Sunday Afternoon Quarterback

… Game Three … Air Force 30, Colorado 23, OT … Game Story can be found here … Essay for the game: “Respect” can be found here

Pac-12 Power Rankings

Compare247 Sports Pac-12 Power Rankings … 

1. Utah (3-0) … Previous ranking … No. 1

This weekend … Defeated Idaho State, 31-0. Tyler Huntley completed 15-of-19 passes for 282 yards and three touchdowns, while Zach Moss ran for 108 yards on ten carries as the Utes easily took care of business against the hapless Bengals. Despite taking out a mediocre Big Sky conference team, the Utes moved up to No. 10 in the Associated Press, jumping idle Michigan. It gets real for Utah now, with a trip to the Coliseum to take on the Trojans Friday night.

Up next … at USC, Friday, 7:00 p.m., MT, FS1

2. Washington State (3-0) … Previous ranking … No. 2

This weekend … Defeated Houston 31-24. The Cougars from Pullman fell behind the Cougars from Houston, 14-7, at halftime, but rallied for a big road (technically neutral) win. “I almost wish we had a fifth quarter because I thought we had more work to do and we could have grown a little bit more,” Mike Leach said. “I thought we were playing our best football at the end.” Washington State gets the privilege of opening Pac-12 play with UCLA before what might be the regular season game of the year, traveling to Salt Lake City to take on Utah.

Up next … UCLA, Saturday, 8:30 p.m., MT, ESPN

3. Oregon (2-1) … Previous ranking … No. 3

This weekend … Defeated Montana, 35-3. In a crock-potting of the Grizzlies, Justin Herbert slow-cooked its way to a 35-3 victory over Montana. Justin Herbert threw five touchdown passes, but it was only a 14-0 game until the Ducks scored a touchdown in the final minute of the first half. Perhaps figuring a 77-6 win over Nevada would result in a similar result against Montana, Oregon only did what was required to finish off Montana. The Ducks were supposed to be opening Pac-12 play with a tough game against Stanford, but that game isn’t looking as tough right now.

Up next … at Stanford, Saturday, 5:00 p.m., MT, ESPN

4. Washington (2-1, 0-1) … Previous ranking … No. 4

This weekend … Defeated Hawai’i, 52-20. The Rainbow Warriors were 2-0 against the Pac-12, defeating Arizona and Oregon State, but met their match against an angry team of Huskies. Anxious to put a frustrating 20-19 loss to Cal. Washington raced out to a 21-0 lead after a quarter, and was ahead 38-0 before Hawai’i scored. The Huskies will now take on the cardiac Cougars from BYU, last minute winners over Tennessee and USC, before returning to Pac-12 play with games against USC and Stanford.

Up next … at BYU, 1:30 p.m., MT, ABC or ESPN

5. California (3-0, 1-0) … Previous ranking … No. 5

This weekend … Defeated North Texas, 23-17. The Golden Bears looked like a Top 25 team in taking a 20-0 first quarter lead over the Mean Green, but looked like an average Pac-12 team in being out-scored 17-3 the remainder of the game. The Bears are 3-0 for the third time in three years under coach Justin Wilcox, and moved into the Top 25 as the nation’s No. 23 team. Cal will finish off its non-conference slate with a trip to The Grove to take on former Pac-12 conference coaches Rich Rodriguez (offensive coordinator) and Mike MacIntyre (defensive coordinator).

Up next … at Mississippi, Saturday, 10:00 a.m, MT, ESPNU

6. Arizona State (3-0) … Previous ranking … No. 9

This weekend … Defeated No. 18 Michigan State, 10-7. The Spartans missed three field goals, including a game-tying field goal attempt in the final minute. Michigan State actually did make a field goal to tie the game … but had 12 men on the field. Michigan State had 10 penalties for 91 yards on the game. The only reason I mention this is that I was listening to the game on the radio as I was driving to the airport after the CU game, and the MSU announcers were verrry critical of the Pac-12 officials. Arizona State has allowed 7, 7, and 7 points to its first two opponents, while CU has allowed 31, 31, and 30.

