Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 4

No. 17 USC moves up to the top of the Pac-12 after Oregon State upsets No. 21 Oregon

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RYAN PUGH | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

WSU comes in at No. 8 in this weeks power rankings as USC moves up to No. 1.

KURIA POUNDS, Evergreen columnist

Week four of the Pac-12 has come and gone, and as we reach the halfway mark of the Pac-12 football season, the major headline coming out of this season is the number of games canceled or postponed due to COVID-19.

Even though some games were canceled this previous weekend, it was still “rivalry weekend” for a few schools, as the Stanford-California rivalry and Oregon-Oregon State rivalry wrote a new chapter.

Oregon State upset No. 15 Oregon at home in Corvallis, Oregon, beating the Ducks for the first time in years. Stanford took back the axe after beating California in a close thriller that came down to a last-second extra point.

After a week of rescheduled games and close matchups, here are the rankings for the Pac-12 after week four.

  1. 17 USC (3-0), up one spot

The Trojans didn’t play a game this weekend and found themselves at the top of the Pac-12. How is that possible? One word. Oregon. I’ve been suspicious about USC all year, but the last game I saw them play against Utah proved that the USC Air Raid is working. USC is dealing with COVID-19 issues but hopes to play their next game.

Next game: Sunday vs. Washington State at 6 p.m.

  1. 23 Washington (3-0); won 24-21; up one spot

I was about to move the Huskies down three or four spots after the first half in their game Saturday against Utah, but they came all the way back and won this game. This is the true definition of two halves of football. Washington was down 21-0 at halftime, at home and came all the way back to win. The Huskies’ defense forced three turnovers in the red zone in the second half to try and crawl their way back to victory. I couldn’t believe they came back, but they proved not to be messed with.

Next game: Saturday vs. Stanford at 1 p.m.

  1. 21 Oregon (3-1); lost 41-38; down two spots

Am I really moving Oregon down two spots because they lost a big rivalry game to Oregon State on the road? Of course. The Ducks have been looking inconsistent all year, and their run defense got exposed on national TV. I’ve said this previously, but the wins for Oregon are definitely not note-worthy, barely beating UCLA at home and only winning by 14 against Stanford. WSU does not make you a top team in this conference. Oregon allowed junior running back Jermar Jefferson 226 rushing yards on 29 carries. The Ducks got exposed as flaws and their chance at the CFP, and even a New Years’ Six bowl game, went up in smoke on Friday night.

Next game: Saturday at Cal at 4 p.m.

  1. Colorado (3-0, 2-0); won 20-10

The Buffaloes were supposed to play USC on Dec. 5, but because of COVID-19 issues at USC, they replaced the Trojans with San Diego State University at home. I have to say, Colorado looked good on both sides of the ball, only allowing 155 yards of total offense to the Aztecs, while really controlling the ball throughout the game. Sophomore tailback Jarek Broussard had another 100+ rushing yard game on 32 carries and looks to be the focal point of the Buffaloes’ offense. They are definitely a dark horse when it comes to the Pac-12.

Next game: Saturday at Arizona at 4 p.m.

  1. Arizona State (0-1)

The Sun Devils have not played a game since the first week of the Pac-12, since they have been dealing with a bunch of COVID issues within their program, but they are finally on track to play their first game since Nov. 7.

Next game: Saturday vs. UCLA at 7:30 p.m.

  1. Oregon State (2-2), won 41-38, up two spots

The Beavers really impressed me during their rivalry game against Oregon, and a last-minute touchdown to win the game against this defense is really saying something. I already talked about how Jefferson ran through the Ducks’ defense all game, but junior quarterback Tristan Gebbia really stepped up when it mattered in the closing seconds. The stats may say otherwise, but the final drive for Oregon State really put him in the spotlight and he shined. The Beavers are now on a two-game winning streak after falling in their first two games.

Next game: Saturday at Utah at 7:30 p.m.

  1. UCLA (2-2); won 27-10

At first, it looked like the Bruins’ offense really couldn’t get anything done at home against Arizona, but as soon as their defense started executing, then the offense started executing as well. Another great performance by redshirt senior running back Demetric Felton on the ground proved to be the difference, with him rushing for 206 yards on 32 carries, and a rushing touchdown. Even without junior quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, the Bruins’ offense still looked fluid throughout the game. UCLA is slowly climbing up my ranks and gaining my respect.

Next game: Saturday at Arizona State at 7:30 p.m.

  1. Washington State (1-1); down two spots

The Cougars haven’t played a game since Nov. 14 when they played Oregon. The institution has been dealing with COVID issues and a lack of scholarship players, and they look to play their first game after having the games against Stanford and Washington ruled a no contest. WSU’s run defense looks to improve while the secondary needs to be addressed. The offense of the Cougars still seems to be improving as well.

Next game: Sunday at USC at 6 p.m.

  1. Utah (0-2); lost 24-21

The Utes had a big 21-0 lead at halftime in Seattle against the Huskies, and somehow lost the game 24-21 by not converting in the red zone on multiple occasions, turnovers and allowing the Huskies to come back. The Utes looked so good in the first half and just completely fell apart; I didn’t expect the collapse of Utah to happen. I’m convinced that Utah benched the first team and put in the second team at halftime.

Next game: Saturday vs. Oregon State at 7:30 p.m.

  1. Stanford (1-2); won 24-23; up one spot

The Cardinal escaped against California in one of the most intriguing matchups I’ve seen this year in the Pac-12. Stanford didn’t dominate on offense at all this game, but with a blocked field goal and the game-winning blocked extra point, the special teams for the Cardinal came in clutch when it mattered. Stanford looked a little stagnant, but their defense kept it very competitive and made the game interesting.

Next game: Saturday at Washington at 1 p.m.

  1. California (0-3); lost 24-23, down one spot

California is struggling to find out what is going on with their special teams, in back-to-back weeks, the special teams have allowed two punts blocked and two kicks blocked. The offense seemed to be clicking way better this week than last week against Oregon State, but in the end, nothing could be fixed to find out the problem is with their special teams. Redshirt junior quarterback Chase Garbers looked good against the Cardinal defense, but once again, the special teams let them down again.

Next game: Saturday vs. Oregon at 4 p.m.

  1. Arizona (0-3); lost 27-10

The Wildcats looked good for seven minutes in the first quarter, and that’s about it. When sophomore quarterback Grant Gunnell went down with a shoulder injury in the first, it was up to freshman quarterback Will Plummer to lead this team. He went 17 of 35 for 151 passing yards and two picks, and it didn’t seem like the offense was really clicking under Plummer, and the defense got ran through by Felton. The team is just not clicking on all sides and it’s getting scary for this team.

Next game: Saturday vs. Colorado at 4 p.m.