Wednesday, 4 September 2013

2013 Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week One

Every blogger and sports writer who has ever existed has done power rankings and award trackers. I'm not going to sit here and tell you I'm the chosen one and therefore will not do any blog posts of the sort. I actually kind of enjoy power rankings and award trackers but I'm going to be doing mine a little differently. My weekly power rankings and award trackers will be based on no preseason bias whatsoever. I'm pretending like I have never witnessed college football before this season and all I know about any of those 12 teams or the players and coaches vying for various honors is what I have seen on the field this season. With that in mind, here are my initial power rankings and award trackers for the 2013 Pac-12 season.

The Power Rankings: Week One

1. Washington (1-0, 0-0)
Washington couldn't have looked better. They scored the best win of the weekend by taking out number 19 Boise State, they moved the ball efficiently both on the ground and through the air and the defense absolutely stifled the Broncos. Husky Stadium was electric and looks like a place that will be very tough (dare I say "Autzen-tough?") to play in.

2. UCLA (1-0, 0-0)
The Bruins had a sloppy first half and let Nevada hang around for awhile but they looked great in the second half. Brett Hundley made a number of NFL caliber throws, Shaq Evans is starting to look like a legit number one receiver, Jordan James and Malcolm Jones look more than capable of replacing Jonathan Franklin, and the front seven on defense somehow got even better. I have some minor questions about UCLA's O-line and defensive secondary but overall, I was very impressed with the Bruins 58-20 blowout win over a relatively decent Nevada team.

3. Oregon (1-0, 0-0)
I know its just Nicholls State but 772 yards (500 rushing), 66 points, and 10.8 yards per play all with no touchdowns allowed on defense is impressive against anyone. Oregon scored on every possession save for two, when they were twice stopped on 4th down deep inside Nicholls territory. I want to see Oregon play some better defenses before I move them any higher but they'll get their chance this weekend on the road against Virginia.

4. Utah (1-0, 0-0)
The Utes showed tremendous heart by overcoming a nine point deficit in the second half against a very good Utah State team. The Utes passing game looked impressive but the run game and elements of their defense (particularly third downs) needs work if I'm going to move them any higher.

5. Colorado (1-0, 0-0)
Colorado moved the ball very efficiently on offense and didn't make any major mistakes outside of a few penalties that can be easily corrected. I was really impressed by how fundamentally sound Colorado's defense was and how they swarmed to the ball. Special teams coverage needs a ton of work and I want to see them remain efficient against a better defense (and that opportunity won't happen this weekend against Central Arkansas).

6. USC (1-0, 0-0)
 While watching USC's offense I felt like they were suffocating me with boredom. While watching USC's defense I felt like they were suffocating Hawai'i. USC flew to the ball like wild animals, rushed the passer like angry hounds and forced five turnovers. USC needs to pick a quarterback and get their offense in gear quickly because I'm not convinced the defense will get the same results down the road.

7. Arizona (1-0, 0-0)
There are no takeaways from Arizona's game against Northern Arizona. They used a vanilla game plan against a hopeless team and won a game that literally put me to sleep. I'll at least put them ahead of the teams that lost because a win is a win but I want to get a better idea for Arizona's identity before I stick to putting them anywhere.

8. Cal (0-1, 0-0)
There was a lot of good and bad I saw from Cal against Northwestern. The good is they have a lot of plus talent on offense and their defense can play with physicality and get some quality stops. The bad is that the offense despite being talented and productive, was highly mistake prone and the defense couldn't get a stop late when they absolutely needed it.

9. Washington State (0-1, 0-0)
I was impressed by how Wazzou's D-line controlled the game and I thought QB Connor Haliday made a number of really impressive throws. But, Haliday was also wildly erratic and probably should have committed six or seven turnovers (and the three picks that were actually caught by Auburn's defense were bad enough). Wazzou needs to be more efficient and careful with the ball.

10. Oregon State (0-1, 0-0)
Look Beavers, your offense looked just fine but you can't surrender 625 yards to anyone let alone an FCS team. This loss might keep you down here for awhile.

11. (tie) Arizona State and Stanford (0-0, 0-0)
These two teams did not play last weekend and since these rankings are solely based on what I've seen on the field, then these two teams must be put at the bottom until they actually play a game.

The Award Tracker:

Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year:
1. WR Paul Richardson, Jr., Colorado
Even when Colorado State tried to double cover Richardson he still got open. Richardson caught 10 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns. His first score went for 82 yards on the second play from scrimmage and his second was from 75 yards and iced the game with 3:36 remaining. Through one week, Richardson is the nation's leading receiver.

