Tuesday, 10 September 2013

2013 Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week Two

1. Washington (1-0, 0-0, Last Week: 1)
Despite a week off, UW's win over Boise State in week one is still more impressive than any other scalps the rest of the conference has hanging on the wall. The Huskies have another chance to make a huge statement when they face Illinois at Soldier Field in Chicago on Saturday.

2. Oregon (2-0, 0-0, LW: 3)
Oregon's box score looked very impressive following a 59-10 win on the road against Virginia but if you watched the game you know Oregon played very sloppy and committed a number of silly mental errors. I want to see the Ducks clean things up a bit and get another dominant win, this time over Tennessee before I put them at the top.

3. Stanford (1-0, 0-0, LW: 11)
Stanford was overpowering defensively and was very efficient on offense with a very productive ground attack. Kevin Hogan wasn't the most impressive QB I've ever seen but he was very good on play action and did not make any crippling mistakes. Things don't get much harder as the Cardinal face Army next week, a team whose offensive line weighs in at an average of just 245 pounds.

4. UCLA (1-0, 0-0, LW: 3)
Like Washington, the Bruins took the week off but their blowout win over Nevada from week one was enough to keep them near the top ahead of a huge road showdown against Nebraska.

5. Utah (2-0, 0-0, LW: 4)
The Utes faced a joke of a team in Weber State but the offense appears to be no gag at all. After an impressive week one from QB Travis Wilson, the Utah passing game looked even better against Weber State, throwing deep with ease and ringing up 70 points.

6. Arizona State (1-0, 0-0, LW: 11)
ASU opened up the season with a convincing 55-0 win over hapless Sacramento State. You can't learn too much from playing against a bad team but ASU's team speed was very impressive, the defensive front looked about as good as Stanford's, and the offense was explosive behind an incredibly efficient night from QB Taylor Kelly, a few explosive plays from star tailback Marion Grice, and an impressive debut for highly touted WR Jaelen Strong. The Sun Devils will need to look every bit as good for their marque game against Wisconsin.

7. Arizona (2-0, 0-0, LW: 7)
Arizona played another meaningless opponent and got a 58-13 win but I'm starting to think the 'Cats defense might be pretty good after all. They won't hold any Pac-12 teams to 13 points (well other than USC of course), but the aggressiveness, speed, and play making ability Arizona has shown in these first two weeks is definitely replicable against quality teams. On offense, the passing game isn't getting any better but its great to see Ka'Deem Carey back on the field and not missing a beat at running back.

8. Colorado (2-0, 0-0, LW: 5)
The good news for the Buffs is they started strong (14-0 over first 19 minutes) and finished strong (21-0 over final 14 minutes). The bad news is the Buffs struggled in the middle portion by committing a number of errors (four turnovers) and giving up yet another long return on special teams. A win is a win and Colorado did look impressive when it mattered and that is certainly more than you can say for the teams below them. The Buffs will have a chance to show exactly how good they are when a high quality Fresno State team comes to Boulder on Saturday.
9. California (1-1, 0-0, LW: 8)
Cal got the first win of the Sonny Dykes era but it was not pretty. The Bears gave up 324 yard in the first half to Portland State and although the offense was turnover free, they struggled to convert third downs and couldn't sustain drives in key spots late in the game. Twice Cal had the ball with a touchdown lead in the 4th and had a chance to seal the game with a score. Both times the Cal drive petered out because of sloppy execution and they left the door open for Portland State to pull the upset. The Bears need to be a lot sharper in key situations if they are to have any hope of upsetting Ohio State this weekend.

10. Washington State (1-1, 1-0, LW: 9)
The Cougars have won consecutive conference games for the first time since 2006 but their win over USC was hardly a Picasso. The Cougars defense again looked great particularly the defensive line but the offense is becoming a huge concern. the Cougars rushed for a grand total of seven yards and QB Connor Halliday has looked very poor in both games this year. Halliday is completing only 59% of his passes and averaging just 5.4 yards per attempt. Most importantly, Halliday has thrown five interceptions and only one touchdown in two games. Mike Leach might have to make a tough decision on his QB pretty soon.

11. Oregon State (1-1, 0-0, LW: 10)
the Beavers looked a lot better, especially on defense against Hawaii but a lack of discipline and focus is still evident with this team. Sean Mannion to Brandin Cooks might be the best QB-WR combo in the conference right now but the Beavers might need those two to play even better in conference play.

