Pac-12 Football: Power Ranking the Conference's Best Performances from Week 2

Bill NCorrespondent ISeptember 12, 2011

Pac-12 Football: Power Ranking the Conference's Best Performances from Week 2

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    The Pac-12 looked better this week. Only Oregon State and Arizona, big underdogs on the road against ranked teams, were beaten badly by No. 7* Wisconsin and No. 8* Oklahoma State. Arizona State beat previously ranked Missouri, and the rest of the conference won as predicted.

    The top teams in the North division are Stanford (2-0) and Oregon (1-1), followed by California (2-0) and Washington (2-0).

    The top teams in the South division are Arizona State (2-0) and USC (2-0), followed by Utah (1-1) and Arizona (1-1). The Trojans have the only conference win because California-Colorado did not count as a conference game due to prior scheduling.

    The Pac-12 has three teams ranked in the Top 25: Stanford No. 6*, Oregon No. 12* and Arizona State No. 22*. USC is the equivalent of No. 27*.

    Pac-12 QBs continue to put up big numbers: 33 TD passes with only four interceptions, including five for more than 350 yards. Cal, Washington and ASU have found their new QBs.

    Player of the week honors go to WR Paul Richardson of Colorado and LB Cort Dennison and DT Everrette Thompson of Washington.

    Five teams have tougher opponents this week, including Stanford at Arizona, UCLA hosting Texas, Arizona State at Illinois, Washington State at San Diego State and Utah at BYU.

    Here is a ranking of the conference’s best performances from the second week of the college football season.

     *Week 3 AP rankings


    Previous Pac-12 Power Rankings:

    Week 1

12. Oregon State Beavers

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    Score: Wisconsin 35, Oregon State 0

    Oregon State stopped the No. 8* Wisconsin signature running game early, so Badgers QB Russell Wilson was 17-of-21 for 189 yards and three TDs. The Badgers defense held the Beavers to 284 yards in a shutout win, while Wisconsin ended up with 208 rushing yards.

    Beavers QB Sean Mannion struggled to move the ball, although he was 25-of-38 for 244 yards. Ryan Katz was the starter last season and played a few snaps.

    This game was not a surprise like the loss to FCS opponent Sacramento State last week, but Oregon State has not played well in either game.

    Oregon State has too many injuries and too many problems. Maybe the bye this week will give the Beavers a chance to reset and figure things out.


    *Week 2 AP Ranking

11. UCLA Bruins

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    Score: UCLA 27, San Jose State 17

    UCLA did not play well, but Derrick Coleman rushed for 135 yards in the second half and one TD to help the Bruins beat San Jose State.

    Bruin QB Richard Brehaut was 12-of-23 for 145 yards and one TD. UCLA had 417 total yards with 272 rushing. The Spartans gained 202 yards rushing but were held to 27 yards by Stanford the previous week.

    Both teams had two turnovers.

    San Jose State has lost 17 straight road games since 2008. UCLA should not have struggled to win this game.

    Attendance at the Rose Bowl was a paltry 42,685 with 91,000 capacity. Texas comes to town this week, and the Bruins better fill that stadium to have a chance.

10. Arizona Wildcats

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    Score: Oklahoma State 38, Arizona 14

    No. 9* Oklahoma State QB Justin Weeden opened a 21-0 lead in the first 16.5 minutes by completing 22 of 23 passes on the way to stomping Arizona in Stillwater, Okla.

    Weeden was outgunned by Arizona’s QB Nick Foles by one yard (397 to 398) in a duel of the nation’s top two passers from Week 1. Arizona did not have its top receiver, Juron Criner, due to an appendectomy, but that didn’t make much difference.

    Arizona was one-dimensional with only 41 yards rushing, while Oklahoma State added 197 rushing yards.

    The Wildcats have a terrific passing game but will need a more balanced offense and better defense.

    Arizona hosts Stanford this week and will need to do everything right and get lucky to win.


    *Week 2 AP Ranking

9. Washington State Cougars

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    Score: Washington State 59, UNLV 7

    Washington State pounded UNLV as backup QB Marshall Lobbestael threw for 361 yards on 24-of-32 passing and five TDs.

    The Cougars had 610 total yards to 158 for the Rebels. UNLV didn’t score until Tim Cornett’s 95-yard kickoff return late in the fourth quarter to avoid a shutout.

    This is the first time that WSU has won its first two games of the season since 2005 and the first two-game winning streak under head coach Paul Wulff. Both opponents were weak teams, so it is hard to rank the Cougars' performance higher until they play someone better.

    The Cougars travel to San Diego State this week for their first game against a tougher opponent.

8. Colorado Buffaloes

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    Score: California 36, Colorado 33 (OT)

    A summary is provided under the California Golden Bears slide. Colorado’s huge offensive day at home wasn’t enough to beat Cal in a valiant effort.

    However, this was a significant improvement over the season opener and a good start in the Pac-12 (even though it didn’t count as a conference game).

    Colorado plays at rival Colorado State this week and may get its first victory.

7. Utah Utes

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    Score: USC 23, Utah 14

    A summary is provided under the USC Trojans slide. Utah played hard for the entire game but was outmanned by the Trojans. However, the three USC turnovers and costly penalties kept the Utes in the game. Welcome to the Pac-12. The Utes will be competitive.

    Utah plays rival BYU this week in a close matchup.

6. California Golden Bears

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    Score: California 36, Colorado 33 (OT)

    Colorado had a huge offensive day, but California won in overtime on a five-yard TD pass from Zach Maynard to his half-brother Keenan Allen.

    The Buffs had 582 total yards, including 474 passing and 108 rushing. QB Tyler Hansen was 28-of-49 with three TDs and no interceptions. Paul Richardson caught 11 passes for a school-record 284 yards and two TDs.

