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PAC 12 Roundup and Power Rankings: It's All About Oregon in Week 1

We open up this year's Power Rankings with some familiar names in some familiar boxes.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the first installment of the weekly PAC 12 Roundup and Power Poll.  You all know the drill.  Every Monday we will bring you the latest on what you need to know from around the PAC and plot out our takes on where everybody stacks up in the conference.

As is always the case in week 1, we have very little information to go on.  Frankly, there is not much information to be gleaned from second hand practice reports where one team's offense plays that same team's defense.  Don't be terribly surprised if these rankings feel a lot like those from the end of last season.

Spoiler Alert:  They do.

As for news from around the Pac, here is what you need to know:

  • USC Head Coach Steve Sarkisian is still a head coach
  • Oregon QB Vernon Adams has "earned" the right to start week 1 against his old team
  • UCLA is the first team to formally announce a true freshman QB as starter.  Josh Rosen is the first of a list that might yet include UW's Jake Browning and Oregon State's Seth Collins (though the Beavs seem committed to playing two QBs for a while)
  • Stanford Head Coach David Shaw has been strangely quiet
  • Arizona Head Coach Rich Rodriguez has not
  • DirecTV subscribers may well have access to the PAC 12 Networks this week
And now, on to the rankings:

PAC 12 Power Rankings:  Week 1

Rank Prev Team Record Next Game
1 n/a
Oregon Helmet
Oregon 0-0 Eastern Washington
2 n/a
USC Helmet
USC 0-0 Arkansas St
3 n/a
ucla helmet
UCLA 0-0 Virginia
The big news out of Westwood is that the Bruins have settled on a true freshman QB in Josh Rosen to lead what is otherwise the most experienced (in terms of returning starts) roster in the PAC 12. Given that UCLA opens with what could be an under-rated Virginia defense, @UNLV and BYU, we'll probably figure out really quickly if the Bruins have enough juice with Rosen to hold this spot. I'll also be interested to see if either (or both) of the Bruin's offensive and defensive lines can find a sense of consistency that neither possessed a year ago. For now, we'll give them the benefit of the doubt.
4 n/a
Stanford 0-0 @ Northwestern
I've quite literally made a career of criticizing David Shaw and his constant need to unnecessarily call attention to those virtues of his team that he thought were being overlooked. This season feels different. It does feel like his team is being overlooked - especially given that a) he has a 4 year starting QB b) he has a top-of-conference level offensive line and c) young Christian McCaffrey feels like a breakout OPOY kind of player. If this team turns the corner on offense, I think it can stick to the upper tier of the conference even if their defense - which was amazing a year ago - takes a huge step back. However, if that rebuilt defensive line struggles or gets worn down by attrition, things could slip quickly in Palo Alto. With their first game on the road @Northwestern, we'll get some data points quickly.
5 n/a
ASU Helmet
Arizona State 0-0 Texas A&M (NS)
6 n/a
Arizona Helmet
Arizona 0-0 UTSA
I don't really want to hear any more complaining from RichRod about how his team has to play 12 straight weeks without a BYE. When your OOC schedule is UTSA (a team that is only in its third year of existence), Northern Arizona and Nevada, you ain't exactly exerting yourselves. There are a lot of questions surrounding Arizona that will persist until they encounter some real competition. For the time being, we'll play it safe and park them squarely in the middle of the Power Poll.
7 n/a
utah helmet
Utah 0-0 Michigan
8 n/a
Cal Helmet
Cal 0-0 Grambling State
I suppose slots 7 and 8 are somewhat interchangeable on this pre-season Power Poll depending on if you are an offense or defense afficionado. Cal enters the season boasting one of the two or three best offensive units in the conference. They have depth at all the skill positions and a QB that projects as a "top of the draft" kind of talent. Defensively, they leave a lot to be desired. While their LB unit is severely underestimated, they don't have depth at DL and their secondary is a signficiant work in progress. We won't learn a whole lot about them in their opener versus Grambling State.
9 n/a
WSU Helmet
WSU 0-0 Portland St
Ironically, I ranked Oregon State here in the 9 spot to open last season and they opened against - you guessed it - Portland State. Oregon State would go on to open their next season with a new coaching staff. I'm not suggesting that this is a "win or else" campaign for Mike Leach, but hovering around 10 in the Power Poll all season won't cut it for a fan base that expects a bowl campaign. Even Leach himself said that this is his best team yet. I would tend to agree. They are loaded at WR, they have an experienced offensive line and their defense looks serviceable relative to previous iterations. Unfortunately, Portland St doesn't provide a whole lot of a measuring stick for us to evaluate the pieces we are less sure about, including QB Luke Falk.
10 n/a
UW Helmet
Washington 0-0 @Boise State
While we still don't have confirmation at the time of writing about UW's QB situation, there can be no doubt that the Huskies will be opening the season with one of their youngest lineups in recent history. Opening the season at Boise State is a pretty tough measuring stick for a team that is looking to break in young talent at QB, WR, OT, DL and LB. I'm sure that Chris Petersen will have some success in moving his team up the development curve if for no other reason than the familiarity that comes with being in the second year of his system. However, we won't really know where this young team stands relative to the rest of the PAC for at least a few weeks. Until then, I assume that they are behind teams with more known commodities.
11 n/a
Colorado Helmet
Colorado 0-0 @Hawaii
Talk about a team in desperate need of some good juju. The Buffaloes could really use a win in their opening trip traveling to Hawaii. Despite what has been a long rebuilding process, this is still a young team. They are one that has a long road ahead of them this season, despite the presence of third year starting QB Sefo Liufau and all conference WR Nelson Spruce. The trip to Honolulu is the first of 13 games that the Buffs will play with six of them on the road and with no BYEs.
12 n/a
OSU Helmet
Oregon State 0-0 Weber State
The Beavers are a complete unknown as they open the season. We still don't have a starting QB - though true frosh Seth Collins looks to have a slight lead. We don't know what their offense will look like. We don't really know how their defensive rotations will look with their new 3-4. In short, everything that gets put on film against Weber State will be new information for the rest of the PAC 12. Until we see it, we won't believe it.