Pac-10 College Football Power Rankings: Can Anyone Unseat Oregon?
Through two weeks of the college football season, the Pac-10 conference has started to distance itself from other conferences in football. You might even say they could be one of the top conferences in football right now.
But while there will be comparisons drawn between this conference and those of the Big Ten, Big 12, and SEC at later dates, this is the newest installment of the power rankings in the Pac-10 from top to bottom.
Oregon, Stanford, Cal, Arizona, Arizona State, and USC remain unbeaten after the first two weeks of the season, but has there been anyone better than the Ducks in the Pac-10 so far?
Here are the power rankings through Week 2.
No. 10: UCLA Bruins
Through two games there's not much to say about UCLA so far this season—at least not anything good.
The Bruins dropped their opener against Kansas State in Manhattan, Kansas 31-22 before getting a rude "welcome home" gift from Stanford in the form of a 35-0 beatdown.
Quarterback Kevin Prince was anything but effective, completing just 15 of his 38 pass attempts and being intercepted three times.
There are rumblings about Rick Neuheisel's job and just how much rope he's being given to build this team into a contender again.
It doesn't get much easier for the Bruins, as they welcome in Case Keenum and the Houston Cougars. If their defense couldn't stop Stanford's Andrew Luck this past Saturday, good luck stopping one of college football's best passers in Keenum.
No. 9: Washington State Cougars
I think this is the first time the Washington State Cougars haven't been at the very bottom of the power rankings in the Pac-10, but they're close.
In two games, they've already matched their win total (1) from last season with a one-point win over Montana State, which came after a lopsided 65-17 loss to Oklahoma State.
If Montana State can get that close to beating the Cougars, I can't see this season being a lot of fun for them.
This weekend they'll be in Dallas, Texas to take on the up-and-coming SMU Mustangs, and then they return home for USC.
No. 8: Washington Huskies
The Washington Huskies had a tough start to their season, dropping a 23-17 decision to BYU. Quarterback Jake Locker didn't have quite the performance that Husky fans have been used to seeing over his career at Washington.
However, Locker did find his rhythm this past weekend against Syracuse, throwing for 289 yards and tying a career high with four touchdown passes.
The season is still young, so I expect the Huskies to climb higher in the power rankings as we go along.
No. 7: Oregon State Beavers
Oregon State dropped its season opener against TCU at Cowboys Stadium, 30-21, and look forward to bouncing back from that game as they take on the Louisville Cardinals on Saturday.
The game was close for most of the way, but a few mistakes here and there allowed the Horned Frogs to sneak away with a victory.
This is still a good Oregon State team and one that should make some noise in the Pac-10. A strong win this weekend would go a long ways and would push them higher in the power rankings.
No. 6: Arizona State Sun Devils
Arizona State is up next on the power rankings, coming in at No. 6.
Sure, the Sun Devils are unbeaten through two games, with those wins coming against Portland State and Northern Arizona and both coming at home.
Not saying they're not impressive wins, especially when they outscored both teams 95-29 but I'm going to keep the Sun Devils right where they are because they have a big test coming up this weekend on the road against Wisconsin.
No. 5: Arizona Wildcats
The Arizona Wildcats have spent each of the first two weeks looking like a defensive juggernaut, giving up just eight points combined.
Only problem is, those two games came against Toledo and Citadel.
They get a huge challenge this weekend against a team that can claim to be one of the best defensive teams in the country over the last few years in the Iowa Hawkeyes. The game will be at home in Arizona, and a good showing could push them up the power rankings depending on what happens.
No. 4: USC Trojans
The USC Trojans have picked up two wins so far this season, but neither has been anything near impressive.
They were able to outscore Hawaii 49-36 in Week 1 and came far too close to losing at home to Virginia, 17-14, this past Saturday.
Their defense is suspect, and it's not going to be long before they are going to be exposed. It might even come this weekend against Minnesota.
No. 3: Cal Golden Bears
The Cal Golden Bears have been nothing short of impressive so far this season, outscoring both UC Davis and Colorado 104-10 combined.
Quarterback Kevin Riley has been solid for the Bears, throwing for a combined 455 yards and seven touchdowns, and has yet to throw an interception. He has three receiving threats in running back Shane Vereen and wide receivers Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones.
All three of those guys have combined for 390 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
They will get their first tough test of the season as they head to Reno to take on Colin Kaepernick and the Nevada Wolf Pack. Kaepernick has quietly become one of the best, but most underrated, quarterbacks in college football this season.
No. 2: Stanford Cardinal
Before the season started, I had picked the Stanford Cardinal to win the Pac-10, and they've looked good enough to make good on that prediction.
They opened the season with a 52-17 win over Sacramento State and went to the Rose Bowl and blew out UCLA 35-0 this past weekend.
Quarterback Andrew Luck looks better than he ever has and is making a case for Heisman consideration so far. He's completed 28 of 47 passes for 467 yards and six touchdowns without a single interception.
You can tell Luck definitely misses former running back Toby Gerhart, but Stepfan Taylor is trying his best to replace him. However, Taylor is only averaging 11.5 carries and 48.5 yards per game.
Luck can't do it all, but so far he's doing all right.
No. 1: Oregon Ducks
After all the offseason problems, after all of the players that had gotten in trouble with the law, and even after the dismissal of quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, the Oregon Ducks have taken that in stride and are playing like one of the best teams in the country.
They threw a beating on New Mexico 72-0 before going to Knoxville, Tennessee and making it look easy in a 48-13 win.
Quarterback Darron Thomas has played well as the new leader of the Ducks, and they've gotten big performances from running backs LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner, and Remene Alston. Barner got the start in Week 1 with Jame sitting out on suspension and ran for 147 yards and four touchdowns, while Alston added 110 yards.
The Ducks should have another lopsided win as they return home to face Portland State.