1. Oregon - The Oregon machine just keeps on rolling. Right now they look like the best team in the country, but I think that more has been made of their competition that should have. The teams they've played have been pretty bad, but there's still a lot to be said about the manner in which the Ducks dispatched of them.
2. UCLA - The Bruins destroyed Nebraska in the second half, but they also played really poorly in the first, getting themselves stuck in a hole that they might not be able to dig themselves out of once they get into conference play. They destroyed Nebraska last year as well, and I think people who follow west coast football weren't too surprised by this one. Still, they looked great for half of the game and now own the conference's best win.
3. Washington - I think that as the season goes along, we're going to see that Illinois is a pretty good team. They could very well win 7 or 8 games, and I'd be surprised if they didn't go to a bowl. So when you look at UW's resume, you see two wins in two games against above average teams and one of them was on the road. They also have a ton of room to get better, and the rest of the conference has taken notice.
4. Arizona State - Whatever your thoughts are on how their game against Wisconsin ended, the Sun Devils are now 2-0 with a win over a ranked team, and one that's coming off of three straight Rose Bowl appearances. I don't think ASU was able to strike fear into the hearts of their future opponents with their victory (especially if Will Sutton has any lingering effects from his thigh bruise), but they showed that they can be competitive with anyone on their schedule.
5. Stanford - In typical Stanford fashion, they let an inferior opponent hang around because their offense couldn't put them away. More concerning, though, should be that their defense allowed Army to move the ball down the field all game. If you're going to call your defense one of the best two or three in the nation, shutting down a team that you have out manned at every spot across the field would be a good idea. If they play like that, they lose to most teams in this conference.
6. Washington State - They've played a team tough on the road, won a defensive struggle, and now have gotten their passing game going in blowout. Sure, it was against and FCS team and their run game is still lol-bad, but the Paul Wulff days of this program being a walkover are gone, and this team is going to head into the meat of their schedule halfway to bowl eligibility.
7. USC - Maybe we were too quick to write off the Trojans, and losing to WSU isn't as bad a loss as it first seemed? Now that they seem to have gotten their QB situation figured out, this team could go on a run. Really, go look at their schedule. They have the easiest Pac-12 schedule of anybody (no Oregon, no Washington) and it doesn't take much imagination to see them reeling off their next 7 and heading into their matchup with Stanford at 9-1. But Lane Kiffin....
8. Colorado - Ultimately, the Buffs will end up back at the bottom of the conference. They just don't have the talent to compete with the rest of the teams on their schedule. But they've already doubled their win total from a year ago, and at least with Paul Richardson their opponents have someone that they have to account for, which was missing when he was injured a year ago.
9. Oregon State - A nice win in a thriller at Utah, but if I'm a Beaver fan I'm terrified about what the teams at the end of the schedule are going to do to their cringeworthy defense, which gave up 46 to an FCS school and 48 to a Utah offense that is probably in the bottom 1/3 of the conference. They also needed a +3 turnover margin to squeak by the Utes, and it's only a matter of time before Sean Mannion -- he of 31:31 TD:INT ratio coming into this year -- reverts back into the mistake prone player we know him to be. f I'm a betting man, I say this team only wins a couple more games this year.
10. Arizona - Yeah, they're 3-0, but so too would be every other team in the conference playing their schedule. We know nothing about this Arizona team yet, and they've done nothing to deserve to be ranked highly.
11. Utah - Unfortunately for the Utes, I think that Oregon State was a game that they needed to win to get to a bowl. They'll be the underdog in each of their next 7 games, and though they look better than they did last season, pretty much everybody else in the conference does too.
12. Cal - I don't know who Cal beat this year. The offense is greatly improved, but you look at their schedule and there really isn't a team on their that they can stop with their defense. As long as their opponent gets a couple of stops or turnovers -- and Goff is good for at least one a game -- all they have to do is be competent on offense and the Bears are beaten. They're going to have a couple of games where they throw for 500 yards, don't turn the ball over and maybe get lucky on D and surprise somebody, but it's totally unpredictable. They're playing a high variance brand of football, which as a Cal fan would be very tough to watch.