Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 5

No. 21 Colorado moves up after winning its fourth straight game against Arizona



No. 15 USC stays at the top of the rankings after they beat WSU 38-13.

KURIA POUNDS, Evergreen reporter

Week five of the Pac-12 season has come and gone, and it’s hard to believe that this is the first week where all 12 teams have played in the same weekend.

There’s only one more week of the regular season, and we’ll reach “championship weekend” where the top team from the South will play the top team from the North in the Pac-12 Championship, but also all the other teams will play each other in an exhibition game.

The Pac-12 North division is completely up for grabs, with every team losing except for Stanford and California.

In the South division, it’s between No. 15 USC and No. 21 Colorado to see who plays in the championship game.

After a weird week for the Pac-12, here are my power rankings heading into the final week of the regular season.

1. No. 15 USC (4-0), won 38-13

The Trojans finally gained a lot of respect in the conference after putting up 28 points in the first quarter against the Cougars at home, going on to win 38-13. The Air Raid proved to be successful for head coach Clay Helton in the game, as sophomore quarterback Kedon Slovis at one point had one incompletion and four passing touchdowns. Junior wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown lit up the stat sheet with four receiving touchdowns in the first quarter. The Trojans are on a path to the Pac-12 championship game, as long as they don’t mess it up.

Next game: Saturday at UCLA at 4:30 p.m. on ABC

2. No. 21 Colorado (4-0, 3-0), won 24-13, up two spots

Once again, the Buffaloes just seem to climb my list by doing what every team wants to do: win the game. Colorado ran the ball down Arizona’s throats on Saturday, especially for sophomore tailback Jarek Broussard, who had 301 rushing yards. Yeah, you read that right, 301 rushing yards. Colorado totaled 407 yards on the ground, and the run-heavy offense just seems to be working for them as they try to move closer to USC in the race for the Pac-12 South division. Even with senior quarterback Sam Noyer not having his best game, this offense can still produce big numbers in the run game.

Next game: Friday vs. Utah at 6:30 p.m. on FS1

3. Washington (3-1), lost 31-26, down one spot

This is the second week in a row where the Huskies were down by 21 at halftime, but this time, the comeback fell just a bit short. Washington couldn’t stop the Cardinal offense from driving up and down the field, allowing 443 total yards of offense. I am truly convinced head coach Jimmy Lake cannot coach in the first half or just chooses not to because the Huskies have been outscored 45-3 total in both games. Maybe it’s playing in Seattle because they have not played on the road all season. But whatever is going on with the Huskies, it could cost them a chance at the Pac-12 North division.

Next game: Saturday at Oregon at 1 p.m. on FOX

4. Oregon (3-2), lost 21-17, down one spot

Well, well, well, look who is overrated, again. All jokes aside, the Ducks were a heavy favorite to go 6-0 in the conference and could end up 3-3 and not make the Pac-12 championship game. Oregon looked sluggish against California on the road, and even though their run defense looked the best it’s been all year, it still wasn’t enough. The Ducks even finished with more total yards on offense, but a late turnover on the last drive cost the Ducks the game. Oregon is now in a position that they have to win at home to play in the championship game. If Oregon wants to win, then the offense needs to show up.

Next game: Saturday vs. Washington at 1 p.m. on FOX

5. UCLA (3-2), won 25-18, up two spots

The Bruins have won back-to-back games and now they have their quarterback finally back in the starting rotation after COVID complications. Although it was not pretty, UCLA pulled out a win against Arizona State on the road and the multiple forced turnovers for ASU propelled the Bruins to a win. UCLA was led by junior quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and redshirt senior running back Demetric Felton on offense, who combined for 90 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The Bruins’ defense seems very legit and they seem like the biggest threat to USC.

Next game: Saturday vs. USC at 4:30 p.m. on ABC

6. Stanford (2-2), won 31-26, up four spots

For a team that had to practice in a public park the day before the game, I must say, they looked great against the Huskies. Stanford won the offensive battle, controlling the ball for a majority of the clock and outgaining Washington by 72 yards. Senior quarterback Davis Mills completed 66 percent of his passes against the Huskies and sophomore running back Austin Jones carried the ball 31 times for 138 yards and two touchdowns. The run game for the Cardinal seemed to be the key for them, and keeping to it may move them above .500 on the season.

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

7. Oregon State (2-3), lost 30-24, down one spot

The Beavers were coming off one of the biggest wins in a while for them, and went down to Salt Lake City and couldn’t do anything offensive without their star junior running back Jermar Jefferson, but still kept it close although. Junior quarterback Tristan Gebbia was out and is now out for the season with surgery, so it was up to the backup, redshirt sophomore Chance Nolan, to lead this team. The offense for Oregon State just seemed lost without Gebbia and Jefferson, with the run game not being there and Nolan barely completing 50 percent of his passes. The Beavers need Jefferson back in the lineup if they want to finish .500 this season.

Next game: Saturday vs. Stanford at 7:30 p.m. on ESPNU

8. Utah (1-2), won 30-24, up one spot

While Oregon State couldn’t figure out their offense, the Utes put up some big offensive numbers in the run game. Utah’s defense forced an interception as well, which was a big reason they held on to win this game. Freshman running back Ty Jordan ran for 167 yards on 27 carries and got into the endzone once, averaging 6 yards a carry. The Utes defense stopped the run right in its tracks, forcing Nolan to throw almost 40 times. 

Next game: Friday at Colorado at 6:30 p.m. on FS1

9. California (1-3), won 21-17, up two spots

The Golden Bears needed to depend on their defense to win this game for them, along with redshirt junior quarterback Chase Garbers to lead them to their first victory of the season. California, throughout the game, forced multiple turnovers on Oregon and limiting Oregon’s offensive ability. The Golden Bears looked a lot better on defense and look to improve as the season finale approaches.

Next game: Saturday at Washington State at 7:30 p.m. on FS1

10. Washington State (1-2), lost 38-13, down two spots

Let’s not talk about it. We all witnessed how bad that game started. Moving on…

Next game: Saturday vs. California at 7:30 p.m. on FS1

11. Arizona State (0-2), lost 25-18, down six spots

The Sun Devils finally have played their second game of the season after playing the opener against USC on the road. And the big gap in games showed. ASU didn’t look as electric as compared to the first game, with their sophomore quarterback Jayden Daniels forcing to throw the ball more after being down 17-0 early on in the game. On the ground, Daniels only averaged 0.5 yards a carry and couldn’t burst into the open like he’s used to. Freshman running back Chip Trayanum did carry the ball 15 times for 108 yards, but the defense fell through when it mattered, and two turnovers for the Sun Devils gave them their second loss on the season.

Next game: Friday at Arizona at 4 p.m. on ESPN

12. Arizona (0-4), lost 24-13

Without sophomore quarterback Grant Gunnell, the Wildcats’ offense seemed to be very lackluster and couldn’t amount to anything against the Colorado defense. The Wildcats depended on their run game to produce numbers for them, with sophomore running back Michael Wiley rushing for 122 yards on 7 carries and senior running back Gary Brightwell rushing for 117 yards on 22 carries. Even with both running backs rushing for over 100 yards, the offense could only get field goals and the lack of production from freshman quarterback Will Plummer meant that field goals were the only thing connecting for Arizona. The Wildcats did force three turnovers, but without a solid quarterback at the helm, Arizona may go through the season without a win.

Next game: Friday vs. Arizona State at 4 p.m. on ESPN