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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Pac-12 football rankings (through week two)

Allen J. Schaben
UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin runs in to the end zone for a fourth-quarter touchdown past Nebraska defender Stanley Jean-Baptiste (16) at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Saturday, September 8, 2012. UCLA upended Nebraska, 36-30. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

Arizona’s victory over then-No. 18 Oklahoma State was big news in Tucson, but the Wildcats weren’t the only team making headlines around the Pac-12.

Three teams, including Arizona, took down top-20 opponents and the conference now includes five ranked teams.

“I think the Pac-12 is probably in a better place (now) than it’s ever been and is going to keep getting better,” head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “With the TV contract and the commitment from the athletic departments toward the schools — now I only worry about one school and that’s (Arizona).”

“But no question our league is a whole lot better than a lot of people think… I know everyone talks about the SEC and rightfully so because they won all the consecutive championships,” he added. “But top to bottom, our league is ranked with anybody.”

Now let’s take a look at where No. 24 Arizona ranks across the Pac-12 landscape.

1. No. 2 USC (2-0); Last Week: (W 42-29 at Syracuse)

The Trojans weren’t spectacular in their win at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands, as USC led by just five early in the fourth quarter. Still, USC pulled it out thanks to Matt Barkley’s school record-setting six touchdown tosses and continued prolific play by receivers Robert Woods and Marqise Lee.

2. No. 4 Oregon (2-0); Last Week: (W 42-25 against Fresno State)

Oregon got lazy at the end of the game, scoring just a touchdown in the second half. That proved insignificant, though, as running backs Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas ran at will against the Bulldogs. Oregon has yet to be threatened, but the defense has allowed an average of 29.5 points per game to subpar opponents.

3. No. 22 UCLA (2-0); Last Week: (W 36-30 against No. 16 Nebraska)

The Bruins came away with a huge victory at home in a thrilling back-and-forth matchup with the favored Cornhuskers. A fourth quarter safety by UCLA’s Dantone Jones spurred the victory, and when combined with the Bruins dismantling of Rice last week, it looks like UCLA might be the real deal this season.

4. No. 24 Arizona (2-0); Last Week: (W 59-38 against No. 18 Oklahoma State)

The Wildcats fell down quickly, but rose up with surprising strength to win their first game over a ranked opponent since September 2010. The fact that Arizona needed overtime to take care of Toledo slides the Wildcats to fourth in the power rankings.

5. Oregon State (1-0); Last Week: (W 10-7 against No. 13 Wisconsin)

The Beavers were being held to low expectations — at least until the ref blew the final whistle and they came away with the second biggest upset of the weekend. Oregon State was helped by a questionable call on Wisconsin’s onside kick try, but the Beavers’ ability to bottle up star running back Montee Ball showed the team may be better than previously assumed.

6. No. 25 Stanford (2-0); Last Week: (W 50-13 against Duke)

The Cardinal simply played to its talent level in the easy victory over Duke, and if Stanford wants to topple USC next weekend, it’ll need to do much better than it has the past two weeks. Stanford beat lowly San Jose State by just a field goal at home in its season opener.

7. Arizona State (2-0); Last Week: (45-14 against Illinois)

The Sun Devil offense has looked solid the past two weeks, scoring an average of 54 points, and generating solid production from sophomore quarterback Taylor Kelly. If Kelly can continue to play well, ASU will be a formidable team in 2012. Still, they’re stuck at No. 7 this week because the rest of the conference was just that good.

8. Washington (1-1); Last Week: (L 41-3 at No. 3 LSU)

Losing on the road to a national title contender isn’t something to dwell on, but the Huskies couldn’t even give the Tigers a game last week. Washington’s close win over San Diego State in its opener is almost as damning as the loss, even though the Aztecs are a talented foe.

9. California (1-1); Last Week: (W 50-31 against Southern Utah)

After dropping its stadium re-opening to Nevada in week one, Cal was in a must-win situation with Southern Utah. Cal took care of business after trailing 3-0 to the FCS opponent in the first quarter, but it doesn’t look like the Golden Bears will live up to the hype if they continue to play at this level.

10. Utah (1-1); Last Week: (L 27-20 OT at Utah State)

Utah was pegged as a dark horse in the Pac-12 as long as quarterback Jordan Wynn remained healthy. Low and behold, Wynn got knocked out due to injuries in the second quarter and Utah fell to their in-state rivals in overtime for the first time in 12 years. To make matters worse for the Utes, Wynn announced his retirement today and they now have big questions at quarterback.

11. Washington State (1-1); Last Week: (W 24-20 against Eastern Washington)

The Cougars got spanked last week by BYU in head coach Mike Leach’s debut. FCS Eastern Washington allowed them to finally earn their coach his first win in Pullman, but it wasn’t exactly easy. Washington State had to hold on to the victory against the Eagles and it looks like its matchup against Colorado in two weeks will decide who lives in the Pac-12 basement this year.

12. Colorado (0-2); Last Week: (L 30-28 against Sacramento State)

There’s not much to say about the Buffaloes, other than the team is just plain bad. Losses to an FCS opponent and in-state rival Colorado State is about as lowly as a team can go, and it’s going to get much, much tougher for Colorado. Head coach Jon Embree might need to update his resume, because if the Buffaloes don’t win either at Fresno State or Washington State the next two weekends, 0-12 is the likely outcome for Colorado.

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