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Pacific Takes Pac-12 Power Rankings 9/17: USC falls back down the rankings

Some shuffling all over the board in the conference after week three.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Brigham Young Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Utah 3-0 (Last week: 1) - Utah’s dominant win at BYU in week one looks even more impressive now after the Cougars took down USC. They wrapped up a solid non-conference slate and look like the Pac-12’s best CFP candidate heading into conference play. Next game: at USC - The Utes get their biggest challenger in the South right out of the gate on a Friday night in a place where they simply never win.
  2. Oregon 2-1 (Last week: 2) - The Ducks still look very strong and balanced and their defense being even better than last year could be what pushes them to the Pac-12 championship in 2019. Next game: At Stanford - the Ducks get the chance to start conference play off with a big win and semi bury their former recent rival at the start of the season.
  3. Washington State 3-0 (Last week: 3) - The Cougars proved that they probably aren’t missing a beat in 2019 by winning at Houston. Anthony Gordon looks like he can Gardner Minshew’s shoes as well. Next game: UCLA - This is a great way for WSU to start the season, but they can’t overlook the Bruins, who will likely be playing with their backs against the wall.
  4. Cal 3-0 1-0 (Last week: 5) - The Bears move ahead of USC in the teams that rose up in week two. They’re in a great place to start conference play, with a road win against Washington already in their back pocket. Next game: at Mississippi - This is a tough game for the Bears even if Mississippi is probably average at best, traveling all the way down South just before Pac-12 play.
  5. Arizona State 3-0 (Last week: 9) - The Sun Devils came alive and scored a huge win at Michigan State. They might be the team with the best shot at taking down Utah in the South. Next game: Coloado - The Sun Devils need to just win the games they should win, starting with this one.
  6. USC 2-1 1-0 (Last week: 4) - The Trojans went from hottest team in the Pac-12 to an afterthought after losing to BYU in overtime. Kedon Slovis looked human against the Cougars, but don’t write the Trojans off just yet, that was a really tough game, and they barely lost. Next game: Utah - The Trojans get a chance to plant themselves atop the South in the first week of conference play Friday night.
  7. Washington 2-1 0-1 (Last week: 7) - The Huskies hold steady after dusting Hawaii, who beat Arizona and Oregon State. Next game: at BYU - the next Pac-12 power to head to Provo is the Huskies and they’ll have to bring their A game to get out of their with their third win of the season.
  8. Stanford 1-2 (0-1) (Last week: 8) - The Cardinal got smoked by UCF a week after getting smoked by USC. The Cardinal have had two really bad games, frequently back-to-back, almost every season since 2014, so this may just be that streak, but it also might not. Next game: Oregon - The Cardinal get their chance to turn their season around, right away.
  9. Colorado 2-1 (Last week: 6) - The Buffs were sky high after beating Nebraska and now low after losing to Air Force after home. It’s not the end of the world, but it shows that Colorado still has a ways to go. Next game: at Arizona State - The Buffs now have to start showing they can win games in-conference as an underdog.
  10. Arizona 2-1 (Last week: 11) - The Wildcats got their season back by beating Texas Tech in Tucson. Next game: BYE - the Wildcats get a week off before they dive into Pac-12 play.
  11. UCLA 0-3 (Last week: 10) - The Bruins finished up another traumatic non-conference slate. They have to really turn things around in Pac-12 play to avoid missing a bowl game again. Next game: at Washington State - things don’t get any easier for the Bruins to start conference play.
  12. Oregon State 1-2 (Last week: 12) - The Beavers are still at the bottom of the conference, but they have a shot at jumping past UCLA very soon. Next game: BYE - the Beavers get a week off before getting Stanford in Corvallis, in a game that looks much more winnable than it did before the season started.