Early Season Semi-Math Pac-12 Power Rank

Since I won't be publishing an updated Beta_Rank for a week or two longer I am going to do a Pac-12 power ranking based on what the presason model projected and what teams have looked like in their games so far.

Mostly in small sample sizes it is better to trust items that confirm things you have data on, even from previous seasons, than to believe some new trend has emerged and we should trust one game's worth of stats on it. That said I do care what you have done on the field this season.

1. Stanford
Preseason model: #16
(Last week def. #121 Rice 62-7)

The Cardinal ranked #3 in the Pac-12 in the preseason model, but they deserve to move up after easily handling Rice. Is Rice going to be any good? No the preseason model pegs them at #121, but Stanford did what you expected them to do.

This week at #7 USC

2. USC
Preseason model: #7
(Last week def. #69 WMU 49-31)

This final score looks better than most of the game did for the Trojans, but CMU made some plays and USC couldn't get out of their own way before the talent started to tell in the 4th quarter. In USC's defense WMU did play in the Cotton Bowl last year and seems well coached again.

This week vs. #16 Stanford

3. Washington
Preseason model: #6
(Last week def. #92Rutgers 30-14)

The Huskies did not play great. Especially considering their offense is supposed to be a strength this year. It is early and they have a lousy non-conference to tune up again. I don't expect this Rutgers game to be a trend.

This week vs. Montana

Preseason model: #28
(Last week def. #24 Texas A&M)

Was it pretty? No. Did Kevin Sumlin manage the clock well? No. Did they beat what should be a pretty good SEC West team and set themselves up to make a run at 9+ wins? Yes. A significant chunk of the fan base still wants to fire Mora, but the offense looked better in the second half than anytime last year other than the Arizona game.

This week vs. #100 Hawaii

5. Washington State
Preseason model: #26
(Last week def. Montana State 31-0)

Good game for the Cougs beating an FCS team this year. Not a great performace, but they did what was expected. I like the Cougs to be good this year and we should see more this week.

This Week vs. #49 Boise State

6. Oregon
Preseason model: #23
(Last week def. Southern Utah 77-21)

Oregon looked good, but Southern Utah looked somewhat competent for stretches on offense in the early going of this game. That is at least a worrying note for a team that struggled on that side of the ball last year. This week should be a much stiffer test.

This week vs. #50 Nebraska

7. Colorado
Preseason model: #36
(Last week def. #46 Colorado State 17-3)

I was expecting this to be a fun shootout, but it turned into a nearly unwatchable slog. I am not convinced the Buffs offense will be this bad or their defense will be this good over the year. They should finish near the top of a down Pac-12 South. I am still high on them winning 8+.

This week vs. #128 Texas State

8. Utah
Preseason model: #55
(Last week def. North Dakota 37-16)

Utah twitter was fairly gushing over this pretty middling performance at home against an FCS team. I don't buy an offensive renaissance until I have more data. I still think they lost a lot off of last year's team.

This week at #62 BYU

9. Cal
Preseason model: #70
(Last week def. #51 North Carolina)

Cal did very well to go on the road and beat a well coached ACC program on an early start. UNC lost a lot off of last year's team, but that doesn't mean this team is suddenly going to be terrible or Fedora and Co. suddenly don't know how to coach. Cal's impressive staff did a good job getting the team ready and getting the W.

10. tie Arizona and ASU
Preseason model: #66 and #71
(Last week def. NAU 62-24 and NMSU 37-31)

These two get lumped together because they both looked exactly like their 2016 versions of themselves and if that holds they will both will be looking for new coaches in 2017. ASU could not protect the passer or stop the run effectively. They made NMSU look really good on offense. Arizona's special teams look better in a small sample, but holy moly they gave up a ton of yards. If you take out the muffed FG NAU outgained them and went over 600 yards for the game. Yikes! Some Arizona fans are making the excuse that Arizona played vanilla all game on defense, but even a vanilla Power 5 defense should be able to hold an FCS offense to less than 300 yards. Graham was feeling the displeasure of ASU fans because of the final score. Arizona fans were basking a bit in their final score, with some savvier fans asking what happens when you play somebody who turns yards into points? This week will be a good test for both and the first of many "must win" games on the season for both coaches.

This week vs. #67 Houston and #58 SDSU

12. Oregon State
Preseason model: #53
(Last week def. Portland State 35-32)

Whew, the Beavers are playing worse than the model expected! They were not really expected to beat CSU on the road, but they were not supposed to get torched and nearly losing to Portland State at home is pretty inexcusable.

Next week vs. #48 Minnesota

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