Rob Malara

Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 6


The second full week of Pac-12 play had a bit of everything from the afternoon until late in the evening last Saturday as then No. 7 UCLA fell from the ranks of the unbeaten, leaving just two unblemished teams out of 12 heading into the sixth week of the season.  

Just as you’d expect, one week later, two will will shrink to one after Cal and Utah square off at Rice-Eccles on Saturday.  Raise your hand if you thought that would be the Pac-12 game of the year at this point?  Now slap yourself with that same hand.

  1. #5 Utah (4-0, 1-0, S&P+ 19th, Previous Power Ranking: 3)

Week 5: On Bye.

If the Utes can handle Cal, they’ll legitimize themselves as the best team in the conference bar none.  They have a top-30 offense and defense in terms of S&P+, and their special teams are always just that, special.

  1. #16 Stanford (4-1, 3-0, S&P+ 10th, Previous Ranking: 4)

Week 5: Defeated Arizona; 55-17.

Christian McCaffrey is for real and the engine of a team that has averaged 42 points per game since the disappointing season opening 10-point loss to Northwestern.   You have to wonder,  what is the full potential of this team would be with a healthy Kevin Hogan?

  1. #17 USC (3-1,1-1, S&P+ 6th, Previous Power Ranking: 2)

Week 5: On Bye.

Tonight’s game doesn’t follow the usual Pac-12 Thursday night upset special narrative as the game will be played at the Colosseum.  But how inspired will all those players Steve Sarkisian recruited to play at Washington be now that he coaches at USC?

Both teams are coming off the bye week heading into this clash.

  1. Arizona State (3-2, 1-1, S&P+ 51st, Previous Power Ranking: 8)

Week 5: Defeated No.7 UCLA; 38-23.

Last week’s win in Pasadena restored some confidence to those who had previously picked this team to win the Pac-12 in the pre-season (this author included).

While there are still many cracks in the foundation, the coaching staff finally seemed to find a comfort zone (both coordinators came down from the booth last week), and it didn’t hurt that the team has continued to get players back from previous injuries.  While the Buffs gave the Ducks a big scare in Boulder, it heads to Tempe will injury concerns at both running back and the offensive line.

  1. #20 UCLA (4-1, 1-1, S&P+ 37th, Previous Power Ranking: 1)

Week 5: Lost to ASU; 38-23.

The Bruins head to their bye week licking their wounds after a tough loss to ASU at home.

The fan base is questioning the play calling once again of offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone after UCLA failed to run the ball effectively against the Devils.  

  1. #23 Cal (5-0, 2-0, S&P+ 48th, Previous Power Ranking: 5)

Week 5: On Bye.

The tough part of the Bears schedule begins this week.  With delicious match-up against the Utes (Bear Raid versus Sack Lake City) will show the country whether or not Cal is a paper tiger, with the Utes being their first ranked opponents of 2015.

  1. Oregon (3-2, 1-1, S&P+ 56th, Previous Power Ranking: 6)

Week 5: Defeated Colorado; 41-24.

The results in Boulder surely didn’t have Ducks fans thinking back to the Mariota days, but a win is a win at this point.  That defense struggled to defend the pass against the Buffs offense and things won’t get any better with the Cougars coming to town this weekend.

  1. Arizona (3-2, 0-2, S&P+ 85th, Previous Rank: 7)

Week 5: Lost to No.18 Stanford; 55-17.

Being forced to play without his leaders on both sides of the ball has really handcuffed Rich Rod.  Thankfully, he’ll get to heal up against the likes of Oregon State and Colorado the next two weeks to get back to a .500 record in the Pac-12.

  1. Washington (2-2, 0-1, S&P+ 46th, Previous Power Ranking: 9)

Week 5: On Bye.

While it’s never smart to bet against Chris Peterson, the Huskies have struggled to put together a running game that is much needed to slow down this USC offense.

  1. Washington State (2-2, 0-1, S&P+ 96th, Previous Power Ranking: 12)

Week 5: Lost to Cal; 34-28.

Mike Leach continues to struggle to gain any momentum with this program after the loss to his former assistant Sonny Dykes, and things don’t get much easier this week as 17-point dogs to Oregon in Eugene.

  1. Colorado (3-2, 0-1, S&P+ 104th, Previous Power Ranking: 11)

Week 5: Lost to Oregon; 41-24.

Glass half full; they continue to play well at home.  Glass half empty; they still don’t have the talent to play four quarters of football against superior opponents.

More of the same this week as they head to Tempe with major injury concerns but a brave quarterback in Sefo Liufau who isn’t afraid to throw the football early and often to Nelson Spruce (targeted 27% of all throws).  Keeping Liufau upright behind a shaky offensive line with movement at the tackle position will be critical in Saturday’s game.

  1. Oregon State (2-2, 0-1, S&P+ 65th, Previous Power Ranking 10)

Week 5: On Bye.

Word from Tucson is that Anu Solomon will return to face the Beavers after missing last week’s game against Stanford.  If that’s the case, it’s bad news for a team two weeks ago that stayed with Stanford, through the first half.


How do you rank the Pac-12 top-to-bottom? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

** S&P+ rating was created by : 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).  

About Rob Malara

Rob Malara

Rob Malara is a 2002 Sun Devil grad having spent the majority of his time in Tempe as a football, basketball, and baseball season ticket holder and front row inhabitant. A member of the Football Writers Association of America, he hosted the ASU Devils podcast and was its sub-optimal technical producer through its lifespan. Currently the president of the ASU Alumni Association's Northern Colorado Club, he is part of a family of maroon and gold residing in Fort Collins with his Sun Devil wife and nearby Sun Devil sister.

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