Stanford edged out Oregon in Saturday’s clash of Pac-12 North titans and earned the rights to No. 1 ranking, while former No. 1 Washington barely squeaked out a win over Arizona State in Seattle. Something tells me we’ll keep the Cardinal up there for a while if they can escape victorious from their next two games – at No. 8 Notre Dame and home versus Utah.
1. Stanford (3-0, 1-0; last week: No. 2) – Elite running back? Check. Poised quarterback? Check. Dynamic receiver? Check. Battle-tested defense? Check. Reliable kicker? Check. Looks like the Cardinal have something special brewing this year.
2. Washington (3-1, 2-0; last week: No. 1) – They’ve looked plenty vulnerable these last few weeks, but the Huskies know how to win the ugly games – and it’s a quality that could come in handy again Saturday against No. 20 BYU.
3. Colorado (3-0; last week: No. 4) – The Buffaloes may be 3-0, but their first three opponents are just 1-10. With UCLA on deck, it still may be a few weeks before we know what this Colorado team is actually made of.
4. Oregon (3-1, 0-1; last week: No. 3) – Mario Cristobal and his staff made some baffling decisions down the stretch of a close game against Stanford. They can’t afford those same errors these next few weeks in games at Cal and at home versus Washington.
5. Cal (3-0; last week: No. 5) – Well, this had to be one of the best bye weeks in Cal football history. The Golden Bears spent seven days healing up after a win over Idaho State, then woke up Sunday to find they were ranked 24th in the Associated Press Top 25. Cal hadn’t made an appearance there since 2015.
6. USC (2-2; 1-1; last week: No. 9) – Maybe the young quarterback and his crew of receivers just needed a few games to work the kinks out. How long before the Trojans resurface as the front-runner in the Pac-12 South?
7. Washington State (3-1, 0-1; last week: No. 6) – Scoring points has been a breeze for the WSU and new quarterback Gardner Minshew, who has the Cougars averaging more than 41 per game. If they can find a way to win the next two, a 5-1 record would look mighty fine heading into the bye week.
8. Utah (2-1, 0-1; last week: No. 7) – The Utes are an offensive line away from being a top contender in the Pac-12 South. Let’s see if they were able to build it during the bye week.
9. Arizona (2-2, 1-0; last week: No. 10) – Running back J.J. Taylor did his best Khalil Tate impression, rushing for 284 yards as the Wildcats clobbered Oregon State in Corvallis. Arizona will need Tate’s wheels eventually, though.
10. Arizona State (2-2, 0-1; last week: No. 8) – Eno Benjamin rushed for 104 yards, which is also how many Manny Wilkins passed for Saturday against Washington. The Huskies are tougher than most, but suffice it to say that formula won’t get the Sun Devils too far.
11. Oregon State (1-3, 0-1; last week: No. 11) – The Beavers gave up 442 rushing yards last weekend and will now have to gear up for a team that plans to throw for that many.
12. UCLA (0-3; last week: No. 12) – USC played Friday, the Rams and the Chargers faced off in a crosstown NFL showdown Sunday and LeBron and the Lakers diverted the city’s attention Monday and Tuesday. This was all ideal for Chip Kelly and the winless Bruins during the bye week.
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