*** Quick housekeeping item: I was unable to write the Week Five preview on Tuesday morning because of that itty-bitty piece of news from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York.
The news and subsequent reaction and Hotline content on the matter caused the football column to get pushed aside.
Hotline policy (established Tuesday morning):
When the FBI levels fraud charges against Pac-12 assistant coaches, drop everything.
Even without the thunderous FBI news, my week was crammed: I’m attending the College Football Playoff mock selection exercise in Dallas. (Any information relevant to the Pac-12 will be published on the Hotline).
I’ll make sure to include some of the Week Five preview material in the game day coverage package (Tailgate Tidbits and Need-To-Knows).
*** Also, for fans who missed the news Monday:
The kickoff times for the Cal-Washington and Washington State-Oregon games on Oct. 7 will be announced this weekend, as Fox has opted to use one of its two six-day selections.
The available slots for next Saturday are 5 p.m. on FOX and 7:45 p.m. on ESPN. The Cal-Oregon winner will almost certainly play at 5 p.m., because FOX has first choice.
To the stat-heavy power ratings …
1. Washington (4-0/1-0)
Last week: 2
Result: Won at Colorado 37-10
Next up: at Oregon State
Comment: Dante Pettis is responsible for 17 percent of all the punt-return touchdowns in major college football through four weeks. Remarkable.
2. USC (4-0/2-0)
Last week: 1
Result: Won at Cal 30-20
Next up: at Washington State (Friday)
Comment: Third-down conversion rate (51.8) is second in the Pac-12 behind Washington State (56.7), but disparity in schedules make USC’s efficiency far more impressive
3. Utah (4-0/1-0)
Last week: 6
Result: Won at Arizona 30-24
Next up: Bye, then vs. Stanford
Comment: Tied for second nationally in turnover margin against FBS opponents (13 gained, seven lost). No other Pac-12 team in in the top 10.
4. Washington State (4-0/1-0)
Last week: 3
Result: Beat Nevada 45-7
Next up: vs. USC (Friday night)
Comment: Luke Falk on third down: Seven touchdowns, one interception and a completion percentage of 69.2.
5. Cal (3-1/0-1)
Last week: 4
Result: Lost to USC 30-20
Next up: at Oregon
Comment: Dramatic year-over-year improvement in yards-per-play allowed against FBS competition, from No. 119 nationally to 36th (5.09 ypp).
6. Oregon (3-1/0-1)
Last week: 5
Result: Lost at Arizona State 37-35
Next up: vs. Cal
Comment: Fifth in the FBS in red-zone touchdown percentage (89.3), with 25 touchdowns in 28 trips. Percentage in 2014 with Marcus Mariota: 62.7.
7. Stanford (2-2/1-1)
Last week: 9
Result: Beat UCLA 58-34
Next up: vs. Arizona State
Comment: Tailback Bryce Love is averaging 10.8 yards per rush, by far the highest total in the nation among runners with at least 40 carries.
8. Colorado (3-1/0-1)
Last week: 8
Result: Lost to Washington 37-10
Next up: at UCLA
Comment: Not as precise as you might expect given the number of returnees: Buffs are No. 109 in adjusted offensive efficiency.
9. Arizona State (2-2/1-0)
Last week: 11
Result: Beat Oregon 37-35
Next up: at Stanford
Comment: Won’t win unless something changes: Devils averaging 2.61 yards per rush. Only Western Kentucky and Temple are worse.
10. UCLA (2-2/0-1)
Last week: 7
Result: Lost at Stanford 58-34
Next up: vs. Colorado
Comment: Won’t win unless something changes: Last in the nation in rushing yards allowed (305 ypg) and next-to-last in yards allowed per rush (6.6).
11. Arizona (2-2/0-1)
Last week: 10
Result: Lost to Utah 30-24
Next up: Bye, then at Colorado
Comment: Defense has been surprisingly effective in the red zone, allowing a conversion rate of 64.7 percent.
12. Oregon State (1-3/0-1)
Last week: 12
Next up: vs. Washington
Comment: Easy to ID the most pressing matter of execution: Beavers are minus-6 in turnover margin through four games.
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