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Pacific Takes Pac-12 Power Rankings weeks 4-5: Oregon takes over top spot

A lot of shuffling after a wild weekend of true conference play.

NCAA Football: Oregon at Stanford Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Oregon 3-1 1-0 (Last week: 2) - The Ducks did what they needed to do with their defense locking up Stanford so they could get a gritty win on the road and climb up to the top spot. Four weeks in they look like the conference’s most-complete team and they don’t have a concerning loss like USC and Washington do. Next game: BYE - The Ducks get a needed bye week to heal and rest up before a showdown with Cal that follows a very tough stretch of games that includes trips to USC and Washington.
  2. Cal 4-0 1-0 (Last week: 4) - The Bears showed more offense again at Mississippi and it got them a tough road win. Those flashes of offense they showed against Washington weren’t just a fluke and it should scare the rest of the Pac-12 as it makes Cal an even-tougher out. Next game: Arizona State - The Bears get their first conference home game against a Sun Devil team that really needs the win after losing to Colorado in Tempe.
  3. Washington 3-1 0-1 (Last week: 7) - The Huskies sure passed the lock test at BYU, ripping through a team that took down USC the week before and challenged Utah a bit more. The Huskies now need to start stringing together conference wins. Next game: USC - The Huskies get a USC team led by an unexpected quarterback with a scary WR group to test their developing DBs.
  4. USC 3-1 2-0 (Last week: 6) - The Trojans bounced back in a big way, taking down Utah in The Coliseum and grabbing a nice lead in the South race. They seem to not skip a beat, no matter how many quarterbacks they lose. Next game: at Washington - it doesn’t seem great for USC that Washington just blew out the team they just lost to, but USC, and their air raid offense, might match up well against a struggling Washington pass defense.
  5. Utah 3-1 0-1 (Last week: 1) - It was a tough loss for Utah in L.A., but don’t bury them yet. It was a close game on the road and things only get easier from here, other than a road trip to Washington. The Utes are still an upper-conference team. Next game: Washington State - The Utes get another scary air raid right away and in Salt Lake City.
  6. Colorado 3-1 1-0 (Last week: 9) - I have a feeling the conference is going to shift a lot each week, especially below the top few times. The Buffs are riding high after getting a huge road win against Arizona State. Next game: the Buffs get a week off before jumping back into an incredibly-difficult non-conference slate.
  7. UCLA 1-3 1-0 (Last week: 11) - Don’t hate me. I think UCLA is going to do what they did last year, not win a game in non-conference and then be pretty tough in-conference. They needed luck to beat Washington State, but it’s still a very good road win. Next game: at Arizona - back-to-backs are always very difficult, especially after winning the kind of win UCLA just got, it will be impressive if they win in Tucson.
  8. Washington State 3-1 0-1 (Last week: 3) - A very painful tumble for the Cougars for so many reasons. It’s not all over yet though. They just need to work through it, start winning games, and manage their expectations. Next game: at Utah - the Cougars don’t catch any breaks, getting a pissed off Utah team in Salt Lake City.
  9. Arizona State 3-1 0-1 (Last week: 5) - Losing at home was heartbreaking for the Sun Devils just a week after winning at Michigan State. They’ll have to start stringing wins together to really be a factor in the South race. Next game: at Cal - getting their first conference win this week won’t be easy for the Sun Devils.
  10. Arizona 2-1 (Last week: 10) - The Wildcats sit back and watched the rest of the conference beat itself up in week four. Now they have to jump into conference play and should be an underdog in almost every game they place. Next game: UCLA - this is one of the most-winnable games on Arizona’s schedule and a must-win if they hope to be a factor in the South.
  11. Stanford 1-3 0-2 (Last week: 8) - I think we all thought it would be a tough start for Stanford, but I don’t think anyone saw it being this bad. The Cardinal are already two down in-conference and they’re just trying to keep their head above water now and make a bowl game. Next game: at Oregon State - This is now a battle to stay out of the bottom of the conference and a chance for the Cardinal to find a win.
  12. Oregon State 1-2 (Last week: 12) - The Beavers watched as the rest of the conference fought it out in week four. Next game: Stanford - now the Beavers have a huge opportunity to score a conference win with a beat up Cardinal coming into Corvallis.