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Pac 12 Round up and Power Rankings - Week 1

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Our first installment of Pac 12 Power Rankings for the upcoming season. Because I know everything.

Is this the face of a QB leading the #1 team in our latest power rankings?  We shall see.
Is this the face of a QB leading the #1 team in our latest power rankings? We shall see.
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the first Pac 12 Power Rankings of the 2014 season.  Many of you, my loyal and dedicated fans, I know have already read my predictions on how I see the season likely to turn out.  As you review this power poll, you might begin to pick up on some contradictions.

Don't let that bother you.  I've got it under control.

You see, the Power Rankings are intended to be a "snapshot" analysis ... an assessment of how each team looks relative to the others at this exact moment in time.  As this is this first polling of the season, I am limited in the amount of information that I have access to (darn those coaches and their privacy tactics), thus I'm blending in some of my preseason analysis with what we know about injuries, depth charts and upcoming matchups.

Enjoy.  If you don't like them, fear not.  I'll have the refurbished all over again next week.

Pac 12 Power Rankings - Week 1

Rank Prev Team Record Next Game
1 n/a Oregon_medium
Oregon 0-0 South Dakota
Even with questions to answer on defense, Oregon returns a loaded roster complete with a Heisman candidate at QB, a three-headed monster at RB, and elite athletic prospects spread throughout. They may have taken a "step back", but it is still going to take a giant leap forward for any of the other P12 contenders to catch them. They open Week 1 versus South Dakota.
2 n/a Usc_medium
USC 0-0 Fresno St
I have to admit, I paused in slotting USC here after reading that they are going to go with two true freshman starters on the offensive line. Knowing that Sark's hurry-up can erase a lot of errors and that the potential for playmakers like Buck Allen, Tre Madden, Nelson Agholor and Cody Kessler to put points on the board made it easier. Defensively, USC may be the class of South, even with injuries to some key guys, including phenom DT prospect Kenny Bigelow.
3 n/a Ucla_medium
UCLA 0-0 @ Virginia
I'm not sure how to read UCLA in terms of power ranking them in the first week of the season. On one hand, you have to like the QB situation. Their secondary looks pretty good. And, uhhhhh. Well, they have Myles Jack! The truth is that there is TONS of potential on this team - but all of it is uncertain. Whether we are talking about the offensive line or the defensive line or even the linebacking corps, all we can say is that they "could be" very good. We can say that this team does not stack up well against many other Pac12 teams when comparing WRs and RBs. Thus, they are going to need to really make statements in the trenches if they want to hold this spot.
4 n/a Stanford_medium
Stanford 0-0 UC Davis
I'm not sure what to make of Stanford coming out of camp. If I were to listen to David Shaw, it would appear that his Cardinal are about to unleash the best offensive line that college football has ever seen and that UC Davis will be facing a slate of guys who could all play in the NFL right now. My eyeballs tell me, however, that there are four new starters on that line and that the RB committee situation still has not sorted itself out. Add to that the fact that Ty Montgomery, their best offensive player, is apparently still dealing with rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery and you have a team that could debatably be further down this list to open the season.
5 n/a Washington_medium
Washington 0-0 @ Hawaii
You all know the deal with Washington - on the line of scrimmage, they look like on of the top two or three teams in the Pac. But the questions can't be ignored. Is Lindquist "the guy"? What's up with Kasen Williams? Should we be concerned that Darrell Daniels didn't win the TE job? What about that young secondary? Lots of optimism, but not a lot of answers just yet.
6 n/a Arizonast_medium
ASU 0-0 Weber State
Taylor Kelly and Jaelen Strong replace the Mannion/Cooks duo as the premier QB/WR tandem in the Pac this season. That combo alone is good enough to justify ASU at the 6-spot in our initial power rankings. However, that young, JC-heavy defense may not be good enough to justify keeping them here as the season moves on. An opening match against Weber State will do little to definitively answer any questions.
7 n/a Arizona_medium
Arizona 0-0 UNLV
The annoiting of Anu Solomon as the starting QB at Arizona was a gut-punch for fans of Jesse Scroggins and will invariably stunt the progress of RichRod's Wildcats in the short term. But, make not mistake, this young QB is the real deal and future looks bright with him under center. Much remains to be seen as it relates to him making that great receiving corps look even better. This is a team who could move up this list pretty quickly depending on how quickly it comes together for the young QB. Normally, I wouldn't worry about opening against UNLV. However, this one may be more interesting than it ought to be.
8 n/a Wsu_medium
WSU 0-0 Rutgers (Seattle)
Rutgers may be a tougher out than what many Coug fans may be expecting. Still, this team looks like it is exiting camp in relatively good health and ready to feature the passing game weapons that they've been cultivating. I like the combo of Vince Mayle, River Cracraft and Kristoff Williams working with Connor Halliday. That's a dangerous group. That huge WSU O-Line also looks imposing, at least to those teams that aren't able to simply run around it.
9 n/a Oregonst_medium
Oregon State 0-0 Portland St
Coach Mike Riley is again going about his annual task of blending together a few no-name prospects with a few JC transfers and a few established veterans to produce something that is almost impossible to predict in the preseason. We all know that his magic formula begins with QB Sean Mannion with dashs of WR Victor Bolden and LB Michael Doctor mixed in for good measure. Whatever happens beyond that is the stuff of legends. I never bet against Riley, but I just want to see it first.
10 n/a Utah_medium
Utah 0-0 n/a
This team is better than you think. With Travis Wilson re-established as QB (and I do hope this kid can stay upright) and a key playmaker at the ready in Dres Anderson, this team can be dangerous. They have a lot of blue-collar trench-workers who can do the job on either side of the ball. The question is whether or not they can keep up with the higher powered Pac 12 offenses. Opening against Idaho State won't tell us much, but it is a good way for the Utes to introduce the Dave Christensen offense to Salt Lake.
11 n/a Colorado_medium
Colorado 0-0 Colorado State
There is a lot of buzz coming out of Colorado about the maturation of their young QB Sefo Liufau, and for good reason. The kid definitely has the "it" factor and is a natural leader as a true sophomore. On the other side, Addison Gillam, another true sophomore, provides the same as the leading returning tackler in the Pac 12. I think Colorado's D will be better than last year, but I'm not sure that it is good enough. And, until I see who Sefo's weapons are going to be, it is hard to move them past 11th on the initial list. Count me among those that are a little more than worried about the Buffs stubbing their toes in Week 1.
12 n/a Cal_medium
Cal 0-0 @ North-
western
Cal is coming out of fall camp in pretty good shape on offense and may surprise some people with the production that they'll put up against Northwestern. The Defense is another story, particularly once you get past Brennan Scarlett and Avery Sebastian (if healthy). A road trip to Evanston is a tough way to start for a team that could really use some tune up games.