Pac-12 Week 5 Power Rankings: A new No. 1, again


Welcome to the Week 5 Power Rankings. If you don't like where you're ranked, don't lose at home to unranked teams.

1. Utah Utes: A few Utah fans were a little perturbed that their team wasn’t No. 1 in these rankings after beating Oregon. To which I replied: Relax, it will work itself out. And it did. The Utes are No. 1. Be careful what you wish for, Mighty Utah Student Section. You’re the third No. 1 team in five weeks.

2. California Golden Bears: Utah and Cal are the only two undefeated teams remaining. A week from today, that won’t be the case after these squads square off in front of a College GameDay audience. The Bears, while inconsistent against Washington State, continue to show a lot more defensive grit.

3. Stanford Cardinal: The Cardinal are probably playing the most consistent football in the league following a throttling of Arizona. Granted, the Wildcats were sans Anu Solomon and Scooby Wright III, but Stanford is getting better and better each week. We’re done with the snarky Week 1 jokes. This team is a legit contender for the conference title.

4. USC Trojans: We’ll just enjoy the bye week and let the league blow itself up, thank you very much. Break’s over; now it’s time for a week of Steve Sarkisian and Washington questions before a date at Notre Dame.

5. Arizona State Sun Devils: Beating a top-10 team on the road deserves a healthy bump. The Bruins have the better record, even the better résumé. But ASU looked more like the team we thought it'd be in the offseason. Either it was Todd Graham working his Week 5 magic and the Sun Devils will come back to earth in the next couple of weeks, or ASU actually will be a player in the conference in the weeks to come.

6. UCLA Bruins: UCLA takes a big, deserved hit for losing to an unranked team at home. And the wins over BYU and Arizona don’t carry the weight they did a week ago. That said, no one in the South is going undefeated. (Prove me wrong, Utah.) The division is stacking up exactly like we thought it would, as in, we have no idea what’s going to happen week to week. I waffled a lot on UCLA-ASU in these rankings, but head-to-head will always carry more weight -- at least early in the season.

7. Oregon Ducks: The Ducks slip a spot because the Sun Devils moved up. The vacuum at quarterback is an obvious concern moving forward. So is the secondary, which will be tested next week against a pass-happy Washington State team before back-to-back road trips to Seattle and Tempe. Still, in my humble opinion, they have the best running back stable in the league. And, as they showed Saturday, they can win games on that alone.

8. Washington Huskies: Hopefully the bye week was restful. Now begins a stretch of three ranked teams over the next five weeks. By the way, the two unranked teams are Oregon and Arizona. Cheers.

9. Arizona Wildcats: Sooooooo. Arizona has allowed 111 points in the past two weeks. Obviously, not having your starting quarterback hurts. But the Wildcats have bigger issues on defense. Their next three games happen to be against the three teams below them in these rankings. Although three straight wins might not do much to bump them in the rankings, it could keep them relevant in the division race heading into November.

10. Washington State Cougars: If anyone can figure this team out, let me know. At times, it looks like one of the most dangerous in the conference. Other times, well, those pesky special teams get in the way. Cal was very much a winnable game. A bowl game is still possible, but it’s going to be tough if the Cougs keep playing so inconsistently. I'm pretty confident, though, that they will scare a few teams in the coming weeks.

11. Colorado Buffaloes: A bit like Washington State, the Buffs are no longer an easy out. Those self-inflicted wounds Mike MacIntyre always talks about came back to bite them against Oregon. But people who think these are the same ol’ Buffs are fooling themselves.

12. Oregon State Beavers: It was a good time for a young team to have a bye and catch its breath. Back-to-back road trips at Arizona and WSU await with a good opportunity to move up the rankings.