Posted on October 4, 2022
The Conference of Champions held steady last weekend. USC, Utah, and Oregon all handled their business, while Washington State took care of California.
The lone surprising result was UCLA’s upset of Washington. Not many predicted the Bruins to beat the Huskies, but Dorian Thompson-Robinson proved his doubters wrong.
The results sent our Senior Writers and Broadcasters back to convene for an updated Power Ranking. The list below is a composite of each voter’s picks, while the table at the bottom contains the individual rankings.
1. USC (5-0, 3-0) ◄►
The Trojan defense allowed 17 first-half points against an Arizona State team that has struggled on offense.
Alex Grinch’s unit may have been overlooking the Sun Devils, but the four-point margin at halftime wasn’t up to USC standards.
And for the first time this season, Lincoln Riley’s offense turned the ball over.
The shaky performance left plenty to be desired and magnifies the matchup with Washington State on Saturday.
2. Utah (4-1, 2-0) ◄►
Clark Phillips III went off on Oregon State at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
The All-Conference corner snagged three interceptions and returned one to the house, securing Utah’s fifth pick-six since the start of the 2021 season.
The Utes’ defense limited Oregon State to a single touchdown, while holding the Beavers to 30 percent on third down.
The victory sets the stage for a pivotal matchup with No. 18 UCLA on Saturday, where Utah can claw back some national respect after the opening week loss to Florida.
3. Oregon (4-1, 2-0) ◄►
Bo Nix had a career-high game on the ground, rushing for 141 yards and two touchdowns.
Combined with two scores through the air, the senior helped put Stanford to bed by halftime with a 31-3 advantage.
But the Oregon defense took the rest of the night off, allowing the Cardinal to score 24 points in the second half. Even so, UO might be the Pac-12’s most dangerous team if Nix continues to thrive.
4. UCLA (5-0, 2-0) ▲3
It was personal for Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Doubted by some, the senior quarterback led UCLA to a convincing victory over a respected Washington team.
Jake Bobo and Zach Charbonnet had productive nights as well, helping to hand the Dawgs their first loss of the season.
But the primary takeaway from the win was the play of Bill McGovern’s defense. His scheme and play-calling did something no other coordinator has been able to accomplish this year: Stifle Kalen DeBoer’s offense.
Indicating the revitalized status of the program, UCLA is on its longest winning streak since 2005.
5. Washington (4-1, 1-1) ▼1
The final score showed the Huskies lost by eight in Pasadena, but the reality was a different story. Kalen DeBoer’s offense was humbled by UCLA’s scheme.
It wasn’t until the third quarter that Michael Penix Jr. got it going, but by then it was too late. On the other side of the ball, the problems in the secondary came to a breaking point.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw for 315 yards with three touchdowns, leading the Bruins to 499 yards of total offense and 10-for-14 on third down.
6. Washington State (4-1, 1-1) ◄►
Jake Dickert once again proved his defensive genius. After running all over Arizona, California was unable to move the ball on the ground against Washington State.
Dickert’s group held the Bears to 31 yards rushing while forcing four sacks. The defensive strength is a hallmark of the new era in Pullman and should continue to make Wazzu a dangerous team.
But Cam Ward is too sloppy with the ball. The sophomore threw two picks on Saturday to bring his total to seven on the season. Until the turnovers are controlled on offense, WSU won’t reach its ceiling.
7. Oregon State (3-2, 0-2) ▼2
Chance Nolan left the game in Salt Lake City with a neck injury, throwing this weekend’s game against Stanford into question.
Despite what some may think, Nolan gives Oregon State its best chance of winning and any prolonged absence will hurt.
Backup Ben Gulbranson threw two interceptions and rushed for just five yards against the Utes, limiting the Beaver offense both on the ground and through the air.
There’s a reason Nolan won the starting job last season and led OSU to its first bowl game since 2013. If he can’t go, Jonathan Smith’s offense is severely limited.
8. Cal (3-2, 1-1) ◄►
The victory over Arizona in Berkeley may have been a mirage. Facing a competent defense on Saturday, California’s offense was rendered ineffective.
The loss in Pullman was ugly and makes the path to bowl eligibility tougher. Needing three more wins, the matchups with Colorado this weekend and Stanford in Week 11 are must-haves.
That leaves the game with Oregon State in mid-November as the defining showdown, unless Justin Wilcox can engineer an upset over Washington, Oregon, or UCLA at Memorial Stadium.
9. Arizona (3-2, 1-1) ◄►
In a single offseason Jedd Fisch has transformed Arizona’s offense into one of the most explosive in the country.
Jayden de Laura is the heart and soul of Fisch’s system, extending plays with his legs and executing throws on the move.
But UA’s wide receiver corps pushes the group to the next level. Jacob Cowing is one of the top wideouts in the nation, while Dorian Singer and Tetairoa McMillan are strong second and third options.
Yet, unless the Wildcat defense generates multiple turnovers, it’s hard to project Arizona to upset Oregon, Washington, USC, Utah, or UCLA over the next five weeks.
10. Arizona State (1-4, 0-2) ▲1
The Sun Devils may have taken a step forward in Los Angeles.
Rivalry games tend to bring out strong performances in weaker teams, but the first half against USC could indicate a page has been turned.
Emory Jones was relatively effective against the Trojan defense, completing 71.9 percent of his passes for his second-highest passing yards on the year.
The ASU defense forced SC’s first turnover of the year, too. The result changes the perception of the matchups against Stanford, Colorado, and Oregon State, with a 3-0 mark in those games becoming a realistic possibility.
11. Stanford (1-3, 0-3) ▼1
Injury problems along the offensive line continue to plague the Tree.
Walter Rouse played against Oregon, but Barrett Miller left the game in the first half and Myles Hinton didn’t make the trip.
With depth up front being tested, the Stanford offense is limited. The Cardinal did put up 24 points in the second half, continuing their strong performances in the final two quarters.
But the games are already out of hand by that point, making the offensive scoring numbers a paper tiger.
12. Colorado (0-5, 0-2) ◄►
The timing can never be perfect, but Colorado made the right decision to move on from Karl Dorrell.
Recruiting has been a problem since he took over, with his lone successful season coming on the back of Mel Tucker’s strong recruiting class. The next two months will be bumpy as the program evaluates its options.
While CU has struggled for several years, CBS Sports recently ranked it the No. 5 best available Power 5 head coach job, behind Wisconsin, Nebraska, Arizona State, and Georgia Tech.
A number of coaches have been mentioned as potential candidates, with Dennis Dodd naming former Virginia and BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall, and Air Force coach Troy Calhoun as the top two possibilities.
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