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Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 5

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A couple big results shake up our weekly Pac-12 rankings

NCAA Football: Southern California at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Usually, your understanding of the strength of each individual team in a conference improves as the season goes on. But after the top team in the south falls in Pullman, a top-25 team barely survives one of the worst teams in the conference and a team that was once undefeated through the first four weeks hasn’t netted a single Pac-12 victory, it’s difficult gain any sort of concrete understanding.

Still, we gave it a shot. Here are our Pac-12 Week 5 Power Rankings:

Week 1 power rankings

Week 2 power rankings

Week 3 power rankings

Week 4 power rankings

Pac-12 Week 5 Power Rankings

Rank Madden Destin Tonis
Rank Madden Destin Tonis
1 Washington Washington Washington
2 Washington State USC Washington State
3 Stanford Washington State USC
4 USC Utah Utah
5 Utah Stanford Stanford
6 Oregon Oregon UCLA
7 Colorado UCLA ASU
8 UCLA Colorado Oregon
9 ASU California Cal
10 Cal ASU Colorado
11 Arizona Arizona Arizona
12 Oregon State Oregon State Oregon State

Closer Look

Madden: Wow, what a week for one of the most confusing conferences in the country. Though he was playing with an offensive line with a bevy of injuries, Sam Darnold and USC once again failed to impress. The preseason heisman trophy candidate has just nine touchdown passes to his name thus far and an astonishing seven picks. That’s why the Trojans won’t crack my top three. Other than a couple programs that are struggling mightily near the bottom, the strength of the rest of the conference has yet to be determined. That’s why I have teams like Oregon, Utah, Colorado and UCLA ranked above the bottom in terms of pure talent level, but it seems any of them could fall soon.

Tonis: I should have gone with my gut last week, as Washington State knocked off an underperforming USC up in Pullman. Outside of the top two and bottom two, the Pac-12 is kind of a mess, as half the conference is within a game of .500, crowding the middle. Cal and Colorado both tumbled in my power rankings this week after coming down to earth with their second conference losses. What could be a season-ending injury to Justin Herbert keeps Oregon from climbing too far, which keeps mediocre ASU and UCLA smack dab in the middle of the conference entering their bye weeks.

Destin: I would've made the Washington schools kings of the Pac-12 had USC not played with three injured offensive linemen. Though Pullman partied, Darnold's poor performance was characterized by his team's health, not the Cougars. Utah didn't play, but Stanford's 34-24 wasn't by enough margin and Oregon's injury ridden win puts the Ducks in a hole moving forward, so the Utes are safe in fourth. Near the bottom of my rankings, ASU showed enough fight against the Cardinal to remain ahead of Arizona, but after playing UW and USC, the only team behind the Sun Devils may be OSU in three weeks.