Pac-12 Power Rankings — 9/23/13

1. Oregon (3-0) — The Ducks are second in the country in scoring offense and fifth in scoring defense. No other Pac-12 team ranks top-10 in both, and only Arizona (15th and third) is in the top 30.

2. Stanford (3-0, 1-0) — The Cardinal rolled over Arizona State, running up a 39-7 lead after three quarters. A year in minor-league baseball hasn’t affected tailback Tyler Gaffney, who has shined immediately in his return to The Farm with five rushing touchdowns, good for third in the Pac-12.

3. UCLA (3-0) — Jordon James is fourth in the country with 141.3 rushing yards per game, a total that even surprised head coach Jim Mora. UCLA has established one of the most potent offenses in college football; now it needs to handle business against Utah and Cal to preserve a likely matchup of undefeated teams at Stanford.

4. Washington (3-0) — After an inconsistent junior season, quarterback Keith Price looks to be fulfilling the promise he showed in 2011. The senior has thrown seven touchdowns against one interception, and has completed an astounding 77 percent of his passes, first in the Pac-12 by 5.5 percent.

5. Arizona State (2-1, 0-1) — ASU flirted with national legitimacy after a controversial win over Wisconsin, but The Sun Devils are still Pac-12 South contenders, and will have another chance to prove themselves with USC and

6. Arizona (3-0) — The conference hierarchy is muddled from here on out: Almost every team has had high notes tempered by jarring lows. So here the Wildcats are, undefeated but with a very suspect passing game. Arizona’s B.J. Denker only has two touchdown passes in three games, and double-digit completions in just one.

7. Washington State (3-1, 1-0) — Since upsetting USC on the road, the Cougars have outscored opponents 90-10 in two blowout wins. The fun should end when WSU plays Stanford this weekend at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field.

8. USC (3-1, 0-1) — The Trojans’ defense is elite: 11th nationally in opponent scoring (11.0), fifth in first downs (13.0), fourth in total yards (230.5), first in sacks (16). USC’s offense? Blech.

9. Oregon State (3-1, 1-0) — The Beavers are going to ride Sean Mannion’s arm until it falls off. Last in the conference with 2.10 yards per carry as a team, Oregon State has asked its junior quarterback to throw 186 passes this season — one behind WSU’s Connor Halliday for the national lead. He has 15 touchdowns, but OSU still needed a pick-six to beat winless San Diego State.

10. Utah (3-1, 0-1) — The Utes earned bragging rights for three years with a 20-13 win over BYU, but they’re still just 7-12 in Pac-12 play since joining the conference in 2011. Utah’s defense did better against the Cougars, but is still allowing over 400 yards per game.

11. Colorado (2-0) — The Buffs haven’t played since Sept. 7 due to a bye week and local floods, and trying to reschedule the delayed game with Fresno State isn’t helping Mike MacIntyre’s reclamation project. Colorado is also the only team in the conference without a rushing touchdown, and is 11th with 2.72 yards per carry.

12. Cal (1-2) — The Bears likely won’t finish the season as the conference’s worst team, but for now, they’re the only ones below .500. Cal gets some credit for not being completely embarrassed by No. 4 Ohio State, but a loss is a loss. Sonny Dykes hasn’t figured out how to best use speedy back Brendan Bigelow, and his defense is even more porous than it was at Louisiana Tech.

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  • UCLA Owns the Rose Bowl

    The most pleasant surpirses this year on O and D, respectively, have been James and Jack. I honestly don’t know what happened to Joystick in the off season, but he looks like a totally different back from last year: in ’12 he averaged 3.5 YPC compared to 6.8 this year. What’s funny is how the pUSC trolls were gloating in the off season, saying, “Now that Hundley doesn’t have Franklin and Fauria to make him look good, he’s going to be running for his life.” Just shows that when you have a great O line, your running backs look real good.

    • 92104bruinfan

      Let’s take that a step further and give big ups to the O-line which is probably the most under-publicized unit on the team. They’ve utterly mashed thus far.

    • EncinitasBruin

      Great O line is all the difference. Last time our O line was this good was in ’98. And we were one fumble away from the NC title game that year.

      • That wasn’t a fumble.

        • EncinitasBruin

          You are correct – Melsby’s knee was down… we got screwed.

        • Hank

          DO NOT MENTION THIS GAME. IT IS FORBIDDEN. Terrible call on the field in a rescheduled game. Fumble my @§&$! I still have nightmares. Stupid Hurricanes (both the team and well… the real thing, which caused the rescheduling).

  • EncinitasBruin

    “USC’s offense? Blech.” Classic, Jack!