Up next … Colorado, Saturday, 8:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks

7. USC (2-1, 1-0) … Previous ranking … No. 6

This weekend … Lost to BYU, 30-27, OT. After a week in which USC athletic director Lynn Swann stepped down, coach Clay Helton absorbed a loss that will certainly raise the heat on him going into a crucial stretch. The Trojans play No. 10 Utah on Friday, then have road games against No. 23 Washington and No. 7 Notre Dame. “We don’t worry about noise,” Helton said. “We live in Los Angeles, California. There’s a ton of damn noise. It’s every day. What we have to focus on is doing our job, winning the next game.” The Trojans fall only one spot this week … but could be in double digits in the rankings in another month.

Up next … at No. 10 Utah, Friday, 7:00 p.m., MT, FS1

8. Arizona (2-1) … Previous ranking … No. 10

This weekend … Defeated Texas Tech, 28-14. Khalil Tate accounted for 314 yards and two touchdowns, including an 84-yard run, and Arizona racked up 499 total yards in what was expected to be an offensive showcase in the desert. Arizona ran the ball 13 straight times during a 99-yard drive in the fourth quarter and Gary Brightwell capped it with his second touchdown to put the game out of reach. “They imposed their will on us,” Red Raiders coach Matt Wells said. “That’s tough to take.” Arizona gets a bye week (its second in September) and a home game against UCLA before coming to Boulder on October 5th as a likely 3-1 team.

Up next … Idle.

9. Colorado (2-1) … Previous ranking … No. 7

This weekend … Lost to Air Force, 30-23, OT. What a difference a week makes. After forcing overtime with a last minute touchdown on their way to defeating the Cornhuskers, the Buffs forced an overtime with a last minute touchdown against the Falcons, but could not finish off the comeback. If the two games had been tight throughout, there might be more confidence going forward, but the Buffs were thoroughly outplayed by both Nebraska and Air Force in both games. Furious comebacks are more difficult to come by on the road, and CU now has three road games in its next four … with all three teams currently ranked in the Top 25.

Up next … at No. 24 Arizona State, 8:00 p.m., MT, Saturday, Pac-12 Networks

10. Stanford (1-2, 0-1) … Previous ranking … No. 8

This weekend … Lost to to No. 17 Central Florida, 45-27. The Cardinal lost by 18 on the road to a ranked team, a week after falling by 25 points on the road to USC. The final score is bad enough, but it really doesn’t tell the whole story. The Knights held a 38-7 lead at halftime, and coasted from there (38-10 at the end of three quarters). K.J. Costello returned at quarterback, but went 21-for-44 for only 199 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. A chance at redemption comes this weekend against Oregon, but if the Cardinal get boat-raced by the Ducks, it could be a long season in Palo Alto.

Up next: … No. 16 Oregon, 5:00 p.m., MT, ESPN

11. Oregon State (1-2) … Previous ranking … No. 12

This weekend … Defeated Cal Poly, 45-7. Oregon State wide receiver Champ Flemings, a 5-foot-5, 141-pound redshirt sophomore, had five catches for 142 yards and two long touchdowns from quarterback Jake Luton, leading Oregon State to a 45-7 victory over the Mustangs. The win snapped a six-game losing streak for the Beavers, and gave Oregon State its first move out of the Pac-12 basement this fall. Enjoy it, Beavers, as Pac-12 play now begins. Oregon State gets a week off before facing Stanford and UCLA … perhaps the Beavers’ best chance at victories the rest of the season

Up next … Idle.

12. UCLA (0-3) … Previous ranking … No. 11

This weekend … Lost to No. 5 Oklahoma, 48-14. You know its going bad for your program, when the team which just destroyed you, 48-14, is disappointed with the outcome. Despite 611 yards of offense — including 439 coming courtesy of quarterback Jalen Hurts — the Oklahoma quarterback was far from satisfied. “The intent for us is coming out and playing a complete game,” Hurts said. “I don’t think we did it tonight. We can improve.”

“I’m confident that that group will stick together,” said Chip Kelly (0-3 this year; 3-12 at UCLA). “They’re just young, so this is all a new experience for them, but we have to grow from that experience.” There will be some more “experience” for the Bruins this weekend.

Up next … at No. 19 Washington State, Saturday, 8:30 p.m., MT, ESPN

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