Divisional showdowns helped shape the landscape of the Pac-12 last week as surprising blowout victories by UCLA, USC, and Utah help form how we view the balance of power in this week’s rankings.
- #7 UCLA (4-0, 1-0, S&P+ 14th, Previous Power Ranking: 1)
Week 4: Defeated #16 Arizona; 56-30.
The Bruin’s 28-point lead on the road at half time showed the country this team can still dominate even without the services of three defensive starters lost for the year due to injury.
The defense may not be the best in the country, but it feeds an explosive offense with turnovers which in turn leads to running back Paul Perkins raising the bar of his star power each and every new week.
- #17 USC (3-1,1-1, S&P+ 9th, Previous Power Ranking: 3)
Week 4: Defeated Arizona State; 42-14.
The Trojans brushed off the loss to the Cardinal a week prior with a statement win for Steve Sarkisian’s program. Seemingly every move the coaching staff made turned to gold for this team and helps to quiet those calling for his head thanks in part to his team leading 35-0 on the road against a divisional opponent by halftime.
- #18 Utah (4-0, 1-0, S&P+ 29th, Previous Power Ranking: 5)
Week 4: Defeated #13 Oregon; 62-20.
It was a dominating performance on offense, defense, and special teams as the Utes walked away with a 42-point victory over a Ducks team that had lost just twice at home over the last three years.
- #18 Stanford (3-1, 2-0, S&P+ 13th, Previous Ranking: 6)
Week 4: Defeated Oregon State; 42-24.
That S&P+ rating surely stands out for the second straight week as it has this team ranked within the top 15 football teams in college football. So is it safe to say that Northwestern game was simply an anomaly?
Kevin Hogan wore all week leading up to the game, took it off throwing two touchdowns in the process, and then went back to wearing it after the game. That fact, and Christian McCaffrey’s 206 yards rushing on 30 attempts would lead you to believe Stanford is getting back to playing good Stanford football again.
- #24 Cal (4-0, 1-0, S&P+ 36th, Previous Power Ranking: 7)
Week 4: Defeated Washington; 30-24.
The Bear Raid looked electric once again in the first half against a stingy Huskies defense, and are now 4-0 for the first time since wide receiver DeSean Jackson was causing havoc for opposing defensive backs nearly a decade ago. Sonny Dykes has his team ranked for the first time since 2010.
- Oregon (2-2, 0-1, S&P+ 52nd, Previous Power Ranking: 2)
Week 4: Lost to #18 Utah; 62-20.
The Ducks were absolutely dominated at fortress Autzen in all three phases of the game last week. Mark Helfrich now needs to circle the wagons without the likes of key skill players on offense and an in-season quarterback competition.
- Arizona (4-0, 1-0, S&P+ 67th, Previous Rank: 4)
Week 4: Lost to #9 UCLA 56-30; 77-13.
While they were blown out much like their in-state rivals on their home field, you can excuse the Cats if they use the loss of sophomore quarterback Anu Solomon in the first half due to a concussion against the Bruins as an excuse. And his backup Jerrard Randall while a running threat, could do very little in the passing game, completing only 4 of 16 attempts in the game.
Solomon may or may not start against Stanford this weekend, but impact linebacker Scooby Wright III will miss another few weeks after sustaining a foot injury in his first game back since the opener. As a result, the Arizona defense had few little to no answer for the Bruins offense throughout much of the game. That trend should more than likely continue as Stanford will continue to ride the legs of McCaffrey in their match-up Saturday.
- Arizona State (2-2, 0-1, S&P+ 48th, Previous Power Ranking: 8)
Week 4: Lost to #19 USC; 42-14.
Even with getting blown out at home in the Pac-12 opener, the Devils stay where they were last week due to the level of competition below them in the rankings.
Turnovers have killed this team’s chance of gaining any momentum offensively as of late and the defense’s lack of big plays have failed to spark any positive momentum in giving the ball back to the offense.
The Devils finished fifth and sixth in the nation the last two years in turnover differential. Going into the fifth week of the ‘15 season they are currently sitting just inside the top-100 in the nation with a differential of -3.
Not a great prognosis as they head to the Rose Bowl this weekend to take on a Bruins team they have traded blows with since both Todd Graham and Jim Mora were hired before the 2012 season.
- Washington (2-2, 0-1, S&P+ 62nd, Previous Power Ranking: 9)
Week 4: Lost to Cal; 30-24.
The Huskies mounted a valiant second half comeback at home against Cal, but will need to utilize their bye week as they prepare for a surging Stanford team next week.
- Oregon State (2-2, 0-1, S&P+ 83rd, Previous Power Ranking 10)
Week 4: Lost to #21 Stanford; 42-24.
The Beavers will live and die with true freshman quarterback Seth Collins who currently stands as the team’s leading rusher through four games. While that’s great for Collins, it’s also points to the reason this is the worst offense in the conference as Gary Anderson continues to search for answers at running back and wide receiver.
- Colorado (3-1, 0-0, S&P+ 88th, Previous Power Ranking: 11)
Week 4: Defeated Nicholls State; 48-0.
Colorado only had one slip up to Hawaii during their non-conference schedule, but the question remains, can this team win 4 out of 9 games to finish out the season in a bowl game?
- Washington State (2-1, 0-0, S&P+ 106th, Previous Power Ranking: 12)
Week 4: Bye.
Long-time listeners of our ASU Devils Den podcast are familiar with my love affair of when Washington State and Cal would play each other each and every year as it pitted Leach against Dykes in an all-out aerial explosion.
This year’s edition should be pretty one-sided as Dykes continues to build a program more well-rounded than that of his former boss in Pullman.
** S&P+ rating was created by FootballOutsiders.com : The S&P+ Ratings are a college football ratings system derived from the play-by-play and drive data of all 800+ of a season’s FBS college football games (and 140,000+ plays).