It was an uneventful Week Four in college football but Stanford-Oregon and ASU football‘s game against Washington brought some Pac-12 After Dark.
For the first time in a while (maybe ever) the country was grateful for some Pac-12 After Dark late Saturday night.
It was a largely quiet and uneventful Week Four outside of Old Dominion’s shocking upset of No. 13 Virginia Tech.
The Stanford-Oregon game lived up to the College GameDay hype as an overturned Oregon touchdown, preventing the Ducks from going up 31-7, changed the game.
A couple of plays later, Stanford got a scoop and score to get right back into the game.
All that Ducks running back CJ Verdell had to do was go down after crossing the first down marker and that would have ended the game and secured the win for Oregon.
Instead, he was stripped and Stanford got the ball back with kicker Jet Toner nailing a game-tying field goal to inexplicably force overtime.
The Cardinal stunned the Autzen Stadium with the win and have made a case to be the frontrunner in the Pac-12. They’ll have a big test this week at No. 8 Notre Dame.
After that though, it was all Washington as Arizona State struggled to put together scoring opportunites despite their success in the rushing attack.
With only four games last week, the Pac-12 is back at a full slate this week as Stanford and Washington playing marquee non-conference games.
Here are our Week Four Power Rankings with a new team at the top of the leaderboard.
1. Stanford Cardinal (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) Last Week: 2
Is Stanford the best team in the Pac-12?
That’s the question after the Cardinal mustered a 38-31 overtime victory at Oregon. The Trees overcame a 17-point deficit in the third quarter to jump to the top of the food chain of the Pac-12 North.
Bryce Love did Bryce Love-like things with 89 rushing yards and a touchdown, but it’s the other offensive tools that showed out. K.J. Costello and JJ Arcega Whiteside hooked up for 84 receiving yards and two touchdowns, proving to be one of the underrated quarterback and receiver duos in the Pac-12.
The road challenges for the Cardinal don’t get any easier this weekend. Coach David Shaw hopes to prove his team is elite when they travel to South Bend to take on No. 8 Notre Dame.
2. Washington Huskies (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) LW: 1
Jake Browning looked up to form as the senior, who has had trouble with consistency throughout his career, finished with 202 yards and three touchdowns through the air.
Myles Gaskin tore through what has been an interesting defense for the Sun Devils so far this season. The Sun Devils headed into Week Three leading the nation in rushing defense before allowing over 300 yards on the ground to San Diego State. Gaskin would finish with 86 of the team’s 171 rushing yards.
The Huskies will square off with BYU would comes into the game ranked 20th in the nation and has already upset Wisconsin so far this season.
3. Oregon Ducks (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12) LW: 3
Has there been a loss in the country this year that was as painful as Oregon’s 38-31 defeat to Stanford this weekend?
After three comfortable wins over non-Power 5 conference opponents, the Ducks headed into Week Four with the entire college football world watching against the No. 7 team in the nation in Stanford.
Everything seemed to be going Oregon’s way as the hosts held a 24-7 lead late in the third quarter. But, a bad snap at the goal-line returned for a touchdown and a fumble on the presumed final offensive play of regulation gave Stanford enough of a crease to come all the way back and earn a remarkable win in Eugene.
For Oregon, the Ducks did not lose any ground in the AP Poll. In fact, Mario Cristobal’s team went up a spot in the rankings. Regardless of the rankings, this is still a gut punch of a loss for a Ducks team that has hopes of potentially making the Rose Bowl.
4. Utah Utes (2-1, 0-1 Pac-12) LW: 6
Utah remained idle with a bye in Week Four. The Utes hope the time off will help as they travel for their first conference road game against Washington State.
Kyle Whittingham’s squad will have to prepare for the big arm of Gardner Minshew, who has already recorded 1,547 passing yards and 11 touchdowns in the Cougars’ first four games. His efforts came up just short of helping his team knock off USC at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum last weekend.
In order to have a shot, Utah’s defense must slow down the pace of the game. The team has tallied 17 and seven points in their last two games, respectively, and they can’t afford to get in a shootout against a deadly offense.
Expect this game to tell us more about the Utes as they continue to push for their first outright Pac-12 South title.
5. Arizona State Sun Devils (2-2, 0-1 Pac-12) LW: 5
The Sun Devils struggled to muster anything on the offensive side of the football as they put up 104 yards through the air and 164 yards on the ground.
