Pac-12 Football Hierarchy: 9/11

TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 08: Wide receiver N'Keal Harry #1 of the Arizona State Sun Devils mkaes a leaping catch over cornerback Justin Layne #2 of the Michigan State Spartans during the college football game at Sun Devil Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Tempe, Arizona. The Sun Devils defeated the Spartans 16-13. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 08: Wide receiver N'Keal Harry #1 of the Arizona State Sun Devils mkaes a leaping catch over cornerback Justin Layne #2 of the Michigan State Spartans during the college football game at Sun Devil Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Tempe, Arizona. The Sun Devils defeated the Spartans 16-13. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Week 2 of college football, through a Pac-12 lens, was actually quite entertaining. Two of the conference’s previously perceived top three faced off as USC traveled to Palo Alto to play the Cardinal, and not the guy who sits next to Pope Francis. But that and Arizona State’s outing versus Michigan State comprised two of the weekend’s premier games. However, all the other Pac-12 squads played, though most once again beat up on the Trash Techs of the world. Here is how, after two weeks, I’d rank the Pac-12 teams:

1. Stanford Cardinal (2-0)

Won 17-3 vs. USC

The Cardinal comfortably retain the top spot in this week’s Pac-12 Hierarchy. Why? Oh, they just kicked 17th ranked USC’s teeth in; and, oh by the way, this team has the best defense in the conference right now, and the best running back. Beat that. Stanford reverted back to their true ground and pound identity in week 2 by letting Heisman candidate Bryce Love carry the rock 22 times for 136 yards and a touchdown. Overall, Stanford just looked the better team wire to wire and defensively, they just simply dominated the Darnold-less Trojans. Keep up the good work, David Shaw.

2. Washington Huskies (1-1)

Won 45-3 vs. North Dakota

Ok, Washington, way to bounce back after the Bright-Lights Opening Season loss that’s notoriously sent quality teams into a tailspin hasn’t quite bitten you; yet. It’s whatever: beating North Dakota by 42 points (6 touchdowns I think) and pulling the starters midway through. I feel for North Dakota though. This is probably the most important event in their state since they had a movie made about their biggest city (Fargo) with William H. Macy and Frances McDormand. Nonetheless, from a football perspective, U-Dub pounded them back into irrelevance (ouch) and looked admirable doing so. They remain at number 2.

3. Arizona State Sun Devils (2-0)

Won 16-13 vs. Michigan State

What? You think ASU is too high? Stop. They did what only one other team in this entire conference has done: beat a ranked team. The other squad that achieved this feat was, you guessed it, the number one Stanford Cardinal. Hey, I base these rankings off what I see in the field, not what Johnny Football Expert is projecting in a matchup three weeks from now. And right NOW, I know ASU is a legit team, and that Herm Edwards might just be a quality college coach (I still want to seem him land recruits though). They beat a top-fifteen MSU team? How are they not top three on this list? I almost even put them at two. Don’t tempe me, because I might just do it next week. Oh, and Manny Wilkins is a stud. Gamechanger.

4. Oregon Ducks (2-0)

Won 62-14 vs. Portland State

A little in-state roughhousing never hurt anybody did it? Well, I think it might have hurt the Portland State faithful the other day as Oregon flew over them in a stress-free, nearly 50 point victory. Our Ducks have still yet to be challenged by a true competitor, but that’s coming. In two weeks, it’s coming, as the Cardinal roll into Autzen Stadium. For now though, Oregon has another week consisted of a Drago vs Creed style mismatch. So, unless they lose (no way), their ranking will remain relatively similar until that clash with the bird.

5. USC Trojans (1-1)

Lost 17-3 @ Stanford

Yeah, they lost. And yeah, they really haven’t looked all that impressive so far; but here’s my question: who’s better? There’s a case to be made that Utah or Colorado should jump them, but eh, I still think USC is just better, and had the misfortune of facing one of the conference’s two best in the second week, on the road, with a new quarterback. They’ll improve, and I don’t think the defense is shabby. Love got his buck-36, but it’s not like he was in full dominant Love mode where he goes for 200 and 4 TDs. I’m just saying, USC played a very very good team, and got beat. Give J.T. Daniels a shot.

