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Athlon recaps all of the action from the weekend in the Pac-12
This league seems to get deeper and deeper each Saturday. After another stellar weekend of action out West, six Pac-12 schools now reside in the AP Top 25. Washington and UCLA slide into the rankings, while Arizona State is knocking on the door and Arizona is clearly another solid team. And as strange as it may sound, Cal might be the best 1-4 team in the nation.
Post-Week 5 Offensive Player of the Year Standings
1. The Running Backs, Oregon - De'Anthony Thomas has the highlight reel big-plays. He scored once and totaled 126 all-purpose yards this weekend. But Kenjon Barner made his statement with 195 yards rushing, 37 yards through the air and four total touchdowns. Good luck picking just three names for this list in a league this deep.
2. Matt Barkley, QB, USC - Your guess is as good as mine, so by default Barkley gets the nod. This league has so much talent at so many positions that odds are the USC quarterback works his way back to the top. Sean Mannion, Taylor Kelly, Ka'Deem Carey and Marquess Wilson all moved up the charts this weekend.
3. Brett Hundley, UCLA - Only Matt Barkley has more touchdown passes (12 to 11) in the Pac-12 and only Matt Scott has more yards passing (1,608 to 1,470). Hundley has added 165 yards rushing and four touchdowns on the ground. He accounted for 295 total yards and four touchdowns in the road win over Colorado.
Post-Week 5 Defensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Michael Clay, LB, Oregon - Clay finished with eight total tackles, another sack and a tackle for loss in the win over Washington State — in which the defense once again made big plays.
2. Morgan Breslin, DL, USC - The Trojan defender was on a bye week but still holds the league lead (per game) in sacks with 1.38 sacks per game and tackles for loss at 2.38 per contest.
3. Will Sutton, DL, Arizona State - The junior had a career day in the road win over Cal. He posted eight total tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks and a forced fumble. He is tied for the league lead in sacks (6.5) and is tops in tackles for loss (10.0).
Post-Week 5 Coach of the Year Standings
1. Chip Kelly, Oregon - The Cougars made it a game into the third quarter but Kelly's Ducks pulled away and finished with another 51 points, 26 first downs and 469 yards of offense in yet another blowout win.
2. Mike Riley, Oregon State - The Beavers are quickly becoming one the top stories nationally. His resume is as nice as any in the nation with two road conference wins and a victory over Wisconsin at home.
3. Todd Graham, Arizona State - New coaches in the Pac-12 have been excellent, and Graham now has two impressive Pac-12 wins in a row: A home blowout win over Utah and a road battle against Cal.
Post-Week 5 Power Rankings
1. Oregon (5-0, 2-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 5 result: Beat Washington State 51-26
It took maybe a little longer than Ducks fans had hoped, but in the end Oregon simply out-athleted the Cougars by scoring four straight touchdowns in the second half. Kenjon Barner had arguably the best game in his career by touching the ball 23 times for 232 yards and four touchdowns. The defense once again made big plays, providing a game-clinching INT touchdown return and seven sacks. With an offense that leads the league in rushing at over 300 yards per game and scoring over 50 points per game, Oregon's defensive growth makes them the best team in the league and possibly the top challenger to SEC national domination.
This week: Washington (3-1)
2. USC (3-1, 0-1)
Previous rank: 3
Week 5 result: Off
The Men of Troy rested up before they go on three road trips in four games. It begins with a visit to Utah on Thursday night, before USC will head to Washington and Arizona (with a harmless home game against Colorado mixed in).
This week: at Utah (2-2)
3. Oregon State (3-0, 2-0)
Previous rank: 4
Week 5 result: Beat Arizona 38-35
It's almost impossible to think that this team was 3-9 a year ago. Mike Riley has done one of his best coaching jobs in the nation, building as good of a three-game 2012 resume as any team in the nation. And the Beavers are winning in every possible way. This weekend it was a game of runs and nifty play-calling in a shootout road thriller in Tucson. Oregon State started 17-0 before Zona responded with three straight touchdowns to take the lead. Then one of the best games of the year saw six straight lead changes. Sean Mannion, who threw for a career-high 433 yards, went 6-for-6 on the final drive and tossed the game-winning touchdown with just over a minute to play. Wideout Brandin Cooks continues to emerge as one of the league's more dangerous playmakers, adding another nine receptions and 149 yards to his resume. Mannion now has 1,088 yards in three games and is right in the heart of the POY discussion.
This week: Washington State (2-3)
4. Washington (3-1, 1-0)
Previous rank: 7
Week 5 result: Beat Stanford 17-13
The improvement was obvious. Justin Wilcox, Peter Sirmon and Tosh Lupoi have instilled a toughness, a physicality and an attitude that has been lacking on the defensive side of the ball in Seattle for years. After allowing a Stanford school-record 446 yards and 65 points in the blowout loss to the Cardinal in 2011, the Huskies held Stanford to 65 yards on 28 carries and no offensive touchdowns. The offensive line is still a major issue that needs to get healthy quickly.