Head coach Herm Edwards showed flashes of his NFL coaching days as the Sun Devils used a slow paced strategic attack to give the team a shot at upsetting the Huskies.
Edwards and ASU will be back in action back in Tempe (where the team is 2-0) to take on the lowly Oregon State Beavers.
6. Colorado Buffaloes (3-0) LW: 4
The Buffaloes were off in Week 3, but their wins are getting less and less impressive as time passes. What looked like a signature road win over Nebraska looks vastly less noteworthy after watching the Cornhuskers’ 56-10 implosion against Michigan.
Colorado opens Pac-12 play this week against conference bottom feeder UCLA, so the Buffs shouldn’t have much trouble. But the week after, Colorado hosts Arizona State in what could be an unofficial Pac-12 Championship play-in game.
T7: California Golden Bears (3-0) LW: 8
October 18, 2015 was the last time Cal was ranked in the top 25 of the AP poll.
After wins over North Carolina , Idaho State and 20th-ranked BYU, the Golden Bears finished up their bye week with a present from the AP.
Quarterback Chase Garbers may not be a Heisman Candidate, but the first-year starter has been excellent with a 68.2 percent completion percentage on six touchdown throws in 2018.
For Cal, it hasn’t just been the success of Garbers that has put the Golden Bears on this victory streak. The defense has only surrendered 19.3 points per contest while Patrick Laird and Brandon McIlwain have produced for the Cal offense.
Don’t look now but this Cal team may be for real.
T7: USC Trojans (2-2, 1-1 Pac-12) LW: 7
The Trojans have looked shaky to start the 2018 season. With losses to Stanford and Texas, any hopes to make the College Football Playoff are out the window.
But USC earned a hard-fought conference win over Washington State last weekend. Now sitting at 2-2, the Pac-12 gauntlet is just beginning and the Trojans take it on with true freshman quarterback, JT Daniels.
Their young leader has had growing pains through four weeks, but will continue to improve throughout the season.
9. Washington State Cougars (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12) LW: 9
At 3-1, the Cougars’ record is a bit misleading, claiming wins over the likes of Wyoming, San Jose State and Eastern Washington. But even in a 39-36 loss to Southern California, WSU continues to look like one of the more exciting teams throughout the Pac-12.
Transfer quarterback Gardner Minshew II has been electrifying in Mike Leach’s air-raid attack throwing for 1,547 yards and 11 touchdowns while completing 71 percent of his passes. He’s currently on pace to throw for over 4,600 yards and 33 touchdowns.
However, the ground game leaves something to be desired. WSU ranks 127th out 129 teams in rushing yards per game. Up next is Utah, a unit that is tied for the national lead in scoring defense, allowing just 12.3 points per game. Can Minshew carry the Cougars to their first conference win of the year?
10. Arizona Wildcats (2-2, 1-0 Pac-12) LW: 10
The Arizona Wildcats are now 2-2 and technically first in the Pac-12 South. Maybe they are on the rise, but their two wins were against Southern Utah and Oregon State.
Khalil Tate, once considered a Heisman front runner, has struggled immensely. The junior has completed only 54 percent of his passes and has just 31 yards on 23 carries. Kevin Sumlin and his team host USC for a very important conference matchup against USC this weekend.
11. UCLA Bruins (0-3) LW: 12
After an 0-3 start, Chip Kelly’s UCLA Bruins got a much needed bye week to reset the batteries and work on the issues that plagued them through non-conference play.
UCLA currently sports the worst scoring offense in the Pac-12 (17.3 points per game) and the second-worst scoring defense (37.7 PPG allowed).
Freshman quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson has played alright with 522 passing yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. What’s hurting Thompson-Robinson’s numbers is that he’s only completing 54.7 percent of his passes.
The Bruins will square off against the undefeated Colorado Buffaloes in Boulder Friday night as the UCLA defense will look to contain a Buffaloes offense that has averaged 41 points per game and 494 yards per game.
12. Oregon State Beavers (1-3, 0-1 Pac-12)
After an impressive come-from-behind effort the week before, Oregon State regressed in Week Four. The Beavers fell to a meddling Arizona team in a 35-14 defeat.
Perhaps most disappointing in the loss was the offense. OSU’s offense exploded in the second half against Nevada, but against Arizona, the unit recorded only 238 yards of offense against one of the worst Power Five defenses.
Looking ahead at Oregon State’s schedule, it’s hard to find a win in conference play, especially because the Beavers don’t play UCLA this year.