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Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 2: Oregon jumps into first

Oregon vaults to the top of our Pac-12 power rankings after topping Michigan State.

Oregon Running Back Royce Freeman Ran For A Pair Of Fourth Quarter Touchdowns As Oregon Topped Michigan State
Oregon Running Back Royce Freeman Ran For A Pair Of Fourth Quarter Touchdowns As Oregon Topped Michigan State
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

The Pac-12 went 9-1 in nonconference games in week two, with USC taking the first league game of the season at Stanford. Oregon was the team of the week, however, running away late from No. 7 Michigan State.

In an odd twist, half of the Pac-12 was on the road this week. All but one team, Washington State, escaped with wins. The Cougars usual high-octane offense was slowed down by Nevada as the Wolfpack stayed undefeated with a 24-13 victory.

The conference is still very jumbled at the moment. Oregon and USC are two of the sexiest teams in the eyes of the rest of the country, but UCLA, Arizona State, Arizona, and Stanford still have a lot of potential. Here are how things stack up at the moment.

1. Oregon (2-0, 0-0)

With Michigan State ahead 27-18 and ten minutes left in the third quarter, Oregon fans were wondering if this was the time their team dropped from national power to just another good team. Instead, quarterback Marcus Mariota and running back Royce Freeman found a new gear, and the Ducks scored the final 28 points of the game. The true freshman Freeman scored on runs from both 38 and 14 yards in the fourth quarter and has been one of the most surprising newcomers across the Pac-12 so far.

2. USC (2-0, 1-0)

Pat Haden told me to put them here.

3. UCLA (2-0, 0-0)

This UCLA team confuses me. It is a very talented one, we do know that, but the results so far have been less than spectacular. We will get a better feel on just how good the Bruins are when they play at Arizona State later this month.

4. Arizona State (2-0, 0-0)

Arizona State continued to take care of business in week two, rolling over an over-matched New Mexico team with ease in the second half. It was a game of runs in Albuquerque, with the Sun Devils scoring the first 22 points, the Lobos getting 21 of the next 28, and then ASU closing the game with a run of 29-2. It's still tough to tell whether or not Arizona State is deserving of its No. 16 ranking, but we will find out soon enough. Right now, winning the games it is supposed to is the most important thing.

5. Arizona (2-0)

A lot of people are overlooking this Arizona team, but I continue to like what I see. UTSA is a new, but solid, program and the Wildcats matched every big play that the Roadrunners threw at them. They actually opened the night with an 85 yard touchdown pass from Anu Solomon on the first play from scrimmage, then added a field goal on their next drive. The final was 26-23, ending on an attempted shovel pass that was intercepted by Arizona safety Jared Tevis.

6. Stanford (1-1, 0-1)

The Cardinal will be fine in the long run, but they are stuck down here right now with their 1-1 record. They should rebound next week against Army and then have a bye before a huge game on Montlake against Washington.

7. Oregon State (2-0, 0-0)

The Beavers get some credit for going on the road and getting out with a win in a place that is not always easy to do so. Hawaii did what Hawaii does, playing well but just making too many mistakes and dumb plays to come out on top. Its last four losses have all come by eight points or less.

8. Utah (2-0, 0-0)

What is happening in Salt Lake City? Utah continues to rise, putting up 59 points on Fresno State (a team that has confused me for opposite reasons) after dropping 56 in week one. It now has a bye week before traveling north to face a reeling Michigan squad. Win that and we can start talking about the Utes contending in the south division.

9. California (2-0, 0-0)

The Golden Bears dropping two spots from last week's rankings after a 55-14 win has more to do with their first opponent, Northwestern, continuing to struggle mightily. The Wildcats fell 23-15 at home to Northern Illinois on Saturday, their ninth loss in their last ten games. So that's why I'm taking the wait and see approach with California.

10. Washington (2-0, 0-0)

The Huskies have the ugliest 2-0 record in the Pac-12 right now. After escaping Honolulu with a one-point win over the Rainbow Warriors, they returned home this week and allowed 52 points to Eastern Washington. Eagles quarterback Vernon Adams threw for seven touchdowns and 475 yards in a 59-52 defeat. Washington now faces a possible trap game as undefeated Illinois comes calling on Saturday.

11. Colorado (1-1, 0-0)

It wasn't easy, but Colorado got its first win of the season at Massachusetts. After a slow first quarter, the Buffaloes rolled off 38 points to escape Foxborough with a three-point win.

12. Washington State (0-2, 0-0)

Oh, Washington State. The Cougars entered the season with tempered excitement after going to a bowl game last year and returning Connor Halliday at quarterback. That excitement is gone, replaced with thoughts by Wazzu fans that their team might be lucky to win four games. Obviously, next weeks game against Portland State is a must-win for the program to not go completely off the rails.