This week: at Oregon (5-0)
5. UCLA (4-1, 1-1)
Previous rank: 5
Week 5 result: Beat Colorado 42-14
Brett Hundley scored four touchdowns, and the Bruins much-improved defensive front made sure this game was never in question. A big part of UCLA's struggles last fall stemmed from the lack of a pass rush and the ineffectiveness of the rushing defense. Datone Jones, Anthony Barr and Damien Holmes have made this one of the most improved units in the league as the Bruins are 10th nationally with 3.4 sacks per game. Colorado was sacked four times and produced just 83 yards rushing on 30 attempts. Johnathan Franklin continues his stellar senior season as he bounced back with 159 yards from scrimmage, 145 of which came in the 21-point first half. Jim Mora's bunch reenters the AP Top 25 with the program's first 4-1 start since 2007.
This week: at Cal (1-4)
6. Stanford (3-1, 1-1)
Previous rank: 2
Week 5 result: Lost to Washington 17-13
Josh Nunes was just a little off the entire game. He missed all types of throws all night long, including a near connection down the sideline in the final minutes. And the ground game didn't help out like many expected. The Cardinal defense chased Keith Price all over the field and scored their own touchdown, however, two second-half breakdowns cost Stanford. One long touchdown run on the final play of the third quarter and one big catch and run by Kasen Williams last in the fourth gave Stanford their first loss of the year.
This week: Arizona (3-2)
7. Arizona (3-2, 0-2)
Previous rank: 6
Week 5 result: Lost to Oregon State 38-35
Matt Scott and Ka'Deem Carey are really good. But unfortunately, the Wildcats ran into a pair of offensive buzz saws from The Beaver State to start the conference slate with two losses. For the second week in a row, a high-flying offense from Oregon posted big numbers against the Arizona defense, this time in heart-breaking fashion. The Copper Tops fell behind early but battled back behind another huge day from Carey — 183 yards from scrimmage and two scores. But the defense allowed 613 yards of offense and couldn't get a key stop when it had to late in the game. This was a learning experience for a team that appears to be better than its 0-2 Pac-12 record might indicate.
This week: at Stanford (3-1)
8. Arizona State (4-1, 2-0)
Previous rank: 8
Week 5 result: Beat Cal 27-17
The Sun Devils continue to impress in year one under first year head coach Todd Graham. Quarterback Taylor Kelly completed 26 of his 45 passes for 292 yards and three touchdowns without turning the ball over again this weekend. Kelly now leads the league in passing efficiency, while defensive stopper Will Sutton now leads the league in sacks and tackles for loss. This was a barometer test for the young Arizona State team and they passed with flying colors. Graham's bunch now has two excellent wins to start league play, and, without Stanford or Washington on the schedule, has fans in Tempe thinking ASU can challenge for the division crown.
This week: Open Date
9. Utah (2-2, 0-1)
Previous rank: 10
Week 5 result: Off
Entering Week 6 after a bye week against, Utah's season could be hanging in the balance on Thursday night when USC comes to town. This team was destroyed in Tempe two weeks ago and has had a long time to think about it. An 0-2 start in league play would all but end the Utes chances at contending in the South.
This week: USC (3-1)
10. California (1-4, 0-2)
Previous rank: 9
Week 5 result: Lost Arizona State 27-17
After a brutal home loss to Arizona State in which quarterback Zach Maynard completed just 9-of-28 passes, Cal became the best 1-4 team in the nation. Jeff Tedford has lost four times to teams with a combined 16-3 record thus far and could include the best team in the Pac-12, Big Ten and Mountain West. But Tedford knows that his worst start ever as the head coach at Cal is still all about wins and losses. His back is now securely pressed against the wall in Berkeley staring difficult second-half schedule. Five of Cal's seven remaining opponents are ranked, so things are starting to look bleak for the longtime coach of the Golden Bears.
This week: UCLA (4-1)
11. Colorado (1-4, 1-1)
Previous rank: 11
Week 5 result: Lost to UCLA 42-14
Jordan Webb couldn't build on his big performance against Washington State last weekend. He was hounded all day by the improved UCLA front seven, while the Buffaloes defense provided little resistance to the Bruins extremely balanced offensive attack. In the league, The Buffs fell behind quickly and never challenged Jim Mora's squad. Colorado now ranks dead last in scoring offense, scoring defense, total defense and turnover margin. And Jon Embree has two weeks to think about it.
This week: Open Date
12. Washington State (2-3, 0-2)
Previous rank: 12
Week 5 result: Lost to Oregon 51-26
After falling behind quickly, the Cougars battled back to within four points at halftime. Then an onslaught of Oregon big plays put Washington State out of its misery in the third quarter. Connor Halliday and Marquess Wilson continue to build rapport and produce big numbers in the passing game, but this defense and the Pac-12's worst rushing attack have provided little support all season. Mike Leach has a long way to go in Pullman.
This week: at Oregon State (3-0)
by Braden Gall
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