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JPPR Week Two: Oregon Ducks don’t slip far, Washington, Colorado rise

In college football it only takes one week for opinions to change, and Judah’s Pac-12 Power Rankings are not immune.  Last week the Oregon Ducks took the top spot, but how far do they fall with the gut-wrenching loss to Auburn?  How far will Utah – last week’s No.3 team – rise after getting a road rivalry win, or will the Huskies take the top spot with Jacob Eason impressing in his debut?  Let’s discuss.

Lines are from Bovada

 

12.  Oregon State Beavers (0-1) | Last week JPPR: No.11 (Down 1)

Last Week: Lost vs Oklahoma State 52-36
This Week: @ Hawaii – 8:59pm (Hawaii Facebook Page)  Line: Hawaii -6.5

Last week I projected no change for the Beavs in JPPR since I thought they could cover the plus-14 vs Okee State.  Instead, the defense allowed 555 yards to a talented but not dominant Cowboys offense, including a combined 330 rushing yards to their tailback and quarterback.  Add in a 10-for-13 allowance on 3rd-down, and you earn a step back in the rankings.  Still, big chance for the Beavers to improve their stock this weekend with an upset win at Hawaii.

Week 3 JPPR Prediction: No.12.  I don’t think the Beavers defense will be able to hold Hawaii’s offense under 40 points, and the Beavs drop to 0-2.

 

11.  Arizona Wildcats (0-1) | Last week JPPR: No. 10 (Down 1)

Last Week: Did not play (Lost Week Zero at Hawaii 45-38)
This Week: vs Northern Arizona – 7:45pm (Pac-12 Network)       Line: No Line

As disappointing as Arizona performed in their opener, there is a chance Hawaii is better than we thought.  Regardless, JJ Taylor and Khalil Tate are too talented not to have bounce back games against Northern Arizona.  While Oregon State re-claims the JPPR cellar for this week, Kevin Sumlin’s team has to show me something on Saturday – and especially next week vs Texas Tech – if they want to rise back into the single-digits.

Week 3 JPPR Prediction: No.11.  No change.  Beating Northern Arizona should not be rewarded by anyone, to anyone, ever.

 

10.  UCLA Bruins (0-1) | Last week JPPR: No. 6 (Down 4)

Last Week: Lost @ Cincinnati 24-14
This Week: vs San Diego State – 1:15pm (Pac-12 Network)         Line: UCLA -7.5

Last week’s UCLA-Cincy affair was so ugly it made me annoyed that college football was back, if it meant I had to watch slop like that all season.  The Bruins embraced the art of self-destruction, quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson could not hold on to the ball, Chip Kelly randomly sat his star running back Josh Kelly from playing a single snap, and the officials cost the Bruins a chance to cover the spread when they whistled a would-be scoop-and-score prematurely dead.  I’m not bitter or anything.  But, I imagine the Bruins will respond with an edge and attitude against San Diego State that will make backers want to ride the Chip wave yet again before Lincoln Riley and the Sooners come to the Rose Bowl in Week 3.

Week 3 JPPR Prediction:  No. 9.  UCLA is going to roll over the Aztecs and tickle everyone’s fancy once more before facing Oklahoma.

 

9. CAL Golden Bears (1-0) | Last week JPPR: No. 9 (No Change)

Last Week: Won vs UC-Davis 27-13
This Week: @ No.14 Washington – 7:30pm (Fox Sports 1)    Line: WASH – 14

If Cal’s recipe for success this season is rushing and playing defense, then mission accomplished in week one.  Offense will be a struggle for them this year, but kudos to running back Chris Brown Jr (36 carries 197 yards, TD) who became the first CAL back since Jhavid Best in 2008 to rush for over 100 yards in his first career start.  Instead of forcing 4 turnovers as JPPR predicted they would last week, CAL committed four turnovers themselves, though their defense did hold the Aggies to 2.8 yards a carry.  Their knock-down, drag-out style will be interesting to watch against Washington and QB Jacob Eason.

Week 3 JPPR Prediction: No. 8.  I’m thinking Cal looks competitive and tough in a close road loss to the Huskies.

 

8.  Colorado Buffaloes (1-0)| Last week JPPR: No.12 (Up 4)

Last Week: Won vs Colorado State 52-31 [in Denver]
This Week: vs No.25 Nebraska – 12pm (FOX)      Line: NEB -4

The Buffaloes made the biggest jump of anyone in JPPR thanks to hanging a 52-burger on their in-state rivals.  This will be the high-water mark for the Buffs this year. But give them credit for proving me wrong for putting them at No.12 to open the season.  I’m fascinated by their match up this week against Scott Frost and the Huskers in Boulder, a year after stunning Big Red in Lincoln.  The two biggest factors in that upset win both return in Steven Montez and Leviska Shenault.  The line (Nebraska -4) scares me from taking either side, but eager to see how CU stacks up against a very good team, and not a dismal CSU squad.

Week 3 JPPR Prediction: No.10.  Nebraska covers.  But Montez-Shenault hook up for two scores.

 

7. Arizona State Sun Devils (1-0) | Last week JPPR: No. 8 (Up 1)

Last Week: Won vs Kent State 30-7
This Week:  [FRI 9/7] vs Sacramento State – 7pm (Pac-12 Network)    Line: ASU -35.5

ASU failed to cover the -25 they were laying to a bad Kent State team, but it was cool to see true freshman QB Jayden Daniels make his collegiate debut (15-for-24, 284 yards, 2 TD 0 INT).  This team is banged up on the offensive line, and I’m not buying their long-term stock in 2019.  But it’s a young squad that could easily make a bowl game.

