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Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 5

Garrett Schwartz |
October 4, 2015 | 9:26 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

The Utes grab the ranking's top spot on the heels of UCLA's first loss of the season. (Flickr/ Kivey Kivey)
The Utes grab the ranking's top spot on the heels of UCLA's first loss of the season. (Flickr/ Kivey Kivey)
The Pac-12 continues to beat up on each other, and a new leader takes the ranking's top spot for the third time in just the past four weeks. Despite four teams being on bye, this week's rankings display a considerable shakeup. Without further ado:  

1. Utah (4-0; 1-0) 

Clearly the best of the remaining unbeaten teams in the conference, the No. 5 Utes are the ranking's new leader coming off a bye week. After an impressive performance against the Ducks a week ago, Utah certainly made a case for the top spot, and now they’ve got it. There will only be one unbeaten team remaining after next week, as the Utes will host the also unbeaten Cal Golden Bears.

2. Stanford (4-1; 3-0)

Alright already, we get it! The Cardinals’ Week 1 loss came very early in the season against a very good Northwestern team. Stanford’s been on a tear ever since their win at the Coliseum, smoking the Wildcats this week to hand them their second consecutive loss. Quarterback Kevin Hogan is doing everything right from both a leadership and performance standpoint. The No. 16 Cards would make a claim for the top spot in the rankings with a win against the Bruins next week.

3. Cal (5-0; 2-0)

Quarterback Jared Goff continues to be the best in the conference, and the Golden Bears defense continues to be much improved. Cal's standing in the rankings will become much clearer following next week’s matchup at Utah. With a win, No. 24 Cal will surely hold the ranking’s top spot. A loss, however, will send the Golden Bears tumbling down, as the team's resume lacks a high-quality win against a strong opponent. 

4. USC (3-1; 1-1)

The Trojans beat the Sun Devils who then beat UCLA. So, by the transitive property, that makes USC better than UCLA, right?  Probably not, but the manner in which the No. 17 Trojans beat ASU just a week ago allows them to jump the Bruins following their bye week. USC should be well rested and ready to go against a dangerously underrated Washington team on Thursday night.

5. UCLA (4-1; 1-1)

After ASU’s meltdown against USC last weekend, many thought the Bruins would easily put down the Sun Devils. Nonetheless, UCLA took its first loss of the season, as the offense simply couldn’t get anything going until late in the Rose Bowl. Perhaps a little overconfidence plagued the Bruins compared to the Sun Devils, who came out firing following last week’s bombshell of a performance. The No. 20 Bruins will look to bounce back against Stanford next week.

6. Oregon (3-2; 1-1)

The Ducks were able to shake off last week’s disappointing loss by moving on to beat Colorado, even without quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. Still, in a matchup the Ducks have proven to dominate in past seasons, Oregon lacks the excellence that characterized the team in the Chip Kelly era. The Ducks hope to get Adams Jr. back on the field next week as they look to continue to regain lost confidence against Washington St.   

7. Arizona State (3-2; 1-1)

Nobody in the conference seemed happier for October to come than the Sun Devils. ASU, a team that was praised in the preseason, had their “Don’t Count Us Out, Yet!” performance on Sautrday after taking down last week's rankings leader, UCLA. With defense being a cause for concern during their disappointing first month of the season, ASU completely shut down UCLA’s offense until the fourth quarter. The Sun Devils will look to gain even more momentum against Colorado next week in a continued effort to redeem their place in the rankings in the second half of the season.

8. Washington (2-2; 0-1)

The Huskies stay put in the eight-spot of the rankings following a bye week. Washington has flirted with a perfect record this season, but has been unable to finish out close games against Boise St. and Cal. Perhaps the Huskies can get their first big win of the season next week by catching the Trojans off guard in the Coliseum. 

9. Arizona (3-2; 0-2)

Following their second consecutive ugly loss, the Wildcats are still in search of their first conference “W". Quarterback Anu Solomon, who suffered a concussion against UCLA last week, did not play, which explains much of the team’s offensive woes on Saturday. However, the Arizona defense looked hopeless, surrendering over 50 points for the second straight week. The Wildcats offense has proven to be explosive with a healthy Solomon, yet Arizona will have to play well on both sides of the ball to stand a chance in the tough Pac-12.  

10. Colorado (3-2; 0-1)

The improvement is there, but so is the Buffs’ inability to beat big-time opponents. Colorado, who lost had lost their 4 previous meetings to Oregon by an average 43.5 points, were competitive throughout the entirety of Saturday’s matchup. Still, Colorado had a real chance to take down a shaken Oregon team, who were especially vulnerable without their starting quarterback. Colorado’s matchup against ASU should be interesting, as ASU has established itself as a wildcard team and Colorado is no longer solely a blip in the schedule.

11. Washington St. (2-2; 0-1)

Well, when you lose, it’s not going to be easy to move up in the rankings. The Cougs led Cal at halftime before falling apart in the second-half. Despite showing glimpses of impressive play against oppenents like Rutgers and Cal, the Cougs represent inconsistency at its finest. Best of luck to Washington St. as they head to Eugene to face the Ducks next week. 

12. Oregon St. (2-2; 0-1)

The Beavers stay put in last place following a bye week. Look for continued improvement from freshman quarterback Seth Collins against the Wildcats next week, who have been nothing short of a defensive nightmare over the past two weeks.  

Read last week's Pac-12 rankings here.

Contact Garrett Schwartz here and follow him on twitter @gschwartz95.



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