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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Pac-12 football power rankings (week four)

UCLA+running+back+Steven+Manfro+%2833%29+fumbles+the+ball+on+the+3-yard+line+as+he+is+tackled+by+Oregon+State+linebacker+Feti+Taumoepeau+%2841%29+in+the+fourth+quarter+at+the+Rose+Bowl+in+Pasadena%2C+California%2C+on+Saturday%2C+September+22%2C+2012.+Oregon+State+knocked+off+UCLA%2C+27-20%2C+although+Manfro+was+ruled+down+before+the+fumble+came+loose.+%28Gina+Ferazzi%2FLos+Angeles+Times%2FMCT%29
Gina Ferazzi
UCLA running back Steven Manfro (33) fumbles the ball on the 3-yard line as he is tackled by Oregon State linebacker Feti Taumoepeau (41) in the fourth quarter at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Saturday, September 22, 2012. Oregon State knocked off UCLA, 27-20, although Manfro was ruled down before the fumble came loose. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

It wasn’t quite a coup, but the first full weekend of Pac-12 play signified a major shift in power as the North division separated itself from the South.

The top three teams in the North — Oregon, Stanford and Oregon State — beat the South’s top three in USC, UCLA and Arizona.

Arbitrary poll numbers can’t argue with that.

Sure, the sample size is small and things change in a heartbeat in college football, but in the first third of the season the North has proven itself to be the power of the Pac-12.

Both Oregon and Oregon State made huge statements in week four and look to be elite teams in the conference, at least for now.

Oregon, the three-peat conference champion, is always expected to be near the top, but after their 49-0 annihilation of the Wildcats, the Ducks jumped over LSU in the rankings and now sit at No. 2 in the nation.

The scary part for Oregon’s future opponents is that it beat down Arizona mainly with its defense. If redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota continues to develop, this could be one of the teams traveling to Florida for the BCS Championship in January.

But the Ducks didn’t even make the biggest defensive statement in the state of Oregon. No. 18 Oregon State completely shut down Heisman candidate running back Johnathan Franklin of UCLA and proved that the Wisconsin upset in week two wasn’t a fluke.

Sure, the Beavers gave up 20 points and Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley threw for 372 yards, but in its first two games the OSU has limited Franklin and Wisconsin running back Montee Ball to a combined 107 yards rushing. Arizona running back Ka’Deem Carey better prepare for a long evening of zero space in Saturday’s game in Tucson.

The other North power, No. 8 Stanford, had a bye this week, allowing the Cardinal to continue basking in its victory over USC last weekend.

Speaking of the Trojans, No. 13 USC remained unimpressive for a third straight week in its 27-9 win at home over Cal. Trojan running backs Silas Redd and Curtis McNeal did run all over the Golden Bears in the fourth quarter to secure the victory, but USC led by only eight points at the end of the third against a one-win Cal team.

And that right there is the reason why the two divisions are in such different places right now — the South is full of question marks while the North is full of exclamation points.

Arizona and UCLA could be early season flukes after their losses this week, USC is underperforming considering its talent, Utah has no idea what to do with its offense after quarterback Jordan Wynn’s injury-induced retirement and the Sun Devils are the biggest unknown of all.

Arizona State had another impressive performance in its dominating win against the Utes and its only loss was a close 24-20 defeat on the road at Missouri.

Still, the Sun Devils have yet to face a starting quarterback — Wynn just retired and Missouri’s James Franklin was hurt, as was Illinois’ Nathan Scheelhaase.

Arizona State could be the second best team in the South division or it could just be really lucky with its schedule.

The one thing Saturday proved for sure is that Colorado won’t go winless, which is quite impressive considering its first three games.

In the battle of futility, the Buffs scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter against Washington State, including a game-winning four-yard scramble by quarterback Jordan Webb with just nine seconds remaining. The upset marks the first time all season Colorado has avoided taking the crown as the Pac-12’s worst team.

That being said, Colorado still is awful — apparently the Cougars are even worse.

1. No. 2 Oregon (4-0) Last week: 1

Week four: (W 49-0 against Arizona) This Week: at Washington State

2. No. 8 Stanford (3-0) LW: 2

Week four: (Bye)

This Week: at Washington

3. No. 18 Oregon State (2-0) LW: 6

Week four: (W 27-20 at UCLA)

This Week: at Arizona

4. No. 13 USC (3-1) LW: 4

Week four: (W 27-9 against Cal)

This Week: Bye

5. UCLA (3-1) LW: 3

Week four: (L 27-20 against Oregon State)

This Week: at Colorado

6. Arizona (3-1) LW: 5

Week four: (L 49-0 at No. 3 Oregon)

This week: against No. 18 Oregon State

7. Arizona State (3-1) LW: 9

Week four: (W 37-7 against Utah) This Week: at Cal

8. Washington (2-1) LW: 7

Week four: (Bye)

This Week: against No. 8 Stanford

9. Utah (2-2) LW: 8

Week four: (L 37-7 at Arizona State) This Week: Bye

10. California (1-3) LW: 10

Week four: (L 27-9 at No. 13 USC) This Week: against Arizona State

11. Colorado (1-3) LW: 12

Week four: (W 35-34 at Washington State)

This Week: against UCLA

12. Washington State (2-2) LW: 11

Week four: (L 35-34 against Colorado)

This Week: against No. 2 Oregon

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