Utah dropped 8 spots in the AP poll after their loss in Corvallis (9 in the Coaches poll), but they stayed in the top-25. They are joined by UW, Oregon, USC, WSU, and Oregon State. (If you hadn’t noticed, that is all 4 of the Pac-12 teams from the Pacific Northwest in the top 15.) UCLA is still getting votes in both the AP and the Coaches poll. And Colorado got a vote in the AP poll (but not the Coaches).
The Massey Composite Rankings have the same teams in the top 25. Here’s the ‘New Cool Chart’ showing how the Pac-12 teams rank relative to each other-and to the other FBS teams.
And because their are so many teams at the top, here is a look at just the top 25.
No real surprises. After their win over Utah, Oregon State moves up and Utah moves down. And since WSU beat Oregon State, they move up as well-despite not playing. Likewise, since Utah lost, UCLA (which lost to Utah) moves down and out of the top-25.
The rest of the Pac-12 holds relatively steady. You will notice that UW dropped from #4 to #5 and Oregon moves up from #8 to #7. USC also moved up one (to #12) despite their closer-than-expected win over Colorado.
One of the 82 different rankings used in the Massey Composite Rankings is Splunty. That ranking really likes the Pac-12. Seven of the Pac-12 teams have their highest ranking on Splunty including Oregon (#1), Oregon State (#6), and UCLA (#13). But that ranking loses some credibility by having California at #14 and Arizona at #16. (They do have UW at #2. That isn’t UW’s highest since there are 2 rankings that still have UW at #1.)
One of the widely-used advanced stats is Bill Connelly’s SP+. Here is what Bill has to say about the top 3 teams in the Pac-12.
Oregon, Washington and USC are basically three variations of the same team. The Ducks have the best balance, and USC is most skewed toward O, but there are lots of similarities and they all play each other in the coming weeks. Hell yes. pic.twitter.com/sHjquKMM0f— Bill Connelly (@ESPN_BillC) October 2, 2023
And here he notes how his SP+ rankings would look if the preseason projections were removed (so only looking at results from just this year).
This week's If Preseason Projections Were Removed from SP+ rankings:— Bill Connelly (@ESPN_BillC) October 1, 2023
6 Texas A&M??
7 Ohio St
10 Notre Dame
14 Penn St
16 Ore St
Notice that the same 6 ranked Pac-12 teams show up here, although the order and ranking are different. Seeing WSU in the top 10 is surprising, but they have been playing well this year.
Here’s a look at some of the other advanced stats rankings.
Advanced Stats Comparison After Week 5
As a reminder, “F+” is an advanced stat which combines the SP+ from Bill Connelly with Brian Fremeau’s FEI. You can find the current “F+” rankings here and the FEI rankings here. For most of the Pac-12 teams, there is little difference between the two; UCLA, Cal, and Arizona are the exceptions.
There are some differences between the F+ and FEI and ESPN’s FPI. ESPN’s FPI doesn’t rank WSU as high but it does rank Colorado, Cal, and Arizona higher. Arizona State is also not as high.
“Beta Rank” is an advanced stat ranking from Sharp College Football. There are a few notable differences. Beta Rank has several Pac-12 teams ranked higher than in the other rankings; in fact, only Utah, Colorado, and Arizona are ranked lower in any of the other advanced stat rankings.
There is a reasonable amount of consistency, at least at the tops of the rankings, between these advanced stats rankings and the Composite Rankings.
In addition to the overall rankings, most of the advanced stats (that rank offense and defense) have the same top Pac-12 teams among the top offenses in the country.
In F+, UW, USC, and Oregon are the top 3 offenses in the country (in that order), with Oregon State (#17), WSU (#19), and UCLA (#25) in the top 25. In FEI, it is UW, USC, and Oregon (in that order), although Oregon is #4 (behind Oklahoma). Oregon State (#17) and WSU (#21) are also in the top 25; UCLA is down to #27. Beta Rank also has UW, USC, and Oregon as their top 3 offenses (again, in that order). In a bit of a surprise, they have WSU at #5. Oregon State (#13) and UCLA (#22) are also in the top 25.
TANYA stands for Total Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt. It is a stat which tries to see how successful a QB is. It goes beyond just passing yards per attempt to include rushes and is adjusted for TD’s and INT’s.
QB TANYA through Week 5— Nate Manzo (@cfbNate) October 2, 2023
Tier 1: Caleb Williams
Tier 1b. Tyler Van Dyke, Michael Penix Jr. (with nearly double Van Dyke's attempts)
Tier 2: Sam Hartman, JJ McCarthy, Dillon Gabriel, Kaidon Salter, Jayden Daniels, Jaxson Dart, Brady Cook, Bo Nix, Cam Ward, TJ Finley, Quinn Ewers pic.twitter.com/PFiGvNBV2a
(You may need to click on that to see it larger.) Not surprisingly, Caleb Williams is at the top since he has 83 yards rushing this year-compared with Michael Penix Jr. with 9. He also has 21 TD’s and just one INT compared to Michael Penix Jr. with 16 and 2. Still, as you can (hopefully) see, Michael Penix Jr. is 3rd in TANYA, close to Miami’s Tyler Van Dyke and the 3 of them are well ahead of Notre Dame’s Sam Hartman at #4.
The tight grouping at the top of the Pac-12 will work itself out over the course of the season since most of the top 6 team are scheduled to play many games against the other top teams. UW plays all 5 of the other top 6 teams. Oregon also plays all 5. USC plays just 3 of the other top 6 teams, although they also play Notre Dame. Utah plays just 3. WSU is lucky that they only play 2 of the other top 6 teams (UW and Oregon)-although they do play UCLA this weekend. By my count there are 12 games between the top teams (if you include UCLA). That is 12 guaranteed losses between the 7 top teams.
According to the advanced stats, four of the top teams in the Pac-12 appear to have good defenses (Utah, Oregon State, Oregon, and UCLA). How those defense cope with the top offenses, when they play, will be interesting to watch. We’ll get a first look at that this weekend when WSU plays UCLA.