Brigham Young Cougars head coach Kalani Sitake and the rest of the BYU sideline begin to celebrate as they defeat Utah in an NCAA football game at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. BYU won 26-17, ending a nine-game losing streak to the Utes. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)
PROVO — The day started out so promising for the Pac-12: Oregon did what the conference hadn’t done in a long time.
The Ducks went into enemy territory against a top-5 program and came away with a win as the better team against Ohio State. The impact of the game, however, did not make its way to the rest of the conference.
Washington forgot how to play football, USC dropped a conference matchup against a Stanford team that got beat up by Kansas State last week, California lost in a close game to TCU, Arizona got destroyed by a Mountain West Conference team, and Utah got outplayed by its rival BYU.
The roller coaster ride of the Pac-12 continues, but it leaves fewer teams with an opportunity to be ranked this week in my Associated Press Top 25 ballot. I moved Oregon up to No. 6 for their impressive win, but dropped USC and Utah out of the rankings completely.
- Ohio State isn’t all bad. Offense isn’t necessarily Ohio State’s problem. C.J. Stroud is a promising quarterback for the Buckeyes and will have a big future there, but he still has a ways to go. At times he had a little too much zip to the ball, which led to overthrown passes, including a late interception. But then other times he was money. The problem for the Buckeyes is its defense. Oregon exploited the run game, especially off the edge, and Ohio State had little they could do about it. The Buckeyes clearly still have the talent, but it’s a matter of putting it all together.
- Iowa claimed in-state supremacy, even though it wasn’t much of a surprise. Sure, the Hawkeyes were the lower-seeded team, but they have a lot of talent that will be a force in the Big Ten. Iowa State was expected to be one of the best teams in the Big 12 — and they still may be — but they were outmatched at home by an in-state rival. Iowa could — could — be good enough to contend with Ohio State.
- Texas A&M took a long time to get a touchdown against Colorado. Sure, the Buffaloes are better than many likely expected, but there’s no reason for Texas A&M to wait till the end of the game to get their first and only touchdown of the game. It was enough in the end, but not enough to keep their rank in the top 5, I believe. The thing is, they’ll likely bounce back and have a solid showing over the course of the season. But for now, they drop a bit.
- Oklahoma State is still capable of being ranked, but there are better teams. I’ve had the Cowboys ranked in my preseason and Week 2 ballots, but I’ve decided to move them out this week. They’re still undefeated, but they haven’t been too convincing and there are teams, in my opinion, that have shown more and deserve to be ranked. I still have them on the bubble, so not all is lost.
Checking out: LSU, Miami, Oklahoma State, Texas, USC, Utah
Moving in: Arkansas, Auburn, BYU, Coastal Carolina, Michigan, TCU
In consideration: Maryland, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh, UCF
If you can’t see my ballot below, click here.