Pac-12 power rankings: Utah takes the lead in the division race

Arizona State (5-2, 3-1) had a chance to assert itself as the favorite in the Pac-12 South when it faced Utah (4-2, 3-0) on Saturday. Instead it left Rice-Eccles Stadium with a 14-point loss and a game back of the Utes.

The Sun Devils had seemed to take control of the the game in the second quarter when they reeled off 14 unanswered points. That quarter saw ASU score on half of its possessions, and you should really throw out its last possession as they just killed the clock to get to the intermission. Jayden Daniels’ used his mobility and his arm to help Sparky build up a two possession lead.

Unfortunately for Arizona State, that lead was quickly erased by the end of the third quarter as Utah ground its back into the game. Quarterback Cam Rising also played a major part in the Utes success as he regularly stretched the field when needed. The 28 unanswered points from Utah in the second half weren’t just because of its offense, the defense did a marvelous job of limiting explosive plays from ASU too.

While the race for the South isn’t over, Utah has a one game lead with the head-to-head tie-breaker. It’s a pretty large advantage to have six games into the season, especially since the Utes have finally gotten that win in Los Angeles.

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1) Utah Utes

Utah’s emotionally exahusting week ended with them in sole possession of first place in the Pac-12 South. After a slow start to the season, the Utes have reeled off three straight wins by double digits and look like the team to beat in the conference.

2) Oregon Ducks

The Ducks had two weeks to prepare for a Cal squad that has performed well below its talent level…and they needed a goal line stand in the fourth quarter to hold on for the win. It’s hard to fathom that this is the same team that walked into the Horseshoe and dominated both lines of scrimmage in week two.

3) Arizona State Sun Devils

ASU is going to need to figure out some answers on both sides of the ball after it was dominated in the second half on Saturday. Sparky is going to need help from some of the other teams in the conference if they are going to win their division.

4) UCLA Bruins

Marching into Husky Stadium and coming away with a win is typically a difficult task, and thanks to an interception late in the fourth quarter the Bruins were able to do exactly that. Chip Kelly’s squad may be on the outside of the division race; but it’s a dangerous roster that could easily force its way back into the discussion with a couple of wins.

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5) Oregon State Beavers

The Beavers had a bye week to recover from their loss to WSU two weeks ago. Oregon State’s pass defense was absolutely shredded, fortunately for the Beavs there aren’t a lot of good passing teams left on their schedule.

6) Washington State Cougars

Three weeks, three straight wins with this one coming over Stanford. It was the Cougars fifth straight win over the Cardinal, one of their longest streaks in the series, and it came on the back of a resurgent Max Borghi. The win came despite both sides blowing double digit leads at different points in the game.

7) Stanford Cardinal

Is David Shaw broken? I feel like David Shaw is broken. In the three-point loss to WSU the Cardinal averaged 8.5 yards per pass attempt and only 2.2 yards per carry. It’s a continuation of Stanford’s running game being absolutely putrid; this is a trend that’s been going on for the last couple of years.

8) Colorado Buffaloes

Colorado picked up its first conference win with a 34-0 romp over a hapless Arizona squad on Saturday. The offense finally showed signs of life and the defense routinely stopped Zona when it needed too. It was a overall good win for a program that’s struggled through the first half of this season.

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9) Washington Huskies

Oh Washington, what are we going to do with you? The so called “Greatest Setting” in college football was rather silent as the Huskies lost their second straight home game in frustrating fashion. Their offense is putrid, the defense is middling…and the recruiting is beginning to show the effects of this disappointing season.

10) USC Trojans

A week off for the Trojans was needed after they got thrashed at home by Utah for their first loss to the Utes in Los Angeles since 1916.

11) California Golden Bears

Cal has been in every game but one (the homecoming affair against WSU) in the fourth quarter. The loss to Oregon was no different, and a different series of play calls in the red zone at the end of the game probably sends it to overtime.

12) Arizona Wildcats

Arizona just can’t seem to help itself as the Wildcats had a pair of turnovers in the blowout loss in Boulder, Colo. It’s starting to seem like 0-12 is a likely result for this squad.

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