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Pac-12 Hotline: Oregon claims top spot as Arizona tumbles in conference power ratings
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Pac-12 Power Ratings

Pac-12 Hotline: Oregon claims top spot as Arizona tumbles in conference power ratings

  • Updated

Defensive lineman Jayson Jones and the rest of the Ducks look like the Pac-12’s best team after an upset victory at Ohio State.

The Ducks’ impressive win in Columbus moves them to the No. 1 spot in the conference power ratings, while USC’s home loss to Stanford not only dropped the Trojans in the rankings, but cost coach Clay Helton his job Monday.

1. Oregon (2-0)

Last week: 3

Result: Won at Ohio State 35-28

Next up: vs. Stony Brook (4:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)

Comment: Ideal opponent to serve as bridge between post-Ohio State euphoria and the start of conference play next week against Arizona. (Come to think of it, Arizona might not muster any more resistance than Stony Brook.)

2. UCLA (2-0)

Last week: 1

Result: Idle

Next up: vs. Fresno State (7:45 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)

Comment: Good news, UCLA: I know at least one AP top-25 voter who has the Pac-12 Networks and will be awake to see the game from start to finish.

3. Arizona State (2-0)

Last week: 4

Result: Beat UNLV 37-10

Next up: at Brigham Young (7:15 p.m., ESPN)

Comment: Perhaps more than any other team, the Sun Devils need BYU to keep winning (after this week). It’s the only chance for their non-conference schedule to gain legitimacy.

4. USC (1-1/0-1)

Last week: 2

Result: Lost to Stanford 42-28

Next up: at Washington State (12:30 p.m., Ch. 11)

Comment: The knucklehead plays that littered the Clay Helton era were out in full force Saturday night. The blowout loss to Stanford ended up costing Helton his job, as he was fired Monday afternoon.

5. Utah (1-1)

Last week: 5

Result: Lost at BYU 26-17

Next up: at San Diego State (4 p.m., CBS Sports Network)

Comment: Had you told the Hotline in advance that Utah would average 7.7 yards per carry, we could not have imagined a realistic path to defeat. BYU rushing for 231 yards? Not a scenario that would have been considered.

6. Oregon State (1-1)

Last week: 6

Result: Beat Hawaii 45-27

Next up: vs. Idaho (12:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks/Oregon only)

Comment: Jonathan Smith made the right call with Chance Nolan, who was efficient (21 of 29) and had zero interceptions. If the quarterback play is merely neutral the rest of the way, the Beavers have a chance for the postseason.

Stanford cornerback Kyu Blu Kelly lunges into the end zone to score after intercepting a USC pass Saturday. The Cardinal rebounded from an opening-season loss at Kansas State to trounce the Trojans.

7. Stanford (1-1/1-0)

Last week: 10

Result: Won at USC 42-28

Next up: at Vanderbilt (5 p.m., ESPNU)

Comment: Not unlike the start of the 2015 season, when Stanford pulled a no-show on offense at Northwestern and beat the Trojans decisively in the Coliseum two weeks later — en route to winning the conference title.

8. Colorado (1-1)

Last week: 7

Result: Lost to Texas A&M 10-7

Next up: vs. Minnesota (10 a.m., Pac-12 Networks)

Comment: If the offensive line simply holds its own, the Buffaloes might contend in the South. But the unit is a tad too wobbly, especially when combined with a rookie quarterback, for us to envision a sustained charge from CU.

9. Cal (0-2)

Last week: 8

Result: Lost at TCU 34-32

Next up: vs. Sacramento State (1 p.m., Pac-12 Networks/Bay Area only)

Comment: The Bears had best treat the Hornets seriously and not peek ahead to the conference opener (in Seattle) or 0-3 will become a gruesome reality from which there is little hope for escape.

10. Washington State (1-1)

Last week: 11

Result: Beat Portland State 44-24

Next up: vs. USC (12:30 p.m., Ch. 11)

Comment: It’s an oversimplification to say WSU’s success moves in lockstep with the number of touches Max Borghi receives on a per-game basis. But not much of one.

11. Washington (0-2)

Last week: 12

Result: Lost at Michigan 31-10

Next up: vs. Arkansas State (1:15 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)

Comment: We’re not buying the excuse — not for a second — that the missing receivers are at the root of the ailments. None of them are exactly John Ross or Dante Pettis. The offensive issues run deeper, and up the chain of command.

12. Arizona (0-2)

Last week: 9

Result: Lost to San Diego State 38-14

Next up: vs. NAU (7 p.m., Pac-12 Arizona)

Comment: Blowout losses at home to Group of Five opponents should never happen — not to any Pac-12 program, any year, under any circumstance. Jedd Fisch’s honeymoon ended with the blocked punt return that gave the Aztecs a 21-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

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