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SI Pac-12 Football Power Rankings: OSU, WSU Earn Respect, Climb in our Poll

USC remains No. 1, Cal inches up one spot to No. 9 heading to Notre Dame this week.

USC maintained its grip on the top spot in the SI Pac-12 Football Power Rankings, but there was movement among teams determined to move up the ladder.

Our Week 3 poll of seven writers who cover Pac-12 schools in the SI network moved Oregon State from No. 5 to 3, Washington State from No. 7 to 5 and Cal from No. 10 to 9.

The Beavers were rewarded for their come-from-behind 35-32 victory at Fresno State while WSU climbed in the wake of traveling to Madison and knocking off then-No. 19 Wisconsin 17-14. That performance was enough for Jake Curtis to give the Cougars his first-place vote.

Those two Pac-12 schools were given a boost through the quality of their opponent. Voters reacted to Oregon’s 70-14 rout of FCS foe Eastern Washington by dropping the 1-1 Ducks from No. 5 in our rankings to No. 7.

Cal inched up one spot by staying undefeated with a 20-14 win over visiting UNLV. Depending on how the Bears compete Saturday at Notre Dame, they would experience upward mobility a week from now.

USSC improved to 2-0 with a decisive 41-28 victory at Stanford.

Week 3 - SI Pac-12 Football Power Rankings

1. USC 2-0 (5) . . . 82 votes

2. Utah 1-1 (1) . . . 74

3. Oregon State . . . 62

4. UCLA 2-0 . . . 61

5. Washington State 2-0 (1) . . . 58

6. Washington 2-0 . . . 52

7. Oregon 1-1 . . . 51

8. Stanford 1-1 . . . 28

9. Cal 2-0 . . . 27

10. Arizona 1-1 . . . 23

11. Arizona State 1-1 . . . 21

12. Colorado 0-2 . . . 7


1. Washington State, 2. USC. 3. Oregon State, 4. UCLA, 5. Washington, 6. Utah, 7. Oregon, 8. Cal, 9, Arizona, 10. Stanford. 11. Arizona State. 12. Colorado

Comment: If you look at results and not preseason expectations, which team has had the best results? WSU beat a ranked team (Wisconsin) on the road. No other Pac-12 team has done that. The only certainty in these rankings is that Colorado is last.


1. USC; 2. Utah; 3. Washington State; 4. Oregon State; 5. UCLA; 6. Oregon; 7. Washington; 8. Stanford; 9. Arizona State; 10. Arizona; 11. Cal; 12. Colorado

Comment: Oregon bounced back in a big way and looked even better than I anticipated against Eastern Washington. That being said, hanging 70 on an FCS school isn't anything to write home about and their Pac-12 trajectory will become much clearer when they face No. 12 BYU this week in a much more difficult and physical game. Their conference opener against Washington State looks all the more intriguing after the Cougs upset Wisconsin on the road.


1. USC; 2. Utah; 3. UCLA; 4. Oregon State; 5. Oregon; 6. Washington; 7. Washington State; 8. Arizona; 9. Stanford; 10. Cal; 11. Arizona State; 12. Colorado

Comment: Not a lot of movement this time around, but USC did seem to solidify itself as the best team in the conference right now. Stanford, on the other hand, has a very early bye week in which it will look to get some key people healthy, and prepare for Washington next week.


1. USC; 2. Utah; 3. UCLA; 4. Washington; 5. Oregon; 6. Oregon State; 7. Washington State; 8. Cal; 9. Arizona State; 10. Arizona; 11. Stanford; 12. Colorado

Comment: Outside of the Trojans, the rest of the supposed top-tier teams in the conference played and defeated a bunch of cupcakes last weekend. That gave Oregon State, Washington State and Cal a chance to assert themselves as teams to take seriously, and they each did just that. Wins over Wisconsin, Fresno State and UNLV show how the Pac-12 has improved from last year – even if they were offset slightly by Arizona and Arizona State's losses to Mississippi State and Oklahoma State – and the middle of the pack could prove to be more disruptive than initially thought.


1. USC; 2. Utah; 3. Oregon State; 4. Oregon; 5. Washington State; 6. UCLA; 7. Stanford; 8. Washington; 9. Arizona; 10. Arizona State; 11. Cal; Colorado.

Comment: Utah bounced back nicely with a strong win against a weaker opponent. Stanford gave USC a decent fight in the second half, but USC is still the team to beat in this conference. Oregon State is starting to put it together; don’t be surprised if they find themselves in the AP Top 25 soon.


1. Utah; 2. USC; 3. UCLA; 4. Washington; 5. Oregon State; 6. Oregon; 7. Washington State; 8. Cal; 9. Stanford; 10. Arizona State; 11. Arizona; 12. Colorado

Comment: Not much changed from the previous week. USC has firepower, but the defense is unproven. Washington still may be a dark horse and Oregon somewhat bounced back. More conference matchups will tell us what we really need to know.


1. USC; 2. Utah 1-1; 3. Washington State 2-0; 4. Oregon State 2-0; 5. Washington 2-0; 6. UCLA 2-0; 7. Oregon 1-1; 8. Cal 2-0; 9. Stanford 1-1; 10. Arizona State 1-1; 11. Arizona 1-1; 12. Colorado 0-2.

Comment: We've come to a Kalen DeBoer crossroads with the Huskies hosting Michigan State and tasked with showing whether or not they can score at will against a Big Ten team. Or beat one by a field goal, such as WSU did. Considering the Big Ten's pilfering of USC and UCLA, these are statement games now.

.Cover photo of Oregon State running back Jack Colletto celebrating the winning touchdown against Fresno State by Cary Edmondson, USA Today

Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo