NCAA

Pac-12 power rankings: Jonathan Smith won with a gutsy decision

Fresno State (1-1) is not a pushover, particularly at home. And Oregon State (2-0) found that out as the Bulldogs held a 32-29 lead with three seconds left on Saturday night. The Beavers could have, some would argue should have, kicked the field goal to force overtimes. But collge kickers are notoriously unreliable, thanks to the stupidly wide hashes that the NCAA insist on; which left OSU head coach Jonathan Smith with one real choice.

It was not the most effective offensive performance on either side of the ball for the Beavers, but it got the job done against one of the better group of five programs out there.

Junior quarterback Chance Nolan was meh but he hit the passes he needed too. As a result the ground game found plenty of space to eat up huge chunks of yardage to keep the offense moving. I was extremely encouraged by running back Deshaun Fenwick and think that he’s probably the running back to watch in the conference this season.

That being said, we should absolutely keep a close eye on Oregon State’s secondary continued to be a question mark. Nikko Remigio got to a 100 receiving yards on only six receptions while Josh Kelly took only four receptions to get to 95. Former Washington quarterback Jake Haener impressed as well. With the Air Raid back on the Palouse, and the Huskies also focusing on the pass, it will be imperative for Smith’s squad to tighten up in the defensive backfield.

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1) Utah Utes

Week one was a close lose in a hostile and humid environment, week two was an absolute ass whooping of FCS Southern Utah. The 66 point margin of victory was a stark reminder how far this program has come in the decade it’s been in the Pac-12.

2) USC Trojans

A trip up to Palo Alto, Calif. — with a national TV audience — had become the point where Southern California would traditionally face plant. The (at the time of kick off) No. 10 Trojans reeled off five touchdowns on five straight possessions and then costed to a relatively comfortable 41-28 win. The defense gave up 14 points in the fourth, but they had clearly checked out against an over matched Cardinal squad.

3) UCLA Bruins

I’m not particularly impressed by the Bruins first two opponents this season, but in both games they did exactly what they were supposed to do and beat the shit out of them. We won’t really learn who this squad is until they take on the Huskies in the Rose Bowl at the end of the month.

4) Oregon Ducks

A week after getting their teeth kicked in by Georgia, Oregon beat the shit out of Eastern Washington. Not much was learned from this game other than the fact that Dan Lanning can, in fact, get his squad to bounce back.

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5) Washington State Cougars

Well, gawd damn. The Cougars went into Camp Randall and picked up their first win over a ranked Big Ten opponent, ever, and their first win over a ranked non-conference opponent since they bullwhipped Colorado back in 2003. As the game went on it was clear that the defense had been in its system for the last two seasons while the offense was only in game two; but it didn’t matter in the end.

6) Oregon State Beavres

In my unpublished preseason rankings, I had Oregon State at 5 and WSU at 6. The reason the Beavers moved down isn’t because I’m punishing them for barely beating a Mountain West opponent — Fresno State is really good; it’s just that the WSU win was far more impressive.

7) Washington Huskies

While Washington beat the shit out of two bad programs to open up the season, that is a marked improvement over what happened last season. No. 14 Michigan State will serve as their first real test of the year and it will be interesting to see just who this squad really is.

8) California Golden Bears

While UNLV is on the right track for it’s rebuild, a six point win over them in week two is highly concerning. Cal’s quarterback situation is still a massive question mark and the running game struggled to find consistency. Next up is a trip to Notre Dame, Ind. and whooo boy that could be a chance to really shakeup the college football world.

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9) Arizona Wildcats

After an impressive week one win at San Diego State, the Wildcats struggled to find any kind of rhythm on offense against Mississippi State at home. Transfer quarterback Jayden de Laura is still trying to find his way in this new offense, while the defense ultimately wore down in the fourth quarter in the face of Mike Leach’s Air Raid attack. Unfortunately, their schedule does them no favors this week as they get North Dakota State…whomever created this schedule needs to be fired.

10) Stanford Cardinal

Ohhh boy, things don’t look good on The Farm. I gotta be honest, Stanford being bad again feels like the natural order restoring itself.

11) Arizona State Sun Devils

While the 17 point loss doesn’t look so bad on paper, ASU was clearly under prepared for the Oklahoma State offensive attack. The offense continued to look off kilter and never really found it’s groove; there wasn’t a lot to like about this game for the Sun Devils.

12) Colorado Buffaloes

While Air Force is expected to be legit this season, a 31 point loss against a Mountain West team is not a good look for a program that has been pretty consistently awful since it’s move to the Pac.

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