NCAA Football

Pac-12 Power Rankings: Stanford returns to the top-25 with win in SLC

Photo Credit: George Frey/Getty Images – Block U

No. 23 Stanford (4-2, 3-1) picked up its second straight win of the season when the Cardinal beat Utah (4-1, 1-1) on Saturday night. It was the first time the Cardinal had beat the Utes since they joined the Pac-12.

It was a defensive battle that saw Utah actually contain Bryce Love — he only averaged 7.6 yards per carry and only had one run of 50+ yards — while successfully shutting down Keller Chryst and forcing David Shaw to put KJ Costello in. The Utes defense did everything it could to keep their offense in the game, but a pair of picks by Troy Williams were costly, especially since the second interception was turned into a touchdown by Stanford. Because of these turnovers, Utah’s offense was unable to capitalize on the defense stopping the Cardinal on their last two drives of the game.

For the Utes going forward, the health of Tyler Huntley is going to be the big key.  If the sophomore quarterback is going to miss most of the season due to injury, than the Utes are in for a long season because they don’t have a dominating running back that can take over a game anymore. Without an effective offense, Utah is going to struggle to win against the explosive offenses in the Pac-12.

1) Washington State ( spots): The Cougars left the friendly confines of Martin Stadium for the first time in 2017 and won by 23 points. It was another game where the offense started out slowly, but the defense shut down Oregon’s offense which gave WSU time to get in gear.

2) Washington Huskies (): California’s improved defense did a good job of limiting Washington’s explosiveness — the Huskies averaged 4.7 yards per play — but the Golden Bears offense couldn’t move the ball down field and as a result their defense wore down. It was a dominating performance at home by a really good Washington squad.

3) USC Trojans (): For a half, the Trojans couldn’t put away Oregon State. But the Beavers offense couldn’t keep pace with USC’s and the game very quickly got out of hand.

4) Stanford Cardinal (+1): The Cardinal went on the road to a tough environment and were able to squeak out a win. David Shaw’s squad did a good job of shutting down Utah’s one-dimensional offense, while doing just enough to squeak out the win.

5) Utah Utes (-1): Utah’s offense is in serious trouble without Huntley under center. Because there is no dominating running back on the Utes roster, all any one has to do is shut down their running game and Kyle Whittingham’s team isn’t going to struggle to move the ball down field or score.

6) UCLA Bruins (+3): Despite the bye week, the Bruins get to jump in the power rankings purely because of the fact that Oregon got blown out and Colorado lost to Arizona.

7) Oregon Ducks (-1): Justin Herbert’s broken collarbone is going to be a major problem for Oregon going forward as it’s clear the coaching staff doesn’t trust any of the other quarterbacks to pass the ball with any semblence of accuracy. If their opponents can contain/limit the ground game, than the Ducks are in for a long season.

8) Arizona Wildcats (+3): After a surprising win in Boulder, Colo., the Wildcats are now 3-2 (1-1) on the season. Sophomore quarterback Khalil Tate averaged, averaged, 23.4 yards per carry and 11.4 yards per attempt whiel scoring five total touchdowns in the Wildcats 45-42 victory.

9) Colorado Buffaloes (-2): The Buffs defense gave up 327 yards on the ground to a quarterback while he also did a decent job of torching them through the air. It was a horrific defensive display that does not bode well for the teams remaining schedule…I guess the good news is that Steven Montez didn’t through any interceptions on Saturday night?

10) Arizona State Sun Devils (): ASU got a week off to prepare for the undefeated No.5 Washington Huskies…can the Sun Devils pull off the upset?

11) California Golden Bears (-2): Cal’s offense averaged 1.8 yards per play against the Huskies…that’s not very good.

12) Oregon State Beavers (): While the Beavers covered the spread, the offense was downright pathetic while their defense had a couple of big moments in the loss — both of OSU’s lost fumbles were followed up USC punts. Oregon State needs to figure out how to score, otherwise the defense is just going to continually wear down late in games.

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