How perfect is this?
Cal and Washington, both 1-2 and coming off victories vs. overmatched opponents, are tied for No. 8 in our latest SI Pac-12 Football Power Rankings as they prepare to clash on Saturday evening in Seattle.
Well sure, the Pac-12 opener would be far more intriguing were both combatants undefeated.
Neither team is where it wants to be — either in terms of its record or its standing in our poll, which compiles ballots from six writers who cover the Pac-12 for the SI team site network.
The Bears and Huskies will resolve this debate on the field, where Cal has prevailed in their past two meetings. In their most recent matchup, the Bears won 20-19 in a game that featured a two-hour, 39-minute lightning delay and ended at 1:23 a.m.,
Oregon, the league’s only remaining unbeaten team and now No. 3 in the AP Top-25, sits unanimously atop our rankings for the second straight week. The Ducks own the Pac-12’s best victory (on the road vs. Ohio State) and have no blemishes on their resume.
Stanford, which has road wins over USC and Vanderbilt, climbs to No. 2, although few of our voters seem comfortable with this. For now, the Cardinal’s on-field performance warrants this spot.
UCLA, which coughed up what should have been a victory over Fresno State, slips one spot to No. 3, just above cross-town rival USC, which overcame an injury to star quarterback Kedon Slovis and crushed host Washington State.
SI PAC-12 FOOTBALL POWER RANKINGS
1. Oregon (6) 3-0 72 points
2. Stanford 2-1 65
3. UCLA 2-1 58
4. USC 2-1 55
5. Arizona State 2-1 47
6. Oregon State 2-1 35
7. Utah 1-2 34
8t. Cal 1-2 30
8t. Washington 1-2 30
10. Colorado 1-2 23
11. Washington State 1-2 14
12. Arizona 0-3 6
DONNIE DRUIN, ALL SUN DEVILS
1. Oregon; 2. Stanford; 3. USC; 4. Arizona State; 5. UCLA; 6. Oregon State; 7. Colorado; 8. Utah; 9. Cal; 10. Washington; 11. Washington State; 12. Arizona
Comment: Not a great outing by the Pac-12 over the weekend. I don't feel great about Stanford being at two and that will likely change, but UCLA/ASU falling over the weekend propel them there. I think USC may have found their elixir in Jaxson Dart.
JAKE CURTIS, CAL SPORTS REPORT
1. Oregon; 2. Stanford; 3. UCLA; 4. USC; 5. Arizona State; 6. Utah; 7. Oregon State; 8. Washington; 9. Cal; 10. Colorado; 11. Washington State; 12. Arizona
Comment: It’s Oregon and everyone else. Stanford’s results don’t warrant a No. 2 ranking, but based on how the Cardinal is playing with Tanner McKee as its quarterback, Stanford looks like the second-best team right now.
MAX TORRES, DUCKS DIGEST
1. Oregon; 2. UCLA; 3. Stanford; 4. USC; 5. Arizona State; 6. Utah; 7. Cal; 8. Colorado; 9. Oregon State; 10. Washington; 11. Washington State; 12. Arizona
Comment: These first three weeks of football show part of the reason why the Pac-12 is viewed as such a weak conference nationally. The Pac-12 really didn't do itself many favors in the non-conference slate, with only one team escaping unscathed with an undefeated record. The No. 2 spot is getting more highly contested, but I still give UCLA the edge after losing to a talented and gritty Fresno State team.
SAM CONNON, ALL BRUINS
1. Oregon; 2. Stanford; 3. UCLA; 4. Arizona State; 5. USC; 6. Oregon State; 7. Utah; 8. Cal; 9. Washington; 10. Colorado; 11. Washington State; 12. Arizona
Comment: UCLA and Arizona State really fumbled the bag Saturday, in terms of what they could have done for the Pac-12. BYU and Fresno State are good teams, but losing those games cost the conference a pair of undefeated teams and added a couple more non-Power Five losses to the list this year. They weren't embarrassing enough to throw the rest of their seasons away, but they don't have as much momentum as Stanford at this point.
CLAUDETTE MONTANA PATTISON, ALL TROJANS
1. Oregon; 2. Stanford; 3. USC; 4. UCLA; 5. Washington; 6. Oregon State; 7. Cal; 8. Arizona State; 9. Washington State; 10. Utah; 11. Colorado; 12. Arizona
Comment: The USC Trojans jump the list slightly after a comeback victory over the Washington State Cougars. The UCLA Bruins drop following a disappointing, but well fought loss to Fresno State at home.
DAN RALEY, HUSKY MAVEN
1. Oregon; 2. Stanford; 3. UCLA; 4. USC; 5. Arizona State; 6. Washington; 7. Utah; 8. Cal; 9. Oregon State; 10. Colorado; 11. Washington State; 12. Arizona
Comment: We know who has the best win in the Pac-12, giving those Buckeyes a black eye. OK, name the worst lost? Washington to Montana? USC to Stanford? Stanford to K-State? Well, UCLA joins that mix by being unable to stop Fresno State with 55 seconds to go. It’s the Ducks and everybody else.
Cover photo of Washington coach Jimmy Lake by Joe Nicholson, USA Today
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo