Pac-12 football Power rankings: USC losses could turn positive for Arizona
As the weeks pass, the true contenders of the Pac-12 conference begin to emerge while the outliers struggle to stay alive. Week five of the college football season was execution day for a number of Pac-12 schools.
The school that was hit the hardest was Arizona’s upcoming opponent, USC. This season, the Trojans have struggled to replace four-year starting quarterback and current Philadelphia Eagles backup Matt Barkley. Neither Max Wittek nor Cody Kessler has proven to be the better choice under center for USC.
The labor of developing a quarterback has plagued the once-mighty Trojans. Even though they’ve received productive results from running back Tre Madden, receivers Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor — to go along with a highly ranked defense — the Trojans have only posted a 3-2 record, with both losses coming against Pac-12 opponents.
This past Saturday, USC was sent to the death chair. A 62-41 loss on the road to ASU was the final straw for former head coach Lane Kiffin. The Trojans and their athletic director Pat Haden couldn’t even wait for sunrise to fire the third year coach, as they informed him at the airport in the wee hours of Sunday morning that his time in Los Angeles was over. In fact, they were so fed up with Kiffin that he wasn’t even allowed to take the charter bus back to the campus.
Cole Malham/The Daily Wildcat
For the time being, defensive line coach Ed Orgeron will take over as the interim head coach. Similar to the Wildcats’ schedule, this upcoming week is a bye week for the Trojans. But even with the off week it will be difficult for them to recover after the shakeup.
The turmoil at USC couldn’t have come at a better time for Arizona, though. After a fatal offensive performance on the road last week in Seattle, the Wildcats would also be on the fringe of death if they had to go up against a more focused USC.
But a win in Los Angeles in week seven would not only put the Wildcats right back into the Pac-12 South race, it would almost absolutely bury USC six feet under. And with one less team to worry about, the Wildcats’ goal of reaching the Pac-12 title game would become more of a reality.
1. No 2. Oregon (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) LW 1 Week five: (W 55-16) vs California This week: At Colorado
2. No. 5 Stanford (4-0, 2-0) LW 2 Week five: (W 55-17) at Washington State This week: Vs Washington
3. No. 12 UCLA (3-0) LW 3
Week five: Bye
This week: At Utah
4. No. 15 Washington (4-0, 1-0) LW 4
Week five: (W 31-13) vs Arizona
This week: At Stanford
5. No. 22 Arizona State (3-1, 1-1) LW 5 Week five: (W 62-41) vs USC This week: Vs Notre Dame (AT&T Stadium Arlington, Texas)
6. Washington State (3-2, 1-1) LW 6Week five: (L 55-17) vs Stanford This week: At California
7. Oregon State (4-1, 2-0) LW 9 Week five: (W 44-17) vs Colorado This week: Bye
8. Arizona (3-1, 0-1) LW 7
Week five: (L 31-13) at Washington This week: Bye
9. Utah (3-1, 0-1) LW 11
Week five: Bye
This week: Vs UCLA
10: USC (3-2, 0-2) LW 8
Week five: (L 62-41)
This week: Bye
11. Colorado (2-1, 0-1) LW 10
Week five: (L 44-17) at Oregon State This week: Vs Oregon
12. California (1-3, 0-1 Pac-12) LW 12 Week five: (L 55-16) at Oregon This week: Vs Washington State
— Follow Luke Della @LukeDella