Stepping in for a traveling Jumbo, here's this week's Power Rankings in the Conference of Champions!!
12. Stanford Cardinal (0-5, 0-4 PAC)
It’s going to get worse before it gets better, Cardinal fans. This team has nothing going for it, except a solid recruiting class coming in. But even that pushes wins off for at least another season, and Coach Stinsy has not shown the acumen yet to devise a winning game plan. Hell of a recruiter, though. Stanford will walk into Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday morning and walk out bruised and battered and 0-6.
Next: @ Notre Dame, Saturday Morning
11. California Golden Bears (0-5, 0-3 PAC)
Honestly a team with Leonard Norris and BLT should be winning at least SOME games. Cal went into Seattle and lost to a team that was playing with no confidence, and no real emotion. Didn’t matter, still lost. Good thing Quasar is hitting the croot trail pretty hard, because the Bears need parts up and down both lines, and in the linebacking corps for sure. Zachary McFadden has been OK, but Naquon Barner should come in and start right away. Why am I already talking about next season? Because this one, save for the least exciting The Game in the history of the sim, is already over for the Bears. Look for UCLA to put up 40+ on Cal on Thursday night.
Next: vs. UCLA, Thursday
10. USC Trojans (1-4, 1-2 PAC)
I’m putting USC down here because the Marc Lockwood injury is the most significant injury in the Conference to date. Oregon got up 24-0 in the Coliseum before giving up two late touchdowns. Bernard Shook ain’t too shabby, and Nate Garrett is clearly a monster (a true freshman monster at that...) but right now, the Trojan trenches are being swallowed up by opposing linemen. Both sides. I’m next exactly sure where SC’s next win is going to come from, but I think they can get to 3 wins on the season, which would be disappointing given Jumbo’s rep, but understandable with injuries turned back on. Next week—not going to be pretty: Trojan’s will get Barack’d by Holmes at the Cowboys.
Next: @ Oklahoma State, Saturday Evening
9. Colorado Buffaloes (3-2, 1-2 PAC)
Yikes, the Buffaloes got buffaloed by Arizona in the Saturday afternoon slot, 45-10. Murray couldn’t get going, Evan Torres couldn’t take care of the ball, and the defense decided to sit this one out, mostly. The Buffs have a tricky remaining slate and a lack of top-line talent. Most baffling: what happened to Seth Scott? The reigning DPOY in the Conference of Champions has been essentially AWOL this season. Have opposing coaches learned to not throw is his direction? Says here the Buffs struggle to .500 the rest of the season, but could make a bowl game with a couple upsets.
Next: @ Oregon State, Saturday Evening
8. Washington State Cougars (3-2, 2-1 PAC)
What a win for the Cougs! Maybe the best non-conference win of the season for the PAC-12 saw Wazzu walk into Death Valley and proceed to treat Clemson like the crap orange-clad meatball that they are. Coach Ape got the better of his Indianapolis Colts FO colleague Emperor_of_Orange, with freshman QB Bradley Hassan leading his squad to a solid performance with 280 yards and 2 TDs. TE Eduardo Cantu was stellar: 8 catches for 105 and a score. Wazzu started so poorly, but with Ape’s coaching, they are turning it around quickly. Back-to-back OOC contests in the middle of the season are strange, but the Cougars will be happy to return to the Palouse and host an Army team that is only so-so. Says here the Cougs might actually challenge for the PAC-12 North title after all…
Next: Army, Saturday Afternoon
7. Washington Huskies (3-3, 2-3 PAC)
One week after an UGLY loss to the surprise Beavers, DeanDean and the Hooskies bounced back against the Golden Bears. The Cal Curse struck the Huskies, as WR Charles Kemp went down with a season-ending ACL tear, the 3rd time Cal has taken out an opposing wideout. It was essentially the only setback for Washington on the day. Jake Davis was Good Jake Davis, throwing for 302 and 3 TDs with a pick. The offense was 50% on 3rd down, and got some help from the defense that came up with a pick and 2 sacks. Washington jumps over Colorado on the strength of their even season record. In fact, there’s not a ton to say about the Huskies, because they are the most average team in the league. The coaching staff should spend the bye week recruiting like crazy.