    Cal’s Maynard was 18-of-35 for 243 yards, four TDs and one interception. The Bears were held to 370 total yards.

    This was a close game with Colorado taking the lead 27-23 at the beginning of the fourth quarter on a 78-yard TD pass from Hansen to Richardson. Cal countered with a TD run, and Colorado made a 32-yard field goal with 30 seconds left to send the game into overtime.

    Colorado first made a field goal in overtime but could not stop Cal from the game-winning TD pass. Give Cal credit for winning on the road with such a disparity in the offensive performances.

    Cal hosts Presbyterian this week and has close to zero chance of losing.

5. Washington Huskies

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    Score: Washington 40, Hawaii 32

    Washington QB Keith Price hit his first eight passes to get a great start and ended up with a career-high 315 yards and four TDs with one interception before holding off Hawaii in the second half for the win. The Huskies' Chris Polk had 107 yards rushing on 22 carries and one TD.

    Hawaii QB Bryant Moniz was 31-of-45 for 333 yards but had only one TD and one interception. He was limited to two yards on nine carries after running for 121 yards and three TDs against Colorado the previous game.

    Washington’s performance was better than California's because Hawaii appears to be a better team than Colorado.

    Washington travels to Nebraska this week and won’t be favored.

4. USC Trojans

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    Score: USC 23, Utah 14

    For the second week in a row, USC outplayed its opponent only to stall its offense with turnovers and untimely penalties to allow a close game.

    This was the first Pac-12 conference game, and the Trojans cruised to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter before an interception and two fumbles led to both of Utah's TDs. USC gave up opportunities run up the score on Utah because two of the turnovers were in the red zone and untimely penalties in the second half killed drives.

    For the second week in a row, OT Matt Kalil blocked a field goal to save the game, this time with time running out to keep Utah from tying the game, and CB Torin Harris ran it back for a TD.

    USC’s Matt Barkley was 20-of-32 for 264 yards and the one interception. Head coach Lane Kiffin later blamed himself for the pick because the play was a bad call because it had not been practiced properly.

    The Trojans had a balanced offense thanks to senior Marc Tyler, who ran a consistent 113 yards on 24 carries with one TD, and the offensive line blocked well enough against a strong Utah front seven. Wide receiver Robert Woods was the leading receiver again with eight receptions for 113 yards; however, freshman tight end Xavier Grimble had five receptions for 66 yards and one TD.

    The Trojans won the game primarily due to the USC defense, which contained the Utah offense, holding it to 319 yards with only 81 rushing, including a 51-yard reverse.

    USC played well on offense and defense when the offense didn’t stop itself with mistakes by mostly inexperienced players. That will change as the season progresses.

    The Trojans host the Syracuse Orange next and should easily win if they can contain the passing attack. 

3. Arizona State Sun Devils

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    Score: Arizona State 37, Missouri 30 (OT)

    Arizona State had a 30-16 lead as the fourth quarter began and then let No. 21* Missouri score two passing TDs before it missed a 48-yard FG with 12 seconds left to send the game into overtime.

    ASU QB Brock Osweiler hit Jamal Miles on an 11-yard TD pass, and the defense held Missouri for the win.

    Arizona State finished with 492 yards, and Aaron Pflugrad caught eight passes for 180 yards and two TDs. Osweiler was 24-of-32 for 353 yards, three TDs and no interceptions.

    Missouri had 501 yards, and QB James Franklin was 26-of-42 for 319 yards, two TDs and no interceptions.

    Both teams had more than 100 yards in penalties, and ASU had one turnover.

    This is the first time ASU has beaten a ranked opponent in its last 11 tries.

    The Sun Devils travel to Illinois this week and should prevail.


    *Week 2 AP Ranking

2. Stanford Cardinal

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    Score: Stanford 44, Duke 14

    No. 6* Stanford started slowly, including a rare Andrew Luck interception that was returned 76 yards for a TD by Lee Butler. However, Luck matched a career high with four TDs on 20-of-28 passing for 290 yards to cruise past Duke.

    The Cardinal had 504 yards of total offense against the outmatched Duke Blue Devils, who could muster only 335 yards with a mere 30 yards rushing.

    Surprisingly, Duke had a 34:24 to 25:36 advantage in time of possession. The Stanford offense needs to improve or trouble will follow. Luck was hit too often in the first half, and Duke is not a good team.

    Luck is now 22-5 as a starter and will be the winningest QB in school history with three more wins.

    Stanford should beat Arizona this week, but the Wildcats usually play tough at home, and it will be hot.


    *Week 2 AP Ranking

1. Oregon Ducks

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    Score: Oregon 69, Nevada 20

    No. 13* Oregon rebounded from its loss to then-No. 4 LSU to crush Nevada in its home opener at Autzen Stadium.

    The loss ended Nevada’s seven-game winning streak from 2010, when the Wolf Pack were 13-1 and ranked No. 11. However, Nevada had to replace four-year starter Colin Kaepernick, a second-round draft pick by the San Francisco 49ers, with senior Tyler Lantrip, who was 21-of-35 for 219 yards with two interceptions.

    Ducks QB Darron Thomas tied a school record with six TD passes on 13-of-19 passing for 295 yards and no interceptions. Freshman RB De’Anthony Thomas made up for his two costly fumbles against LSU with two TD receptions with 81 yards rushing and 93 yards receiving.

    Oregon’s offense had 603 total yards with 272 rushing and 331 in the air. Nevada had 516 yards but could only muster 20 points with three costly turnovers. Oregon was ahead 34-0 before Nevada scored near the end of the first half.

    Oregon was ranked ahead of Stanford because it was more dominating against an at least as good team.

    The Ducks should have another easy time with Missouri State at home this week.


    *Week 2 AP Ranking