Week 3 JPPR Prediction: No. 6.  Solid Friday night win and Daniels accounts for three scores.

 

6.  USC Trojans (1-0) | Last week JPPR: No. 5 (Down 1)

Last Week: Won vs Fresno State 31-23
This Week: vs No.23 Stanford – 7:30pm (ESPN)  Line: Even

What a bummer to see QB JT Daniels go down for the season with a torn ACL and meniscus.  Now, true freshman Kedon Slovis, who played at an Arizona high school with Kurt Warner as his offensive coordinator, takes over the Trojan offense.  I like what I’m reading about Slovis.  Clay Helton said Slovis reminds him of Sam Darnold, which is cool except Clay doesn’t have the greatest credibility outside of his Darnold snag.  Look, losing Daniels sucks.  But I honestly don’t expect that much of a drop off from him to Slovis in SC’s new air-raid attack.  They get a short-handed Stanford team this week that has quarterback health concerns of their own, setting Slovis up for his first signature win.

Week 3 JPPR Prediction: No. 5 (Trojans beat Stanford and Slovis starts making a name for himself)

 

5. No.23 Stanford Cardinal (1-0) |Last week JPPR: No. 6 (Up 1)

Last Week: Won vs Northwestern 17-7
This Week: vs USC – 7:30pm (ESPN)    Line: USC -1

I was victim of one of the worst “bad beats” you’ll see all season riding Northwestern +6.5 at Stanford last week.  Of course, the Cardinal defense got a game-clinching sack in the final minute, which was fine, except it was followed by a completely unnecessary scoop-and-score to cover the spread.  So now I hate them.  I’m mostly joking.  QB KJ Costello is questionable due to a head injury suffered in the second quarter against the Wildcats after he started the game 16-for-20 for 152 yards.  And standout 1st-Team All-Pac-12 tackle Walker Little will also miss the next month at least with a left knee injury.  Stanford will have to lean on Shaw’s consistent maximization of talent and their stingy defense (held NW to just 117 passing yards) in order to beat the Trojans on Saturday night.

Week 3 JPPR Prediction: No.7.  Injuries catch up to the Cardinal in a loss to USC, and the schedule gets even tougher with a road game next week at No. 18 UCF followed by a home clash with No.16 Oregon.

 

4. #22 Washington State Cougars (1-0) | Last week JPPR: No. 4 (No change)

Last Week: Won vs New Mexico State 58-7
This Week: vs Northern Colorado – 2pm (Pac-12 Network)   Line: WSU – 37.5

At one point, WSU and NMSU was a 7-7 game.  And then it wasn’t.  QB Anthony Gordon completed his first fifteen passes and finished with four aerial touchdowns and 330 yards in the look-good feel-good blowout win.  Guess what?  Not impressed.  And WSU can’t impress me this week either.  I don’t blame them for the cupcake early schedule; I actually think it’s the right approach.  But it will never be rewarded by JPPR.  See next week vs Houston and I’ll pay some attention.

Week 3 JPPR Prediction: No.4.  Just don’t let anyone get hurt.

 

3.  #16 Oregon Ducks (0-1) | Last week JPPR: No. 1 (Down 2)

Last Week: Lost to No.16 Auburn 27-21
This Week: vs Nevada – 4:30pm (Pac-12 Network)    Line: ORE -23.5

We’ve talked at length about the Ducks loss to Auburn, but I hesitated even dropping them this far in JPPR.  I came away really impressed with their physicality in the trenches, and aside from the last play, liked the play of the secondary.  The Ducks are handicapped by their play-calling in high-leverage moments, poor in-game management by Mario Cristobal, and a handful of physical mistakes that put a cap on how good they can be.  Hate to say it, but it’s true.  Oregon has the dudes to compete with just about anyone.  But you cannot trust this team.

Week 3 JPPR Prediction:  No. 3.  They should run for at least 250 yards against the Wolfpack.

 

2.  #14 Washington Huskies (1-0) | Last week JPPR: No. 2 (No Change)

Last Week: Won vs Eastern Washington 47-14
This Week: vs Cal – 7:30pm (Fox Sports 1)       Line: WASH -14

Husky nation is offended by their one-spot drop in the AP Poll after drubbing Eastern Washington last week, but I have no problem with it.  We wanted to see Jacob Eason’s arm, and he showed it to us, throwing for 349 yards and 4 scores.  Is he better than Justin Herbert?  Is Eason the Pac-12 flag-bearer we need?  Is he the Heisman-caliber QB we’ve been christening Herbert as for the last season-plus?  I’m hesitant to affirm that with any conviction quite yet, but I’m paying attention.  Let’s see how he performs against a CAL defense that’s a pain in the backside and then we’ll have a good feel about Eason.

Week 3 JPPR Prediction: No. 2.  Consistency is a virtue.  Cal covers the two-touchdown spread.

 

1. #13 Utah Utes (1-0) | Last week JPPR: No. 3 (Up 2)

Last Week: Won @ BYU 30-12
This Week: vs Northern Illinois – 10am (Pac-12 Network).  Line: UTA -21.5

Nasty.  That’s what this Utah team is.  Straight nasty.  And I’m here for it.  They made a scary season-opening rivalry game on the road look like warm-up.  They could force the most turnovers of any defense in the country, and with Zack Moss running hard (and hopefully staying healthy) the Utes will have no problem staying at the top of JPPR as long as they keep winning, which they will again this week.

Week 3 JPPR Prediction:  No.1.  Early money is on Northern Illinois, but I wouldn’t bet against Whittingham right now.

 

Enjoy the football, everyone.  We’ll see you next Tuesday, Sept. 10th for the Week Three edition of Judah’s Pac-12 Power Rankings.


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