Oregon Claims Top Spot In KSL Sports Pac-12 Power Rankings

Nov 2, 2020, 12:33 PM
CJ Verdell #7 of the Oregon Ducks runs the ball against the Wisconsin Badgers during the second qua...
CJ Verdell #7 of the Oregon Ducks runs the ball against the Wisconsin Badgers during the second quarter in the Rose Bowl game presented by Northwestern Mutual at Rose Bowl on January 01, 2020 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Pac-12 season will kickoff on Saturday, November 7, which means the KSL Sports Power Rankings are back.

Oregon was picked by the media in the preseason poll to win the conference and will have the number one spot in the power rankings.

USC snatched the top spot in the South Division.

Here is the third annual Pac-12 Power Rankings ahead of the 2020 season.

North Division

1. No. 12 Oregon Ducks

Previous Result: N/A

Recap: The quarterback reigns in Eugene will be handed off from Justin Herbert to Tyler Shough. The sophomore will take his first snap as the full time starter on Saturday in primetime. The reigning Pac-12 Championship game MVP C.J. Verdell returns at running back and is expected to have a big year for the Ducks.

Oregon’s offensive line is completely new after four starters graduated and Outland Trophy winner Penei Sewell opted out of the 2020 season to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. Star defensive back Jevon Holland also opted out but Oregon’s defense is stacked full of young talent.

Previous Ranking: 1

Next Up: vs. Stanford Cardinal on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 5:30 p.m. MT on ABC

2. California Golden Bears

Previous Result: N/A

Recap: This is expected to be the best team under head coach Justin Wilcox with basically the entire team returning from last season. If Chase Garbers can stay healthy, Cal will be a contender to win the Pac-12.

Previous Ranking: 2

Next Up: vs. Washington Huskies on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 8:30 p.m. MT on ESPN

3. Washington Huskies

Previous Result: N/A

Recap: The Jimmy Lake era begins in Seattle with a quarterback battle and a very young offense with Jacob Eason leaving early for the NFL Draft and Myles Gaskin graduating. The 2019 Huskies had a young defense and now are one year older and more experienced. That side of the ball will be strong for Washington.

Previous Ranking: 3

Next Up: @ California Golden Bears on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 8:30 p.m. MT on ESPN

4. Stanford Cardinal

Previous Result: N/A

Recap: After a down season for David Shaw and company, the Cardinal will turn to Davis Mills at quarterback after K.J. Costello followed Mike Leach to Mississippi State. Their recruiting class was strong once again and will have a lot of potential for years to come.

Previous Ranking: 4

Next Up: @ No. 12 Oregon Ducks on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 5:30 p.m. MT on ABC

5. Oregon State Beavers

Previous Result: N/A

Recap: Jonathan Smith has done a tremendous job in Corvallis. He will be put to the test after losing his starting quarterback, running back and star wide receiver. Jermar Jefferson returns at running back while Hamilcar Rashed Jr. will anchor the defense after deciding to return to Oregon State for his senior year.

Previous Ranking: 5

Next Up: vs. Washington State Cougars on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 8:30 p.m. MT on FS1

6. Washington State Cougars

Previous Result: N/A

Recap: The Nick Rolovich era is off to a rocky start on the Palouse. The quarterback situation still isn’t settled but reports indicate that Jayden De Laura will get the nod under center. The Cougars still have talented players on their roster including All-Pac-12 running back Max Borghi.

Previous Ranking: 6

Next Up: @ Oregon State Beavers on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 8:30 p.m. MT on FS1

South Division

1. No. 20 USC Trojans

Previous Result: N/A

Recap: Clay Helton has his best offense during his tenure as head coach. Now, he and the Trojans need to turn that into wins. It’s a make or break season for Helton and taking the Trojans to the Pac-12 Championship would certainly keep him at the helm at USC. Kedon Slovis is back and is expected to be more productive than last season as a true freshman.

Previous Ranking: 1

Next Up: vs. Arizona State Sun Devils on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 10 a.m. MT on FOX

2. Utah Utes

Previous Result: N/A

Recap: The Utes lost nine starters on defense and three on offense. The offense seems to be ahead of the defense at this point with many weapons returning. Utah has a new starting quarterback in place but will not show their hand until the season opener. It is expected to be either South Carolina transfer Jake Bentley or Texas transfer Cameron Rising.

Previous Ranking: 2

Next Up: vs. Arizona Wildcats on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 2 p.m. MT on ESPNU

3. Arizona State Sun Devils

Previous Result: N/A

Recap: Herm Edwards and the Sun Devils lost some talent in running back Eno Benjamin and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. They do bring back Jayden Daniels at quarterback and is only a sophomore. ASU will be put to the test out of the gates with a road game against USC at 9 a.m. local time.

Previous Ranking: 3

Next Up: @ No. 20 USC Trojans on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 10 a.m. MT on FOX

4. UCLA Bruins

Previous Result: N/A

Recap: Most of UCLA’s defense is gone from last season but they bring back quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Can Chip Kelly’s team improve from last season or will we be talking about the end of Chip Kelly in Westwood?

Previous Ranking: 4

Next Up: @ Colorado Buffaloes on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 5 p.m. MT on ESPN2

5. Arizona Wildcats

Previous Result: N/A

Recap: Kevin Sumlin has a lot of challenges this season. Although, he has his quarterback in Grant Gunnell, he lost running back J.J. Taylor and two key starters on defense in Colin Schooler and Tony Fields. Is Sumlin on the hot seat?

Previous Ranking: 5

Next Up: @ Utah Utes on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 2 p.m. MT on ESPNU

6. Colorado Buffaloes

Previous Result: N/A

Recap: Karl Dorrell comes in to Boulder with a lot of missing pieces. He did name Sam Noyer as his starting QB and has a talented running back in Alex Fontenot but not having much time to prepare his team will show itself early in the season. Dorrell was hired in February after the abrupt departure of Mel Tucker to Michigan State. Not having spring ball hurt CU.

Previous Ranking: 6

Next Up: vs. UCLA Bruins on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 5 p.m. MT on ESPN2

Combined Power Rankings

Here is the entire power rankings combined.

  1. Oregon Ducks
  2. USC Trojans
  3. California Golden Bears
  4. Utah Utes
  5. Arizona State Sun Devils
  6. Washington Huskies
  7. Stanford Cardinal
  8. UCLA Bruins
  9. Oregon State Beavers
  10. Arizona Wildcats
  11. Colorado Buffaloes
  12. Washington State Huskies

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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Oregon Claims Top Spot In KSL Sports Pac-12 Power Rankings