Pac-12 power ratings: Washington, USC, Utah on top after a perfect weekend for all

Colorado and Cal are higher than we would have expected after impressive openers

The Pac-12 finished the first full week of play with more victories without a loss than any conference since at least 1980, according to OptaSTATS.

With USC’s victory in Week 0, the conference has 13 wins to date, breaking the Big Ten’s previous record of 11 wins and no losses set in 2006.

As a result, an undefeated team will finish last in the Hotline’s inaugural power ratings for the 2023 season.

Here we go…

1. Washington (1-0)

Boise State was defeated 56-19. Next up: Tulsa. The players aren’t supposed to look ahead, but there’s nothing to stop the Hotline from doing so. This is what we see: Michigan State opened the season with a 31-7 victory over Central Michigan and will play Richmond this week. When the Huskies visit on Sept. 16, the Spartans should be 2-0 but unranked.

2. USC (2-0)

Nevada was defeated 66-14. Up next: vs. Stanford. Comment: Let’s stop comparing a freshman receiver with two games under his belt (Zachariah Branch) to the Pac-12’s greatest playmaker in the last half-century (Reggie Bush).

3. Utah (1-0)

Florida was defeated 24-11. Next stop: Baylor. Comment: Utah was very Utah in destroying Florida, and the fact that everyone knows exactly what being Utah means speaks volumes about Kyle Whittingham’s program’s lofty state.

4. Oregon (1-0)

81-7 victory over Portland State Next stop: Texas Tech. In case you missed it, Texas Tech blew a 17-0 lead at Wyoming on Saturday and lost in overtime. So, if you’re looking for the luster that was suddenly missing from Oregon’s Week 2 matchup, look no further than Laramie.

5. Oregon State (1-0)

Result: 42-17 victory over San Jose State Up next: UC Davis. Comment: Possibly insignificant observation: San Jose State scored 28 points and gained 396 yards against USC in Week 1, but only 17 points and gained 279 yards against Oregon State at home on Sunday.

6. Colorado (1-0)

TCU was defeated 45-42. Next up: a game against Nebraska. Comment: The Buffaloes aren’t ranked first because we don’t think TCU is very good. In fact, we’re not convinced the Horned Frogs are any good. Having said that, the Buffaloes are ranked four or five spots higher than we anticipated (and should crack the AP top-25 poll).

7. Washington State (1-0)State

Colorado State was defeated 50-24. Up next: vs. Wisconsin. Comment: 50 points from the Cougars in the season opener in Fort Collins was not on our Week 1 bingo card. The offensive line will determine the outcome of the season. And it looks better after a week. Not great, but much better.

8. Cal (1-0)

58-21 victory over North Texas Next up: a game against Auburn. Comment: It’s entirely possible that starting quarterback Sam Jackson’s injury allowed the Bears to identify their best quarterback: backup Ben Finley, who spent three seasons at N.C. State and was outstanding in relief Saturday afternoon.

9. UCLA (1-0)

Coastal Carolina was defeated 27-14. Next stop: San Diego State. Comment: We’re not impressed with the Bruins, who clearly spent their summer at the Herm Edwards School of Five-Yard Motion Penalties (which is based in Provo, in case you’re wondering). We counted six offsides violations on our own.

10. Arizona (1-0)

NAU was defeated 38-3 as a result. Next stop: Mississippi State. Comment: The first three points in the final score were not what drew our attention. The second three make us wonder if a turnaround is actually underway. The defense only needs to be good for the Wildcats to make the playoffs.

11. Stanford (1-0)

The game was won 37-24 in Hawaii. Next stop: USC. The only thing more startling than watching Stanford’s quarterback (Ashton Daniels) carry the ball 11 times was realizing that many of the attempts were intentional — and not just Daniels running for his life behind a porous line.

12. Arizona State (1-0)

Southern Utah was defeated 24-21. Next up: a game against Oklahoma State. Comment: The Sun Devils get a pass for their shaky performance after being caught off guard by the bowl ban. A repeat performance this week, however, will not suffice for the tenacious Dillinghams.

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