Pac-12 Football: Power Ranking Every Team Post Week 5
The Pac-12 entered the 2013 season as a conference that was on the rise with a truckload of promise.
Five weeks into the season, it has fulfilled expectations with four undefeated teams and a handful of others holding their own.
Each and every team will now be tested more than ever as we enter the heart of the conference schedule. No more cupcake games for these teams, as they will be asked to beat up on one another, and only the strongest will survive.
Where does each team rank after five weeks?
Colorado has done a nice job of doubling last year's victory total with two wins already, but there is still plenty of work for head coach Mike MacIntyre.
Wide receiver Paul Richardson is one of the most underrated players in this conference and has been a nice spark to the offense.
However, the defense still struggles to get off the field and is allowing 391 yards per game.
Significant progress has been made in a short amount of time, but it's tough seeing the Buffaloes win a conference game this season.
They were beat up 44-17 by Oregon State and will continue to be the punching bag in the Pac-12 for another year or two.
Did head coach Sonny Dykes know that it would be this difficult?
He's helped turn freshman Jared Goff into a respectable quarterback, and the passing game is mighty impressive.
The problem is that there is no running game, the offensive line has allowed 15 sacks and the defense is ranked dead last in the Pac-12, allowing 512 yards per contest.
Although Colorado has a better record than Cal, the Golden Bears have hung with three ranked teams already.
It's tough to win games when the quarterback is always on his back and the defense only gets off the field after the other team scores.
Cal has already lost to three ranked teams, and while the future may look bright, the Bears will continue to experience bumps in the road along the way.
10. Washington State
Besides a 55-17 loss to Stanford, Washington State has looked like a team that could compete for a conference title within a year or two. The Cougars upset USC and barely lost a road game against Auburn on opening day.
The offense obviously lives and dies by the passing game, and Connor Halliday has proven to be a solid quarterback if he can limit his mistakes.
But it's the defense that has impressed the most, as the average of 323 yards allowed is good for fourth in the conference. The defensive line does a nice job clogging running lanes, and the secondary has improved from a year ago.
Washington State will have plenty of chances to prove itself later in the season, and you shouldn't be surprised if another upset takes place.
Some would say USC should be a little lower on this list.
But to be fair, the entire team isn't that bad.
Tre Madden and Justin Davis are clearly one of the best 1-2 combinations at running back, and the defense has shown to be one of the top in the Pac-12. In fact, the Trojans are second in the conference, just barely allowing more than 300 yards per game.
Nobody can deny the talent on this roster. The lack of success has more to do with the play-calling and the coaching.
Now that a lot of the problem is gone in head coach Lane Kiffin, don't be surprised if the Trojans begin to reach their potential and start competing a little better than they have over the past dozen games.
Utah may be the team flying under the radar the most in this conference. Doesn't that seem to be the case every season with the Utes?
Utah has one of the most balanced offenses in the country, as both the passing and running game are ranked 31st or better.
Not only did the Utes pick up solid victories against Utah State and BYU, but they also were extremely competitive in taking Oregon State to overtime. What's even more remarkable is that the team is 3-1 with a defense that is allowing 406 yards per game.
As long as the offense can continue to play at a high level, Utah will have a chance in every game this season.
Arizona has the pieces to make a run for a conference title. The problem is that the talent has yet to translate into a marquee victory this season. No, Northern Arizona and UNLV don't count. Arizona was beat down 31-13 to Washington in the Wildcats' first test of the season.
Everyone knows the game plan with Arizona: run, run and run some more. The Wildcats have done just that, averaging 291 yards on the ground per game.
Surprisingly, the defense has stepped up to the plate and is allowing just 335 yards per game and only 14 points.
The verdict is still out on the Wildcats. However, there will be plenty of opportunities for them to prove themselves in the coming weeks.
6. Oregon State
Oregon State is undefeated through the first five weeks! Oh, wait. There was that season opening loss against Eastern Washington. Yikes.
If you're able to forget that one game, the Beavers have looked pretty good to start the season.
The offense is still averaging more than 40 points per game despite having one of the worst rushing attacks in the country.
The defense is also full of game changers, as the unit has produced 10 turnovers and 12 sacks.
The end of the year will really show if the Beavers are legit. Right now, they look like the dark horse to win the Pac-12.
5. Arizona State
The Sun Devils could be a little higher if we actually knew which team was going to show up at any given week. Will it be the team that beat Wisconsin and took it to USC, or will it be the team that didn't bother showing up against Stanford?
One thing is for sure: When Arizona State is clicking, it is a tough team to beat.
The offense is loaded with playmakers, such as quarterback Taylor Kelly and running back Marion Grice.
But what separates this team from the rest of the pack is its defensive front that can consistently generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
It's going to be interesting to see which team is the real Arizona State. But for now, it still has a puncher's chance to play for a conference championship.
For whatever reason, UCLA continues to fly under the radar. It's about time folks begin to take notice of the Bruins considering they are playing extremely good football in the first three games.
Quarterback Brett Hundley is playing better than last season, and it didn't take long for him to find Johnathan Franklin's replacement in Jordon James.
The defense has also proven to be a lot more than linebacker Anthony Barr, as Keenan Graham is generating solid pressure and Eric Kendricks is a tackling machine.
Besides the win over Nebraska, UCLA still needs another statement win to prove itself, and two road games against Stanford and Oregon will help do the trick.
Is Steve Sarkisian still on the hot seat?
Washington has gone from being a sleeper to a legit contender capable of winning this conference. With convincing wins over Boise State and Arizona, the Huskies will look to take that next step soon in a clash with Stanford.
Quarterback Keith Price and running back Bishop Sankey continue to feed off one another, while the defense is the best in the Pac-12 statistically. This is a balanced squad that's capable of beating your favorite team at its own game.
There's still a little room left for you to jump on the bandwagon.
This is not a typo.
Oregon is still the offensive juggernaut and may still be the team to beat in the Pac-12.
However, the Ducks haven't played anybody yet. It's easy to drop 60 points on Cal or Nicholls State, but let's see the video game numbers against some of the better teams in conference play.
It will be a lot harder without De'Anthony Thomas.
Not saying it can't happen because it probably will, but college football is a '"what have you done for me lately" type of sport, and blowouts against the bottom half of college football aren't impressive.
Others are quick to fall in love with the Ducks' offense and want to already hand them the crystal football. They still have to prove themselves against better competition and see how that defense holds up.
Stanford is the top team because it has a combination of all three factors. The offense is averaging 41 points per game, the defense gets stops when they're needed and the Cardinal have breezed through their schedule, including a 42-28 win over Arizona State.
It's hard to argue with this team right now.
Quarterback Kevin Hogan has fulfilled expectations and more in his first full season as a starter. The running game is averaging more than five yards a carry.
Then, there's the defensive factor, and outside of the SEC, it doesn't get any more physical than Stanford. Remember, this is the same unit that held Oregon to 14 points last season.
The Ducks are the flashier team, but right now, Stanford appears to be the more complete team in the Pac-12.