12. USC (1-1, 0-1, LW: 6)
USC did not allow an offensive touchdown and lost. USC allowed seven rushing yards and lost. USC allowed 222 total yards and lost. USC forced three turnovers and lost. That is because the Trojans quarterbacks passed for just 54 yards, threw two back breaking interceptions, and didn't complete a pass longer than eight yards. An offensive performance that pitiful wasting a defensive effort that good will land you at the bottom every time.

The Award Tracker:

Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year:
1. QB Comax Kesstek, So., USC
HAHAHAHAHAH, just kidding. I only wanted to make sure you were paying attention.

1. WR Paul Richardson, Jr., Colorado (LW: 1)
There have been a total of five 200 yard receiving performances in Colorado football history. Three of them belong to Richardson and two have happened in the two games so far this year. Richardson is now tied for second in the nation in receptions (21), leading in yards (417), and tied for first in touchdowns (4).

2. QB Marcus Mariota, So., Oregon (LW: NR)
Mariota has been alright as a passer, throwing for 433 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions in two games. It's Mariota's rushing numbers that are mind blowing. He has racked up 235 yards and three touchdowns on just nine carries this season, that's a 26.1 yards per carry average kids. His rushing numbers aren't sustainable but his passing started to come around in the second half against Virginia.

3. QB Sean Mannion, Jr., Oregon State (LW: 3)
Mannion is second in the nation in passing yards and his 79.1 completion percentage is tops among players with at least 80 pass attempts. He has seven touchdowns and only one interception through two games but a low level of competition and lack of contribution to the run game keeps him behind Mariota for now.

Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year:
1. S Tra'Mayne Bondurant, Jr., Arizona (LW: 2)
Bondurant had another huge game as he scored a pick-six for the second week in a row and now has three interceptions on the season. like Mariota above, Bondurant's numbers aren't sustainable but he has shown himself to be one of the most athletic and explosive defensive backs in college football.

2. DE Nate Orchard, Jr., Utah (LW: 1)
Orchard had a quiet week along with most of Utah's starters as he was on the bench for the entire second half in a 70-7 rout of Weber State. Orchard did well with his limited time though and is still leading the conference with 3.5 tackles for loss.

3. S Dion Bailey, Jr., USC (LW: NR)
Bailey has been very impressive as the centerpiece to USC's defensive backfield recording a conference best 14 solo tackles and hauling in a pair of interceptions.

Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year:
1. QB Jared Goff, Cal
He has hardly been mistake free and Sonny Dykes system has definitely inflated his numbers somewhat but it is impossible to ignore someone who is leading the nation in passing yards.

2. RB Khalfani Muhammad, Cal
After a quiet first week with just three carries for eight yards and one reception for 15 yards, Muhammad broke out in week two. He tallied 68 yards and his first career touchdown on 13 rushing attempts and picked up 85 receiving yards on four catches. Brenden Bigelow is still the feature back for the Bears but Muhammad will be a key piece in the Cal offense all year.

3. RB Thomas Tyner, Oregon
Tyner was held out of the opener last week after missing too much practice following a minor injury but he showed what the hype surrounding him is all about when he debuted against Virginia. Tyner came into the game in the 4th quarter and scored a touchdown on his first career touch. He finished with 51 yards and a pair of scores on only four carries and showed off his impressive blend of size and speed. Tyner's role will increase as the year goes on and he may find himself getting 20 touches a game if Byron Marshall continues to struggle.

Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year:
1. LB Addison Gilliam, Colorado
Gilliam's numbers weren't as eye-popping as his opening week but he still flew all over the field and is quickly emerging as a leader for the Buffs and one of the Pac-12's finest linebackers. He is currently third in the Pac-12 in total tackles, only two off the pace.

2. DB Daquawn Brown, Washignton State
Brown opened some eyes with a big game against USC as he tallied 11 tackes and a pair of pass break ups. Brown has 15 tackles on the season which is second to only Gilliam among conference freshmen.

3. LB Myles Jack, UCLA
Jack and UCLA had the week off but his performance in week one was still more impressive than any other performance by a freshman defender this season outside of Gilliam.

Pac-12 Coach of the Year*
1. Mac MacIntyre, Colorado (LW: 1)
2. Steve Sarkisian, Washington (LW: 2)
3. Kyle Wittingham, Utah (LW: 3)

There wasn't much that happened last week to change my opinions about any coaches in a positive manner, so I'm going to take a knee on this award and wait for the results of next weeks huge games before I make any changes.

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