With the first week of Pac-12 games in the books all I had hoped for was some real clarity. But instead we get a week where Utah and UCLA both lose two games while the Washington Huskies jump up to win two in a row. Once again only Arizona remains the only Top-25 ranked team from the conference. Here’s a look at my power rankings where as always, arguments can be made across the board
1. Arizona (13-1)
The Wildcats retain their top spot after only playing one game this week against the rival Sun Devils. Arizona State kept this one close until Bobby Hurley had a complete meltdown at the end of the game. Arizona just gets tougher with the returning Kaleb Tarczewski.
2. California (12-3)
The young Golden Bears make their shot up the rankings thanks to a two-win week over the mountain schools. The games were at home but they still knocked off both Utah and Colorado by double-digit margins. Averaging near 80 points per game, this offense is a fun one to watch.
3. Oregon State (10-2)
I’ve been hesitant to place the Beavers higher in the rankings earlier due to a lack of a marquee win but it looks like they finally grabbed on in the Civil War. Sure, the Ducks did a lot of the damage to themselves but the Beavers looked quite good. The scariest thing about them is that the freshman seem to be coming along quite nicely.
4. Oregon (11-3)
If only Dana Altman could petition the Pac-12 to play the rest of the games at home. So far we have seen such a different team on the road than we have at home, as evidenced by the three losses. The talent is undoubtedly there, just waiting for it to stick together for good. Huge chance tonight to gain momentum with California coming to town.
5. Washington (10-4)
Looking at it with a fresh eye each week, it’s the Huskies who deserved the biggest jump thanks to their two wins. Both were squeakers as the total victory margin was five points, but take your Pac-12 victories if you can. Only thing holding Washington back this week was the non-conference loss right before Pac-12 play.
6. Utah (11-4)
That thud you hear is Utah dropping out of the Top-25 yet again this season thanks to back-to-back road losses to Stanford and California. I’m just not sure that Jakob Poeltl has enough help this season to bring the Utes back to the top of the conference.
7. Colorado (12-3)
California found a way to blow past the tough Buffaloes defense as they lit them up for near 80 to begin the week. Colorado made a nice recovery though as they held on for a 56-55 victory over Stanford. This will be one of those very solid conference teams who struggle against guard dominated teams but do well against the bigger teams thanks to their own size.
8. UCLA (9-6)
The epic roller coaster the Bruins are on continues, as we’re still not sure which team will show up. UCLA went up to Washington and fell in both matchups. The Huskies loss was a tough one as it was in double overtime, but the Washington State loss by seven deserves a major knock.
9. USC (12-3)
Things looked good to start the week as the offensive power pushed the Trojans to a 13 point victory in Pullman. Had it not been for a heartbreaker in Seattle, the Trojans would still be right up there. In the first two Pac-12 games, USC is averaging 87.5 points per game.
10. Stanford (8-5)
The Cardinal were another one of those teams involved in real tight games this week. Stanford knocked off Utah by two in overtime and then fell by just one point to Colorado. Another real tough week ahead as they travel to the Oregon schools.
11. Arizona State (10-4)
As I mentioned earlier, the Sun Devils gave Arizona a good run until the end of the game got away from them. Two road games this week against the Southern California schools provide Bobby Hurley and his squad a good chance for their first conference win.
12. Washington State (9-5)
Well at least the Cougars got a Pac-12 win. Unfortunately for Washington State that win comes over the up and down UCLA Bruins and after an earlier loss to USC by 13. A win in the Apple Cup this weekend can help prove that the win over the Bruins wasn’t just a fluke at home.
Now, for a look at the big games in the week ahead:
Wed. Jan. 6th: California at Oregon
Thur. Jan. 7th: Arizona at UCLA
Fri. Jan. 8th: Utah at Colorado
Sat. Jan. 9th: Washington at Washington State