AP top 25: Oregon remains No. 2; 5 Pac-12 teams ranked
The Pac-12 has five teams ranked in the AP top 25 for the third consecutive week. Oregon remains at No. 2, while UCLA is 12th, Arizona State is 15th, Stanford is 16th and USC is 17th. And, as it has been every week this year, the Pac-12 has the second-most teams of any conference ranked in the AP top 25 behind the SEC’s eight.
A week after a huge 46-27 win over then-No. 7 Michigan State, it took the Ducks a little while to get rolling on Saturday against Wyoming, But when they did, they did so in a major way, exploding for 27 second-quarter points en route to a 48-14 stomping of the Cowboys. How ‘bout some love for former Oregon basketball player Johnathan Loyd? He scored his first career touchdown on Saturday. As pretty as it might have been at times, all the style points in the world wouldn’t have been enough to unseat an idle Florida State for the No. 1 spot, so Oregon stays at No. 2 for the time being. The Ducks can say goodbye to non-conference foes until the postseason; Oregon has its first of nine in a row against the Conference of Champions at Washington State next weekend.
Far from home, trailing by seven, minus your starting quarterback who is in the running for the Heisman Trophy. Game over, right? Not when you have Jerry Neuheisel coming off the bench. Rick Neuheisel’s son threw two touchdown passes in the second half to lead UCLA to an inspiring 20-17 victory over Texas at Jerry World. Three one-score games, but the Bruins are 3-0 and have stood pat at No. 12 after taking down the Longhorns. If you haven’t already, you really need to see Rick Neuheisel’s reaction to Jerry throwing the game-winning touchdown pass (heck, the whole gang is goin’ bonkers). Pure gold.
The good news for Arizona State: It beat a feisty Buffalo bunch 38-24 in Boulder and moved into the top 15 for the first time this season at No. 15. The bad news for Arizona State: Taylor Kelly left the game on crunches and in a walking boot on his right foot. We still don’t know how long Kelly will be out, but the Sun Devils do have a bye week to give Kelly some extra time to heal. Todd Graham has said in the past that Mike Bercovici is the best backup quarterback in the nation, so at least the Sun Devil head honcho has supreme confidence in his plan B. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have Kalen Ballage doing things like this, even if Nick Kelly happened to be on the wrong end of his brute strength.
Bad news for Army: Stanford entered Saturday’s contest coming off a loss, and the Cardinal had not dropped two straight since 2009. As expected, Kevin Hogan and Co. got right with a 35-0 triumph over the Black Knights, giving the Cardinal its second shutout in three games this season (that’s the first time that has happened since 1949). Devon Cajuste was Hogan’s paydirt pal of choice, as those two connected thrice in the end zone. That said, it wasn’t enough to keep the Card from dropping one spot to 16th. Plenty of chances to rise in the rankings in the near future, though.
Tough one to swallow for the Trojans. Fresh off a huge road victory at Stanford, USC traveled cross-country and was gashed by Boston College’s ground game in a 37-31 loss to the Eagles. As such, USC suffered the biggest drop of any team remaining in the top 25 – previously No. 17 Virginia Tech fell completely out of the poll following a home loss to East Carolina – falling eight spots to No. 17. The Trojans have a week to think things over before welcoming the Beavers to the Coliseum.
Washington and Arizona both received votes, with the Huskies garnering 14 voting points and the Wildcats getting three.