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PAC-12 Volleyball Power Rankings - 4 September 2023

Let’s do this a little differently and set up an AP style ranking system for when conference play begins.

An earlier version of this article had Emoni Bates when the name of UW’s star player is Emoni Bush*

USC Trojans
Bleacher Report

12. USC Trojans (1-4, 0-0)

USC is a bigger brand than at least 98% of Division I schools out there, however, this year volleyball doesn’t quite have it. This comes as no surprise really as the better part of the last two decades saw volleyball power concentrate itself in the North. USC lost twice to the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors and barely squeaked out their only win on the season against something called USM. This is a team that has taken a step back this year, but never was consistently stellar anyway.

Arizona Wildcats
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11. Arizona Wildcats (2-4, 0-0)

The Arizona Wildcats find themselves at 1-3 as well but in terms of power rankings, their last game was a win while USC’s was a loss. The other thing to think about is the fact this team’s losses came against better teams as well, a season opening tournament loss to UNC and one the following week to Iowa State.

Utah Utes

10. Utah Utes (2-2, 0-0)

We haven’t covered any North team and are on the third of six South teams. Utah’s program has seen plenty of success in other areas since joining the PAC-12, but quite frankly, volleyball isn’t it. With early losses to Utah Valley and Utah State, the Utes don’t have much going for them at the moment. What is great so far is they aren’t at the bottom, but it’s time to start considering a change of staff in this program. Utah has proven to be resilient in the Pacific, with their fan base and better training facilities. They have eyes on them and this could make hiring processes much better.

Oregon State Beavers
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9. Oregon State Beavers (3-2, 0-0)

This is the part of the rankings where things start to get dicey and Washington fans will start revolting in a moment. The Beavers debuted as the first time we get a Northern team on the list and they may be my second biggest surprise of the year thus far. Oregon State in the previous two seasons had a combined 5 wins and five more three seasons ago. The fact they’ve already passed two is remarkable for a program that’s been slowly falling. They are ranked ahead of the Utes because of their three game winning streak topping programs such as Boise State and Oklahoma.

Stanford Cardinal
Stanford Identity Guide

8. Stanford Cardinal (3-1, 0-0)

Stanford is a bit of a surprise here this low on the list and time will tell if they improve. The specific piece to look for is what happens when conference play starts. If the first team with a winning record is number nine on this list, we know that competition has to improve. Stanford downed Texas which in itself is nothing to sneeze at, but the lone loss to Florida and the lack of wins elsewhere almost justifies this team's placement.

Colorado Buffaloes

7. Colorado Buffaloes (5-1, 0-0)

Things get stupid scary when the seventh best team in the PAC is 5-1. Colorado sits here because while they are racking up the wins, they aren’t exactly tough wins either. Their best win this year comes against Xavier when they swept them in three. That was Friday and doing what they do best, Colorado followed that up with a victory against Charlotte.

UCLA Bruins

6. UCLA Bruins (4-1, 0-0)

This team arguably has better wins than Washington and that remains debatable. Although they are one win behind Colorado, this team has played better matches downing Indiana and LSU. The Bruins opened up this season against the LSU Tigers and lost, but quickly countered with a win of their own to finish out that tournament.

Washington Huskies

5. Washington Huskies (4-1, 0-0)

Of course the Huskies are here. Some may say they’re too high. Nah, this is a team to believe in. Playing without one of their best players, Emoni Bush (injury), this team has seemed to click at the right time. Dropping a forgettable first game to UTEP, they have no beaten Indiana and have won four straight. This streak keeps them alive especially as player Pertovsky continues to stun as this team’s leader.

Washington State Cougars

4. Washington State Cougars (5-1, 0-0)

As blasphemous as it sounds, besides Washington - this may be my most favorite team to watch. Magdalena Juric, the 6’4 Croatian freak of nature is one of the best outside hitters in all of volleyball and seems to just be getting better. we will see what this team is made of though as in the next two weeks we get matchups against BYU, Baylor, and Texas. When they open conference play against the Huskies, expect fireworks to erupt.

Arizona State Sun Devils
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3. Arizona State Sun Devils (6-0, 0-0)

This team is rocking to start the season as an undefeated surprise. This volleyball team historically hasn’t stayed on the top of the conference and all are on their next two matches. Memphis and LRock are relatively easier opponents so there is a good chance we won’t see a loss until PAC-12 play begins against Washington and Arizona.

California Bruins
Bleacher Report

2. California Bruins (5-0, 0-0)

Perhaps the BIGGEST surprise of the season? Absolutely. This is a Cal team that you have to try very hard to find a winning season. The last three years combined this team has suffered gaining only three total wins. Now, they are undefeated after making schools such as Army and USF look silly. What comes next on the docket for them? They have one of the busiest remaining non-conference schedules playing 6 teams total before opening up against rival Stanford.

Oregon Ducks

1. Oregon Ducks (6-0, 0-0)

Unlike the other undefeated teams, Oregon is no strangerto success in volleyball. This program returns an experienced squad and just right back at it. Nothing much to say save for the next three games they have against Minnesota, Ohio State, and Pittsburgh. This is a talented team and should make light work of the rest of the non conference teams.