ducks all you want for playing only one half, but I’m almost positive if you score more in one half than the other team scores in two halves, you’re still the winner.

4. Washington State (3-0, 1-0; last week: No. 6) – Luke Falk is petitioning to the Pac-12 to see if the Cougars can just play Oregon State nine more times.

5. Colorado (3-0, 0-0; last week: No. 5) – It’s the Buffaloes and Huskies this weekend in the We Haven’t Really Played Anyone Yet Bowl. A rematch of the 2016 conference title game should tell us plenty about where both of these programs are at.

6. Utah (3-0, 0-0; last week: No. 8) – The Utes haven’t played anyone of note three games in and that won’t change when they travel to Pac-12 South foe Arizona this Saturday.

7. California (3-0, 0-0; last week: No. 9) – Unbeaten through nonconference play and with wins over Ole Miss, North Carolina and Weber State, it isn’t like the Golden Bears just played a bunch of nobodies.

8. Stanford (2-2, 0-1; last week: No. 3) – The Cardinal shouldn’t feel too bad – I’d have San Diego State (2-0 vs. Pac-12) no worse than No. 9 in this poll.

9. UCLA (2-1, 0-0; last week: No. 7) – There isn’t more you can ask Josh Rosen (1,283 yards) to do at the moment. And his teammates? Well, they need to be doing a whole lot more.

10. Arizona (2-1, 0-0; last week: No. 11) – Arizona scored 63 points and did what it needed to on Saturday against a middle-tier team from El Paso’s Pee Wee League.

11. Arizona State (1-2, 0-0; last week: No. 10) – ASU probably can’t drop lower than 11 in this poll. Then again, I’m not sure the Sun Devils can climb higher than 10.

12. Oregon State (0-3, 0-0; last week: No. 12) – I used this space last week to remind you that it couldn’t get much worse for the Beavers. Well, Jake Luton’s out for the foreseeable future. That qualifies as getting worse, right?


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