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Pac-12 power rankings: Stanford moves past UW, takes over top spot

Right now, on a neutral field, Stanford beats Washington. But the Huskies have more room to improve over the six weeks before they collide in Seattle.

Get ready for roster news across the Pac-12 conference, and loads of it — this week and over the next month.

From a personnel perspective, we’ve reached the first of two important points in the Pac-12 football season:

  • Under new NCAA rules, players are allowed to participate in four games without losing the year of eligibility.

Eight of the 12 teams just crossed the threshold, with the other four doing so this week.

Any players who don’t participate in a fifth game retain the ability to redshirt in 2018, so long as they have not previously done so.

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Pay close attention to who’s not on the field the next two Saturdays. Undoubtedly, some of those players will consider transferring.

(That works both ways: Players from other conferences could very well land in the Pac-12.)

Which brings us to the second key date:

  • Oct. 15 marks the start of a new era for transfers. They can leave without restriction, without needed the permission of the the coach.

Combine the closing of the redshirt window with the opening of the transfer market, and plenty of players will do some deep thinking the next few weeks.

To the rankings …

  1. Stanford (4-0/2-0)
    Last week: 2
    Result: Won at Oregon 38-31 (OT)
    Next up: at Notre Dame
    Comment: Right now, on a neutral field, Stanford beats Washington. But the Huskies have more room to improve over the six weeks before they collide in Seattle.
  2. Washington (3-1/2-0)
    Last week: 1
    Result: Beat Arizona State 27-20
    Next up: vs. Brigham Young
    Comment: Might as well mark (in ink) 27-20 or 24-14 as the final score of every UW game, with only the ID of the victor in doubt. As currently constructed, the Huskies don’t have the personnel to win 45-10.
  3. Oregon (3-1/0-1)
    Last week: 3
    Result: Lost to Stanford 38-31 (OT)
    Next up: at California
    Comment: In Eugene, they will be talking about (and brooding over) that loss for a long, long time. If the Ducks themselves haven’t already forgotten about it, they’re in deep trouble in Berkeley.
  4. California (3-0/0-0)
    Last week: 4
    Result: Bye
    Next up: vs. Oregon
    Comment: Circumstances couldn’t have unfolded any better for the rested Bears, who are lying in wait for the staggering Ducks. The last Oregon visit to Berkeley featured 101 points and 1,100 yards. Look for half those totals this time.
  5. Colorado (3-0/0-0)
    Last week: 5
    Result: Bye
    Next up: vs. UCLA (Friday)
    Comment: The division is there for the taking, but the Buffs cannot afford to lose a game they should win. The next two, UCLA and ASU — both at home — qualify as games a division champ should win.
  6. USC (2-2/1-1)
    Last week: 9
    Result: Beat Washington State 39-36
    Next up: at Arizona
    Comment: USC’s national rankings: No. 107 in yards per rush (3.61), No. 117 in rushing yards per game (110.3) and No. 122 in attempts per game (30.5). It’s like the Trojans have become …
  7. Washington State (3-1/0-1)
    Last week: 7
    Result: Lost at USC 39-36
    Next up: vs. Utah
    Comment: Hard not to be impressed with Gardner Minshew’s performance, but I wonder how the coming chess match will unfold between WSU and opposing defenses with all tactics on display each week.
  8. Arizona State (2-2/0-1)
    Last week: 6
    Result: Lost at Washington 27-20
    Next up: vs. Oregon State
    Comment: Trap-game alert for the Sun Devils after two tough road losses and with a big trip to Boulder next week — sorry, I meant gargantuan. But their opponent has no teeth. We’ll take Eno Benjamin over 175 yards.
  9. Arizona (2-2/1-0)
    Last week: 10
    Result: Won at Oregon State 35-14
    Next up: vs. USC
    Comment: Houston? What about Houston? It’s like those three hours on the Gulf never happened … almost. The lone lingering issue, Khalil Tate’s tweaked ankle, is significant this week against USC’s QB-hunting edge rushers.
  10. Utah (2-1/0-1)
    Last week: 8
    Result: Bye
    Next up: at Washington State
    Comment: With no Week 4 result to divert our attention, the Utes’ performance against Washington has gotten more gruesome in the mind’s eye. Fascinated to see what changes, if any, the bye week has brought.
  11. Oregon State (1-3/0-1)
    Last week: 11
    Result: Lost to Arizona 35-14
    Next up: at Arizona State
    Comment: That was one giant 8.7-yards-per-carry-allowed dose of reality, wasn’t it?
  12. UCLA (0-3/0-0)
    Last week: 12
    Result: Bye
    Next up: at Colorado (Friday)
    Comment: Chip Kelly dubbed the bye “Improvement Week.” We hear the other options considered were “Thank Goodness We Don’t Have To Play Week” and “Maybe Everyone Will Forget How Bad We Looked Week.”

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