Pac-12 Football Hierarchy: 9/19

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 01: Head coach Chip Kelly of the UCLA Bruins during warm up before the home opening game against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Rose Bowl on September 1, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 01: Head coach Chip Kelly of the UCLA Bruins during warm up before the home opening game against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Rose Bowl on September 1, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Pac-12 football inter-play continued in a small dose over the weekend, giving me some real proof on how some of the teams in the conference stack up against each other. Most notably, Washington won on the road against Utah. This week, however, the stakes have been raised just a little bit as perhaps the conference’s premier matchup of the 2018 seasons is scheduled for Saturday evening: Stanford vs. Oregon in Eugene — a game that will decide the number one spot on next week’s hierarchy (oh my!). But before I get ahead of myself with fantastical talk concerning the week ahead, I must first set the rank of Pac-12 teams after the most recent slate of games. Here’s Wednesday, September 19th’s version of the Pac-12 Football Hierarchy™

1. (7) Stanford Cardinal (3-0)

Won 30-10 vs. UC Davis

Stanford cruised by UCD in a snooze fest. Star running back Bryce Love did not play due to injury, and as a result, the Cardinal offense failed entirely obliterate its opponent. I’m not too concerned moving forward. Quarterback K.J. Costello continued to impress, albeit he tossed two picks. A matchup this weekend with the Oregon Ducks will really define the conference. For one, I think Stanford is top notch but we still haven’t seen them play anyone of real prestige. USC was ranked when they clashed, sure, but the matchup of Stanford’s ruthless D against USC’s pitiful offense was a complete bloodbath, and the Cardinal was clearly the superior side. For the time being, (hopefully a short time) Stanford has shown no reason to be stripped of alpha status in the conference.

2. (10) Washington Huskies (2-1)

Won 21-7 @ Utah

Washington rebounded quite nicely from their opening loss versus the Auburn Tigers. They (obviously) haven’t lost since, and now own quite an impressive road win over the Utes, a team still regarded as many as part of the league’s top half. This weekend, I was thoroughly impressed with the Huskies defense as they held Utah to just one score and under 300 yards of total offense. Not bad. Not bad at all. With a game against ASU on the horizon, they have a chance to get a leg up in the Pac-12 North — mainly due to the fact that either Oregon or Stanford will start off conference play 0-1 (not 0-0-1, sorry. The NCAA may not know much, but they do know that football games should never end in ties.) U-Dub stays put for now though.

3. (20) Oregon Ducks (3-0)

Won 35-22 vs. San Jose State

Finally, Oregon, its fans, its players and its coaches survived the horrendously unexciting non-conference slate, with wins over opponents as touted as Portland State, Bowling Green and San Jose State. Oh, this Saturday will be glorious as the Ducks will finally face worthy competition. Stanford is coming to town. They will leave with a loss. Oregon will be number one next week. That is all I have to say (drops mic).

4. California Golden Bears (3-0)

Won 45-23 vs. Idaho State

Don’t look now but Cali is on quite a roll (get it, like the sushi) and has one of the more impressive resumes in the conference. Idaho State certainly isn’t quality competition, but North Carolina and BYU definitely are, and they defeated both of them. Heck, BYU defeated top-10 Wisconsin over the weekend, earning them a spot in the AP Top-25. Their resume is probably worthy of the number two spot in the conference; however, I’m grounding my excitement just a bit and leaving them at 4.

5. Colorado Buffaloes (3-0)

Won 45-14 vs. New Hampshire

By virtue of not losing, Colorado manages to climb all the way up to fourth on the Hierarchy. Most recently, they even scored a win over America’s most forgotten state, New Hampshire. This week, though, they’ll face even easier completion in the Chip Kelly-led UCLA Bruins. Yeah, they suck and Colorado will beat them by a million.

6. Arizona State Spartans (2-1)

Lost 28-21 @ San Diego State 

Sparky come home from their trip to San Diego with a less-than-satisfying loss. And even though there are teams right behind them with the same or better record, I still refuse to drop them lower than 6th. Look, the Aztecs boast a strong home crowd — it’s not easy to win there. Many a Power-5 squad has lost in Aztecia (not the actual name of the stadium). Plus, last week’s victory against still-ranked Michigan State remains one of the more impressive wins in the conference. For that, they stay up.

7. Washington State (3-0)

Won 59-24 vs. Eastern Washington

Wazzu has done the equivalent of kicking a trash can down a street in their first three weeks, amassing the most un-certifiable 3-0 start in all of College Football — next to Oregon at least. What can I really say until Friday’s game against USC? Nothing. C’mon Mike Leach, show em how it’s done.

8. Utah Utes (2-1)

Lost 21-7 vs. Washington 

Pencil me in as not buying Utah stock. I’m just not sold on them. They have an alright defense and a putrid offense. By the looks of things, they’ll be struggling to score on their opponents all year long. Best case scenario, the defense continues to perform at a high level and the offensive finds a way to move the football. Otherwise, this could be just the beginning of a long long year in Salt Lake City.

9. USC Trojans (1-2)

Lost  37-14 @ Texas

Well, here’s where it all begins: the ever-exciting race for last place in the Pac-12. And Cotton, we have some teams that are really trying to take the title of Biggest Dumpster Fire away from Oregon State. One of the frontrunners now is USC. A year after handsome Sam, the Trojans are a mess, and just got blown in by Texas in the Most Overrated Athletic Program Bowl. Yikes. Things look bad, real bad, for USC.

10. Arizona Wildcats (1-2)

Won 62-31 vs. Southern Utah

Congrats to Kevin Sumlin and the Wildcats on their first win of 2018. Arizona finally looked like they’ve played football before, as they controlled their contest against Southern Utah. That got them out of the basement. Well, at least ahead of the next two train wrecks.

11. Oregon State (1-2)

Lost 37-35 @ Nevada

Hey, losing to Nevada ain’t so bad. After all, they only lost to Vanderbilt (the lowest of the low in the SEC) by 33. But you know what: at least they won a game, unlike (ahem) our last place team, even if it was versus Southern Utah.

12. UCLA Bruins (0-3)

Lost 38-14 vs. Fresno State

UCLA is just so effing terrible. They suck. Are there even words to describe a 24 point defeat at home against Fresno State? I think not.

There you have it: the week 3 Pac-12 Hierarchy. Man, there couldn’t be more distance between the top and bottom tiers. It’s like the US economy. Boom! Political joke (sorry to whoever that offended ¯\_(ツ)_/¯).

Tune into this week’s College Gameday featured matchup between our Oregon Ducks and the Stanford Cardinal Saturday at 8PM ET, 5PM PT on ABC. Or, support the guys and be ready to go in Autzen Stadium. Your call.