Life in the Pac-12 Conference goes on in Week 6 despite the coaching shake-up at USC and the 62-41 thrashing that prompted change in Los Angeles and elevated Arizona State back into the Associated Press Top 25.
The Sun Devils fell out of the poll in Week 5 after suffering a not-as-close-as-the-score, 42-28 loss at No. 5 Stanford. Their return gives the Pac-12 five representatives in this week's rankings.
This time around, Stanford left no doubt. The Cardinal dismantled Washington State 55-17 to solidify their ranking. Between fifth-ranked Stanford and No. 2 Oregon, the Pac-12 remains the only conference with two Top 5 teams.
A third member continues to creep toward the top 10 as well, with UCLA climbing to No. 12 despite a bye week. Washington also gained a spot this week, improving to No. 15 after its Pac-12-opening defeat of Arizona.
Sports information directors—er, coaches—voting in the USA Today Coaches Poll continue to exhibit a slightly less favorable view of the Pac-12. UCLA, Washington and Arizona State were all slotted below their AP ranking.
Teams are listed with AP ranking first, then Coaches Poll. My vote in the B/R Top 25 is italicized below.
With every blowout win, Oregon is gaining steam. The Ducks earned five first-place votes in the Week 6 AP Top 25 and two in the Coaches Poll.
Mark Helfrich took his foot off the accelerator in the second half against Cal, which is quickly becoming a theme for the Ducks. Oregon is unlikely to truly be tested until Week 7 when it visits Washington at Husky Stadium. In the meantime, Colorado is ahead for the Ducks.
Oregon beat the Buffs 45-2 and 70-14 in each of Colorado's first two seasons as a Pac-12 member.
My Ranking: 2
Stanford put together its most complete effort of 2013, and what a showing it was. The Cardinal completely dismantled Washington State Saturday in Seattle with a wholly balanced performance.
The Cardinal face their second Top 25 matchup of the young season next week, and it's an opportunity to avenge their sole conference loss of 2012. Next weekend, Washington pays a visit to The Farm in a battle of the unbeaten.
My Ranking: 4
UCLA was idle Week 5. The Bruins open Pac-12 play Thursday at Utah, an intriguing matchup pitting two of the conference's more aggressive defenses against two dangerous, playmaking quarterbacks.
A road win could power the Bruins into the Top 10.
My Ranking: 9
Head coach Steve Sarkisian implemented a hurry-up offensive scheme in the offseason, but the Huskies won their Pac-12 opener Saturday with a decidedly old-school feel.
Washington's stout defense ground down Arizona to just 13 points, while the Husky offense exhausted the Wildcats with 40 carries from Heisman Trophy-candidate running back Bishop Sankey.
Expect another smash-mouth showing next week when Washington locks up with Stanford. The two combined for 30 points in last year's Husky win, and this season, the teams feature arguably the conference's best defenses.
My Ranking: 13
22/24. Arizona State
The headlines Sun Devil football generated in the offseason were all about defense, but Saturday against USC, it was the offense making noise.
Head coach Todd Graham touted his no-huddle credentials at July's Pac-12 media day. Indeed, he along with offensive coordinator Mike Norvell have quietly built one of the most multifaceted units in the conference.
Arizona State concludes a brutal, four-game stretch next week in Arlington, Texas, against Notre Dame with a chance to finish 3-1.
My Ranking: 24