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Week 5 Pac 12 Roundup and Power Poll

Stanford makes a statement and the Huskies keep rolling.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

As the college "preseason" comes to a close, a clear "top 4" have emerged in the Pac 12.  Beyond that, it is still quite a crap shoot.  Your weekly roundup / power poll.

Team Record

1. Oregon Ducks 3-0
Idle last weekend but still looking as dominant as ever.

2. Stanford Cardinal 3-0
On the heels of a convincing win over ASU in Palo Alto, the Cardinal reminded everybody why so many pundits had forecasted this team as a national title contender.  Kevin Hogan was an efficient if unspectacular 11/17 for 151 yards (2 TDs/1 Int) with a pretty good 9 yards per attempt average.  Ty Montgomery continues to show some playmaking ability in both Special Teams and in the passing game.  The story of this game, however, was the suffocating Stanford D that completely shut down Taylor Kelly (39.4 QBR) and blocked two punts ... including one where the Stanford D lineman forced his blocker back into the punter before he got the kick off.  Based on the score, one could make an argument for bumping Stanford to #1.  However, there were a few too many fluky plays that went Stanford's way in this one to totally discount their first two bland wins of the year.

3. Washington Huskies 3-0
UW and UCLA are basically a toss-up for the number 3 spot, but UW's wins over both Boise State and Illinois - games they controlled from start to finish - outranks UCLA's come from behind win on the road in Nebraska as far as overall impressiveness.  The Huskies are off to one of their best starts in program history doing it on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.  Offensively, Keith Price is completing 77% of his passes and has helped orchestrate three straight 600+ yard performances - a first in UW history.  Defensively, the Huskies have have surrendered just 30 points - good for third in the Pac 12 in scoring D.  Their 56-0 thrashing of woefully undermanned Idaho State was a perfect balance between style points and respectful sportsmanship, even if the execution (penalties!) wasn't perfect.  The Huskies are going into Pac 12 play with as much momentum as any team in the conference.

4. UCLA Bruins 3-0
UCLA completed a perfect out of conference schedule with an easy 59-13 thrashing of New Mexico State in the Rose Bowl.  UCLA showed some chinks in the armor by surrendering nearly 350 yards in offense to the winless Aggies and in turning the ball over three times including two Brett Hundley interceptions.  Still, the Bruins continue to show that they are going to have some success running the ball and that the dire concerns about their young secondary may not be completely with warrant.  There are still a lot of questions around this program, but things are rolling for the Bruins right now.

5. Washington State Cougars 3-1
It may not last for the Cougs, but they've earned a clear claim to the #5 position in the Pac 12 Power Poll by handling all of their business to date, including a conference win against USC and a dominating if somewhat unsportsmanlike domination over state line rival Idaho by a score of 42-0 last weekend.  The win wasn't too surprising, but Mike Leach created a little controversy by rotating some of his starters (including Connor Halliday) into the game in its late stages prompting a "What's Your Deal?" moment in the post-game handshake.  It is hard to know how much we can take from this one game, but it is clear based on the total book of evidence to date that the Cougs D is going to have a little grit to it this year and should be good for a few more surprises before the season is out.

6. Arizona State Sun Devils 2-1
The Sun Devils were on the receiving end of a Cardinal beat-down for three quarters before a "too-little, too-late" run in the fourth quarter when QB Taylor Kelly finally started to get ASU's beleaguered offense back on track.  Stanford is going to make a lot of opposing offenses look silly, but the turnovers and blocked punts were accompanied with a lot of out of synch moments throughout the game for Todd Graham's crew.  Taken with the rest of their schedule to date, I think we have enough film to question whether or not the Sun Devils are going to be able to consistently establish a running game.  This is key because it is hard to argue that Taylor Kelly's arm is good enough to carry this team.

7. USC Trojans 3-1
In the second full game of the Cody Kessler era, Lane Kiffin again had critics scratching their heads with an ultra-conservative play-calling effort.  Still, give Lane credit as his team was good enough to beat a scrappy Chuckie Keeton and his Utah State teammates in a 17-14 grind fest that wasn't decided until the last few minutes of the game.  The Trojans are clearly building their identity around a dominating defense (dare I say the "best" D not named Stanford in the Pac 12?) while they slowly bring their offense along.  This almost feels like what the Seahawks did with Russel Wilson last season.  As long as Kessler can protect the ball and the Trojans can get strong rushing out of Tre Madden and Silas Redd, you can count on Kiffin denying his critics and leaning on his D to win games.

8. Utah Utes 3-1
Utah QB Travis Wilson continues to demonstrate a mastery over the new Dennis Erickson offense in Salt Lake City with an ultra-efficient 24/35, 270 yard, 2 TD performance against a BYU team that had already upset the Texas Longhorns in convincing fashion earlier in the season.  Despite his efficiency, the Utes were only able to put up 20 points in this one thanks in large part to a paltry 3rd down conversion rate.  Still, the struggling Ute D was able to shut down BYU's Taysom Hill - one of the nation's elite rushing QBs - which is a promising sign for them as they gear up for Pac 12 play.

9. Arizona Wildcats 3-0
This may be an unfair ranking, but the Wildcats have played easily the easiest schedule in the nation AND they were idle last week.  Taking on the Huskies in Seattle should be a good measuring stick for Rich Rod's team.

10. Oregon State Beavers 3-1
The Beavers needed all of their allotted four quarters to beat a fiesty San Diego State team that many expected Mike Riley and crew to blow out in San Diego.  Sean Mannion continued to demonstrate an ability to generate huge numbers - especially when Brandin Cooks is on the other end - while protecting the ball.  However, the Beavers continue to struggle in two key areas:  rushing offense (3rd worst in the nation) and defense (108th in the nation with 6.5 yards surrendered per play).  That is not a good trend going into their Pac 12 schedule.

11. California Bears 1-2
Woe to the Bears who had the pleasure of taking on yet another ranked Big 10 team - #4 Ohio State - a week ago before going idle this past week.  Despite taking their licks with their schedule to date, freshman Jared Goff looks like an absolute gem in that Sonny Dykes Bear Raid offense.  If the Bears can generate even a little defense going forward, they are going to do some damage in Pac 12 play.  Up next, #2 Oregon.  Sheesh.

12. Colorado Buffaloes 2-0
You almost want to give Colorado a INC rating given the cancellation of their game against Fresno State.  However, given the trajectory that the Bulldogs are currently on, that game looks increasingly like a bad loss for the Buffs who would have, by default, ended up in the 12 spot anyhow.

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