Five Pac-12 teams in new AP poll
Thanks to an impressive Saturday evening slate, the Pac-12 landed five teams in the latest AP Top 25 poll released earlier today. The additions of UCLA and Arizona to the poll put the Pac-12 behind only the SEC and tied with the Big 12 in number of top-25 teams by conference.
USC remains at No. 2 after beating Syracuse 42-29 in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Trojan signal-caller Matt Barkley threw for six touchdowns, five of which were caught by Robert Woods or Marqise Lee. USC has another road test next Saturday- one that figures to be a little stiffer in competition- as the Trojans head to The Farm to take on No. 21 Stanford. Lane Kiffin has lost to the Card on the last play of the game both times he has faced Stanford; will the third time be a charm?
Oregon held its spot at No. 4 thanks to a 42-25 triumph over Fresno State. Kenjon Barner stole the show in Eugene, running for 201 yards and three touchdowns, including the one that iced the game in the fourth quarter. The Ducks will do battle next weekend against the Ohio Valley Conference’s Tennessee Tech, an FCS team that is also 2-0.
Thanks to a 50-13 shellacking of Duke, Stanford moved back up four spots to its preseason AP ranking of 21. Stanford’s defense held Duke to 109 first-half yards and forced four Blue Devil turnovers, including a pick-six by safety Ed Reynolds. Last season’s war against USC in The Coliseum was perhaps the best game of 2011; the tables are turned this year with No. 2 USC coming in as the visitors and higher-ranked team in what appears to be the marquee match-up of next week's Pac-12 football schedule.
Welcome back, UCLA. The Bruins put themselves on the AP map at No. 22 after defeating then-No. 16 Nebraska 36-30 at the Rose Bowl. When you have a QB (Brett Hundley) who throws for 305 yards and four touchdowns and a running back (Johnathan Franklin) who rushes for 217 and picks up a receiving TD, it’s tough to lose. Get ready to move on over in the record books, Gaston Green; Franklin keeps this pace up and he’ll surpass UCLA’s all-time leading rusher midway through the season. The Bruins will put their ranking on the line against the 0-2 Houston Cougars; in 2011, they beat UCLA 38-34 and nearly crashed the BCS party.
Welcome back, Arizona. The now-24th-ranked Wildcats’ 59-38 victory over then-No. 18 Oklahoma State was an upset in ranking only. After spotting the Cowboys a two-touchdown lead, RichRod’s boys could not be stopped; Matt Scott threw for two touchdowns and Ka’Deem Carey ran for three. Up next for Arizona is a date with FCS South Carolina State out of the MEAC. Shouldn’t be much of an issue for Arizona, but FCS teams have pulled off a couple of upsets of FBS squads already this year, including Sacramento State’s defeat of Colorado yesterday.
Here’s the AP Top 25 poll in its entirety (votes for No. 1 in parentheses):
1. Alabama (48)
2. USC (8)
3. LSU (4)
5 (tie). Oklahoma
5 (tie). Florida State
8. South Carolina
9. West Virginia
10. Michigan State
12. Ohio State
13. Virginia Tech
15. Kansas State
20. Notre Dame
25. Brigham Young