6. Colorado Buffaloes (2-0)

Won 33-28 @ Nebraska

After the Cornhusker’s week one game was canceled, Scott Frost and the boys failed to come home victorious in their official opener, falling to a sneaky-good Colorado bunch. I give the Buffaloes credits, they won after all; but, by the numbers, Nebraska should have tanned their hides. 329. That’s the amount of rushing yards Colorado gave up. No way, should a team lose when out-gaining their opponents by 285 yards on the ground. It’s crazy. And passing-wise, even though the Buffs had the advantage (351-236) it wasn’t even close to enough to make up for the ground-game discrepancy. Odd game. Wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr (bookmark that name) was incredible, reeling in 10 catches for 177 yards and approximately half of Colorado’s total passing yardage. With him and N’Keal Harry, there are some lethal weapons at the wideout position in this conference.

7. California Golden Bears (2-0)

Won 21-18 @ BYU 

For this one, I’m going to be using a little something called the transitive property. You know, from your seventh grade math class. The idea that if A > B and B > C, then A is also bigger than C. Yeah, that one. Okay, here’s how It relates to California and the Pac-12 conference: BYU beat Arizona, and California beat BYU, so California is better than BYU. Facts. They’ve looked good to start the season, even though they benched my guy Ross Bowers and appear to have a quarterback situation equal to the Buffalo Bills.

8. Utah Utes (2-0)

Won 17-6 @ Northern Illinois 

Can someone please tell me why Utah is getting so many votes in the AP Poll? They beat Weber State and Northern Illinois. Am I supposed to be impressed by that? Against NIU, Utah’s offense wasn’t pretty, failing to score until the second half against a, granted, above-average cupcake. The half-time score of 3-0 sounds like the same score of the Red-Sox/Yankees game at the seventh inning stretch, not a college football game involving a power school. C’mon Utah. You should at least score on NIU without problems. I’m down on them.

9. Washington State (2-0)

Won 31-0 vs. San Jose State

Wazzu is the one team I have entirely no idea what to think about. On one hand, they have Mike Leach along with his awesome resume and personality. And on the other, you have a rather inexperienced squad who hasn’t played a real opponent yet. I’m sticking them here, between the decent teams and the train-wrecks.

10. UCLA Bruins (0-2)

Lost 49-21 @ Oklahoma

It’s safe to say the Chip Kelly era isn’t off to a great start, as evidenced by their big defeat at the hands of Oklahoma this past Saturday. The Bruin’s are now two games in the hole, winless, and really on track for a poor poor season. Luckily though, they’ve played a relatively tough schedule (Cincinnati, OU), so there’s a lot of potential for overreaction from media like myself to be turned against us if they find their footing later in the season. I think playing quality opponents can help young teams later on, and Chip Kelly must have the same viewpoint, as he’s traded in two Trash State’s for Oklahoma and Cincy. I like his thinking. Just gotta go win some games now.

11. Oregon State (1-1)

Won 48-25 vs. Southern Utah

Go Beavers! #TheFakeOSU got back on track after #TheOSU handed them a demoralizing blowout last week, beating Southern Utah in convincing fashion. Running back Jermar Jefferson popped off for 238 yards on 22 carries. Call him the new Bryce Love. He was excellent–finally a bright spot for a lacking Oregon State football program. The offense, overall, was simply dominant, amassing over 600 yards from scrimmage. Crazy to think that this OSU team that lost 77-31 can still beat people this bad. I think Ohio State should play Southern Utah. Oh boy.

12. Arizona Wildcats (0-2)

Lost 45-18 @ Houston

Christ almighty, Kevin Sumlin. This is an absolute disaster. You have what some think is the most dynamic quarterback in the nation, and you’re getting curb-stomped by Houston? My, oh my, is AU bad. They have just looked out of sync, disorganized, and putrid through week 2. Luckily, they’ll catch a break next week as the Oregon State foe of yester-week, Southern Utah, rolls into town. Lose that one and Sean Miller might have to step in and coach.

That’s the Pac-12 Hierarchy for the week. And remember, Oregon kicks of at 2PM PST in Autzen Stadium as San Jose State makes the trip up to Eugene.