6. Arizona State Sun Devils (3-2, 2-1 PAC)
News Flash: the Devils are good. Israel Carson is a stud, and Parker Townsend is getting it done running and throwing. The defense is not too shabby either. The Sun Devils held Northern Illinois (yeah, but still...) to 6 points, secured 2 INTs, and were in QB Charlie Stanford’s pocket all day long with 3 sacks. ASU could play the role of spoiler—next week (vs. Utah) and all season. They need to get a bit more creative on 3rd down, but their OLine continues to play at a high level, opening holes for Carson. Against the Utes, ASU will have to play extremely well in the back 7, but more importantly need to counter-punch against that Utah defense, and try to keep Culver and Co. off the field. I think this is a barometer game: if the Devils win, they’re shoo-ins for a decent bowl game. If they can’t conquer the Utes, Sparky might be staying home after the Territorial Cup. After Utah, they go to Westwood and duel with Steven Gore, then host Damian Dailey and the Vanderbilt Commodores. Yikes.
Next: vs. Utah, Saturday Evening
5. Oregon Ducks (4-1, 3-1 PAC)
The Ducks walked into the Coliseum and walked out with 1) a victory (hooray!); and 2) no injuries for the first time this season. Trevon Yeldon was his usual heroic self, gaining 150 yards on 25 carries for 2 TDs, but the game ball actually went to (SR) QB Michael Coe for the first 250+ yard passing game in two seasons (special shoutout to wideout Kristian Hope for 101 receiving yards). Up next for the Ducks is a visit from the surprisingly inept Houston Cougars in a weird mid-season OOC game. Houston has tons of talent, but coaching thus far has been suspect and the Cougs are 1-4 on the year. Oregon will be hard-pressed to win this one, I fear. After that, a trip to Pullman could be tricky.
Next: Houston. Saturday Afternoon
4. UCLA Bruins (3-2, 1-2 PAC)
What is UCLA doing playing UTSA in the middle of the season? Good question, but it’s just one a handful of odd PAC-12 OOC matchups in the next few weeks. Steven Gore, his arm in bubble wrap while not directly on the field of play, lit up the Roadrunners for almost 400 yards and 5 touchdowns. Please never play that game again, CFBHC schedule-masters. The Bruins travel to Berkeley for a matchup with the Golden Bears that could prove dangerous: Cal has severely injured 3 (!!!) opposing WRs this season. If Jay Arreola were to sustain a major injury, Steven Gore might not know what to do with himself.
Next: @ California, Thursday
3. Oregon State Beavers (5-0, 3-0 PAC)
The Beavers, nature’s most ridiculous mascot, spent the bye week (I assume) congratulating themselves on beating the Fuskies to run their sterling record to 5-0. The schedule continues to look favorable before turning down right ugly: after hosting the Buffs this week, then a trip to Berkeley and the winless Bears, the Barkrats get a visit from the hapless UMASS Minutemen. If OSU runs it up to 8-0, which is completely plausible, its get REAL real quick: Utah, Arizona, Arizona State, and what will be a bitter Civil War with Oregon is an absolutely nasty finish to the season. Still, the faithful cowherds in Corn-vallis are erecting statues to quarterback Ralph Julian, running back Lloyd Samuels and new coach Joopear. We’ll see how long this charade is allowed to play out. But hey, they're ranked, so whatever...
Next: vs Colorado, Saturday Evening
2. Arizona Wildcats (5-1, 4-1 PAC)
Wildcats looked beastly in shutting down the Buffs in Boulder. Shane Strong sat this one out and promptly watched his backup, Jonah Mobley, rip off big run after big run to the tune of 126 yards and 2 TDs. Sam Parrish also showed up big-time, as did the defense, in limiting Latavious Murray to 3.72 YPC and forcing two Evan Torres picks. Arizona is perhaps the most complete team in the league, and the loss to Utah is still a bit baffling. They’ve also been relatively healthy, and should be at close to full-strength following the Bye week.
1. Utah Utes (5-0, 4-0 PAC)
The Fighting Donald Culvers (yum, Culver’s...) had to fight back from a slight deficit against the wretched Cardinal. But Culver’s 4 TD (to 4 different pass –catchers, no big deal) would provide the right boost for the Utes. A little problem on the horizon, however, is the loss of top wideout Graham Adam to a severe concussion. It could prove a little more than even Donald Culver can handle in a classic trap game before the emotional matchup @ BYU in the Holy War. Looking ahead at the Utes schedule, (ASU, @BYU, UTEP, Oregon State, @Cal, @Oregon, Colorado), only the trip Eugene could stand in the way of undefeated season for the Utes, IF ASU doesn’t get the job done this week. Who would have seen that coming at the start of the 2021 season?
Next: at Arizona State, Saturday Evening