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Pac-12 Power Rankings: USC, Oregon squeak out wins against previously unbeaten league foes

On3 Staff Report09/26/22
Article written by:On3 imageOn3 Staff Report

Despite five conference games taking place this weekend, we have very little movement in the Week 4 Pac-12 Power Rankings, an indicator our previous edition was pretty accurate after the first handful of games this season.

The headliner was USC surviving in a tight road contest at Oregon State in a matchup of unbeatens. Oregon also managed to down Washington State in another game decided by just a field goal, while Washington topped Stanford convincingly to remain unbeaten.

Let’s go ahead and take a closer look at the results this week.

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Today we update the Pac-12 Power Rankings following Week 4 games.

2022 Pac-12 Power Rankings – Week 4

  1. USC

The opportunistic defense for the Trojans continues to produce takeaways, and it needed every one of the four it came away with in a 17-14 win over the Beavers. Quarterback Caleb Williams wasn’t nearly as sharp as he has been, going 16-of-36 passing for 180 yards with just one touchdown. But USC clutched up late and has now produced 14 takeaways without turning it over this season. That +14 turnover margin leads the nation by a whopping five just four weeks in (Louisiana, UNLV: +9).

  1. Utah

The Utes turned in another well-balanced effort in a 34-13 win over Herm Edwards-less Arizona State. Utah totaled 465 yards (260 through the air and 205 on the ground) as it limited Arizona State to just 267. The Sun Devils turned it over three times and were never really in the game. Next up for Utah is a game against an Oregon State team that just pushed league leader USC to the wire.

  1. Oregon

In a wild game on Saturday, Oregon survived with a furious fourth-quarter rally in a 44-41 win over Washington State. The Ducks got more of good Bo Nix than bad Bo Nix, though he did throw a pick-six in the contest. But Nix got the job done in the fourth quarter with a go-ahead touchdown, and Oregon essentially sealed the deal shortly after with a pick-six with 1:01 to go. Nix went 33-of-44 passing for 428 yards and three touchdowns with the one interception.

  1. Washington

Washington walked away with another relatively easy win on Saturday, leading 30-7 going into the fourth quarter before Stanford scored a late 15 points in a 40-22 loss. Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. was very good again, throwing for 309 yards and two more touchdowns without an interception. He’s now got a 12-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio this season. The Huskies hit the road to take on unbeaten UCLA this week.

  1. Washington State

The Cougars put up a heck of a fight but ultimately fell at home to the Ducks. Quarterback Cameron Ward was excellent, going 37-of-48 for 375 yards and two touchdowns, but he was also picked off twice. Washington State managed to rush for just 53 yards, becoming a bit one-dimensional. A home bounce-back game against California comes this week before a road trip to No. 6 USC on Oct. 8.

  1. UCLA

The two-man offensive show for the Bruins continued on Saturday in a comfortable 45-17 win over lifeless Colorado. Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw for two touchdowns and 234 yards on 19-of-23 passing, while running back Zach Charbonnet rushed for 104 yards and three scores on just nine carries. Next week’s home date against Washington State should begin to establish whether UCLA can get back into the upper third of the Pac-12 Power Rankings.

  1. Oregon State

For 56 minutes Oregon State gave USC everything it could handle, but the Beavers couldn’t hold on at the end. Quarterback Chance Nolan threw four interceptions and the defense broke late on what ended up a game-winning drive for the Trojans. Whether the Beavers can bounce back quickly will be key; a road trip to No. 12 Utah is up now.

  1. California

Takeaways and big plays were California’s recipe for success in a 49-31 win over Arizona on Saturday. Running back Jayden Ott carried it 19 times for 274 yards and three touchdowns, while the Bears forced Arizona quarterback Jayden de Laura into a pair of interceptions. Cal quarterback Jack Plummer was also crisp, finishing 18-of-28 for 245 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. Cal his the road now for a trip to Washington State.

  1. Arizona (+1)

The Wildcats made it respectable and are unlikely to be completely blown out this year as long as de Laura is slinging the rock. But the defense has major issues and the Wildcats look like a team that used the transfer portal to replace huge chunks of the roster. A home date with Colorado this week should get Arizona back above .500.

  1. Stanford (-1)

The Cardinal scored 15 in the fourth quarter to make the final score a bit more respectable, but Stanford was never really in it in a 40-22 loss to Washington. Not having star running back EJ Smith (injury) was problematic for the Cardinal, who have relied on him heavily early this season. A brutal start to the season doesn’t get any easier, with a road trip to face a third straight ranked opponent, No. 13 Oregon, on tap.

  1. Arizona State

The Sun Devils had a tough start to the season, with three of the first five opponents being ranked. Quarterback Emory Jones, who had seemed to shake some of the turnover issues that plagued him at Florida last year, regressed and threw his first two interceptions of the year in the 34-13 loss to Utah. Now the Sun Devils, with an interim coach, must head on the road to No. 6 USC.

  1. Colorado

Colorado continues to bring up the rear in our Pac-12 Power Rankings, with the Buffaloes completely helpless yet again on offense. The 17 points scored in a 45-17 loss to UCLA were the most by Colorado this year, but the Buffaloes rank 126th nationally in total offense (261.3 yards per game). Again, it’s hard to see an obvious win on the schedule.

Want to see how this week’s power rankings compare to our previous edition? Check out the 2022 Week 3 Pac-12 Power Rankings here!