Each week, we will rank the teams in the Pac-10 based on their weekly performance as well as their overall body of work. Despite feasting on inferior foes, the conference failed to record a marquee win to boost the national perception.
1. Oregon Ducks
The Ducks offense put up 72 points while the defense shut out New Mexico. Oregon’s attack looked unstoppable–albeit against the Lobos–and didn’t miss a beat without Jeremiah Masoli. Before winning the Pac-10 in 2009, the Ducks struggled out of conference. We will learn much more about these Ducks when they play Tennessee this week, but they looked like the best team in the conference.
2. Arizona Wildcats
A trendy pick to win the Pac-10, Arizona’s offense was efficient and quarterback Nick Foles was accurate. The Wildcats defense shut down Toldeo on the road. Much like Oregon, Arizona’s true colors will be shown when they play Iowa.
3. Stanford Cardinal
Andrew Luck carved up Sacramento State and put on hold questions about whether or not he could run the offense without Gerhart in the backfield.
4. USC Trojans
Matt Barkley and the offense were unstoppable and converted well on 3rd down. Tyler ran the ball very effectively and the wide receivers proved elusive. However, the defense needs to wrap up tackles and tighten up coverage if USC plans to contend for the conference crown.
5. Oregon State Beavers
The Beavers fought valiantly against TCU in Dallas but fell short. Ryan Katz is young, but he didn’t run the offense particularly well. Fast, swarming defenses will be able to focus on Jacquizz Rodgers and hold the OSU attack at bay.
6. California Golden Bears
Cal has never had a problem smacking around inferior opponents. They looked impressive in their 52-3 rout of UC Davis, but we have seen this scenario before. Until Cal plays a decent team, it is impossible to get a read on how the inconsistent senior quarterback Kevin Riley will perform.
7. Washington Huskies
BYU is supposed to be rebuilding and used two quarterbacks to beat the Huskies. Locker has been celebrated as a Heisman candidate, but the Huskies just don’t seem to have the pieces to be an upper-tier team in the conference.
8. Arizona State Sun Devils
Arizona State’s defense will be solid all year. Nevertheless, the offense remains a huge question mark. They put up huge numbers against Portland State, but they won’t be playing the likes of Portland State every week–although Washington State comes close.
9. UCLA Bruins
Rick Neuheisel’s pistol formation didn’t look very good and Kevin Prince proved to be an erratic passer. The Bruins have a brutal out of conference schedule and could be in for a long, long year.
10. Washington State Cougars
The Cougars showed some improvement in their blowout loss to Oklahoma State, but they are still way behind the rest of the conference.