Pac-12 Power Rankings, Week 1: USC, Oregon Lead the Pack

The Pac-12 has completed its first week of the football season, and more questions than answers have been presented. From blowout wins to surprising losses, overtime thrillers to postponements, there was no shortage of story lines.

In a new weekly feature, we'll break down the Pac-12 with a power rankings that will accurately reflect the state of the conference.

1. USC Trojans (1-0, defeated the Hawaii Warriors 49-10)

Hawaii never presented the Trojans with much trouble, as USC's first play from scrimmage was a 75-yard touchdown pass from Matt Barkley to Marqise Lee. USC is a really talented squad that many predict will make the BCS National Championship Game, and they took the first logical step towards that end against the Warriors.

While I am not sold on them being unbeatable and do not agree with them being ranked #1 in the country, they deserve the top spot in our Power Rankings. USC takes on Syracuse in East Rutherford, New Jersey next Saturday. How the Trojans respond in a hostile environment a long way from home will tell us a lot about this group.

2. Oregon Ducks (1-0, defeated the Arkansas State Red Wolves 57-34)

As everyone knows, the Ducks destroyed the Red Wolves. Winning 50-10 at the half, Chip Kelly took the pedal off the gas and allowed Gus Malzahn to say "uncle." Marcus Mariota stepped right in and allowed UO fans to forget about Darron Thomas, who made a terrible life decision and went pro a year early. These guys are the class of the North division and are the obvious challengers to the Trojan throne. Fresno State rolls into Eugene on Saturday.

3. Utah Utes (1-0, defeated the Northern Colorado Bears 41-0)

The Utes rolled Northern Colorado, pitching a shutout while asserting their dominance on the ground. Senior John White ran for 119 yards and a score, while Jordan Wynn looked okay under center. In other news, Northern Colorado is horrendous, losing all 11 games they played last season and showing little improvement in 2012. This win means nothing, but Utah did what they needed to do.

4. Stanford Cardinal (1-0, defeated the San Jose State Spartans 20-17)

Andrew Luck isn't walking through that door. The Cardinal looked shaky without their former superstar quarterback, which makes sense -- you can't just replace the #1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Josh Nunes needs to get a lot better if this team wants to compete in the Pac-12 North. Unless there is significant improvement against Duke next week, Stanford could drop down this list.

5. Washington Huskies (1-0, defeated the San Diego State Aztecs 21-12)

Another somewhat disappointing performance. While SDSU isn't a slouch, there's no reason that the Huskies should have struggled this much. UW had a nearly non-existant running game, picking up 106 yards on 31 carries. Keith Price was accurate on his passes, but the yardage was underwhelming. Steve Sarkisian needs to crack open the same playbook he used last year against the Baylor Bears. Now that was a performance worth emulating.

6. UCLA Bruins (1-0, defeated the Rice Owls 49-24)

What a difference in two halves for the Bruins. After two quarters, UCLA was up 35-24 and seemed to struggle mightily on defense. In the second half, Jim Mora's defense pitched a shutout. Brett Hundley looks adequate and this team could win some games if their defense can hold up.

7. Arizona State Sun Devils (1-0, defeated the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks 63-6)

Woo boy. The Devils came out and dominated the Lumberjacks from the start. Fast offense, fast defense, interesting dual quarterback scheme with Taylor Kelly and Michael Eubank. Of course, beating a 4-7 FCS school isn't all that impressive, but the way ASU went about their business Thursday night was a refreshing change of pace for Sun Devil fans sick of penalties and ineptitude. I still insist that ASU is more talented than anyone gives them credit for.

8. California Golden Bears (0-1, lost to the Nevada Wolf Pack 31-24)

Man, this was dreadful. Our friends at California Golden Blogs are rightfully pissed off at the way Zach Maynard was benched for the first quarter. Apparently their backup quarterback wasn't taking first team snaps in practice this week, which is inexcusable for a coach like Jeff Tedford, who has been in Berkeley for ten years. For a team that had aspirations of an eight or nine win season, this was a cruel awakening.

9. Arizona Wildcats (1-0, defeated the Toledo Rockets 24-17 in OT)

Toledo won nine games last year, pushing Ohio State to the brink and providing us with some delicious MACtion. Against Arizona, the Rockets couldn't get their passing game going, and that was their undoing. Completing only 21 of 47 attempts, Toledo really struggled, end of story.

Matt Scott looked quite good and the redshirt senior could have a huge season in Tucson. He'll be 22 in 18 days, and his experience and leadership will be essential during Rich Rodriguez' first season. Still not sold on them, though -- they need to batten down the hatches for the incoming storm, as Oklahoma State and their 84 point victory come to town next weekend.

10. Oregon State Beavers (0-0, game against Nicholls State postponed or cancelled)

Tough weekend for the Beavers, who will face Wisconsin next weekend in Corvallis to open their campaign. Right now, it looks like OSU will only play 11 games this year. That might be a good thing, as not much is expected out of this squad. Apparently Temple offered to play them on September 15, but that fell through. OSU could still play Nicholls State on December 1 if both teams have an opening. A trip to Oregon in December? Sounds great!

11. Washington State Cougars (0-1, lost to the BYU Cougars 30-6)

Air raid? Nope. The same team that ripped apart ASU last year failed to score a touchdown in Mike Leach's debut. Provo is a tough place to play a road game, and the BYU Cougars looked great, but the lack of offensive excellence is quite concerning for Wazzu. The rebuilding project is going to take a bit longer than the fans expected.

12. Colorado Buffaloes (0-1, lost to the Colorado State Rams 22-17)

The Rams only won six games total in 2010 and 2011. This year, things are different as Colorado State took care of the Buffaloes in Denver. Colorado is dreadful, end of story.

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