2. RB Bishop Sankey, Jr., Washington
Sankey ran over, around and through what had been a highly thought of Boise State defense for 161 yards and a pair of scores on 25 carries. Sankey was the center piece of a very impressive night offensively for the Huskies.

3. QB Sean Mannion, Jr., Oregon State
Even in the midst of an embarrassing loss, you can have one player have an amazing game and rise above that defeat on an individual basis. For OSU, that one man was Mannion who completed 37 of 43 passes for 422 yards and three touchdowns. Mannion was one of only 12 quarterbacks to have a passer efficiency rating greater than 190 on opening weekend.

Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year:
1. DE Nate Orchard, Jr., Utah
Orchard was in Utah State's back field all night last Thursday and finished with eight tackles (seven solo), three tackles for loss, a sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.

2. S Tra'Mayne Bondurant, Jr., Arizona
It may have been only Northern Arizona but Bondurant made several tremendous plays on the ball and finished with two interceptions and two passes defended which was enough to make him Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week (although I obviously disagree and think Orchard should have received the honor).

3. S Deone Bucannon, Sr., Washington State
Bucannon set the tone early and often for a great defensive effort by the Cougars and finished with 14 tackles (tied for most in the Pac-12) and forced a fumble. He was everywhere on Saturday.

Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year:
1. QB Jared Goff, Cal
He may be a true freshman but after one week, Goff is the Pac-12 leader in total offense at 427 yards and he did it against a very good defense. This system will allow him to put up huge numbers and I'm betting he'll get better as the year goes along anyway. It's going to be very hard for anyone else to win this award.

2. RB Justin Davis, USC
With the Trojans top two running backs Silas Redd and D.J. Morgan out with injuries, Davis took advantage of his opportunity and rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. Davis showed an impressive blend of power and speed but I fear his opportunities will begin to disappear once the Trojans backfield gets healthy.

3. RB Paul Perkins, UCLA
You can probably tell it was slim pickings for offensive freshmen in the conference this week. That's normally par for the course as young players typically struggle to get consistent playing time and opportunities in the early portion of their freshman season. Perkins didn't get a lot of opportunities but he did a lot with them as he gained 55 yards from scrimmage on five touches. Mind you most of that came on one really impressive 46 yard run but he also punched one into the endzone.

Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year:
1. LB Addison Gilliam, Colorado
It seemed like there were two Addison Gilliams on the field on Sunday against Colorado State because Gilliam was seemingly in on every play for the Buffs. Gilliam finished with 14 total tackles with two tackles for a loss, a sack, and a pass break up. Gilliam has the look of future star in this league as he posses the size, athleticism, and instincts to one day be an All-Conference performer.

2. LB Torrodney Prevot, Oregon
Playing time will be an issue for Prevot all season as he has a number of great players ahead of him but he made the most of his opportunities by recording five tackles including a sack and a forced fumble. he was used mostly as a situational player on third and long but when he was on the field, he was unblockable.

3. LB Myles Jack, UCLA
Jack is another guy who currently sits behind better and more proven players but he also did well with his limited reps as he recorded eight tackles (six solo) with one tackle for a loss and a couple pass breakups. It will take a lot for him to steal reps from Eric Kendricks and Jordan Zumwalt this season and he is a little undersized right now but he has the athleticism and play making ability to be a star very quickly.

Pac-12 Coach of the Year*
1. Mac MacIntyre, Colorado
If National Coach of the Year honors were based on one game it would go to MacIntyre. the 2012 Buffs were pitiful, mistake prone, undisciplined, and completely lacking confidence. The Buffs we say on Sunday were an entirely different team. Coach Mac certainly earned his paycheck in the offseason.

2. Steve Sarkisian, Washington
Sark's decision to dump his methodical pro-style offensive system in favor of an up tempo spread that better suited his players was a stroke of genius and it might just save his job.

3. Kyle Wittingham, Utah
The character and attitude that it takes to come back from a two possession deficit comes from the leader and for Utah, their unquestioned leader is Wittingham. Coach Whitt's decision to pull a surprise onside kick with a true freshman kicker was a gutsy gamble and it turned the game in Utah's favor.

*Because so much of the criteria for Coach of the Year is based on recent history and the award often goes to the coach who performs the biggest one year turnaround, I am using previous seasons to influence my Coach of the Year Tracker.

No comments:

Post a Comment