AP Top 25: Arizona is a top-10 team; six teams in
After one of the wildest weekends in recent memory, six Pac-12 teams are ranked in the latest AP Top 25 poll. Arizona leads the charge at No. 10, while Oregon is 12th, UCLA is 18th, Arizona State is 20th, Utah is 24th and Stanford is 25th. The six teams are the second-most of any conference behind the SEC’s seven. It is also the most ranked Pac-12 teams since the preseason poll, when six teams from the Conference of Champions were in the top 25.
Raise your hand if you thought Arizona would be the last undefeated team in the Pac-12. It seemed highly improbable at the onset of the season, but with a convincing 31-24 win in Eugene Thursday and UCLA’s loss to Utah, that is precisely the case. These 'Cats have a lot of gumption and very good freshmen at quarterback and running back in Anu Solomon and Nick Wilson, and the result is a 5-0 record and No. 10 ranking. This breaks a spell of 29 consecutive polls in which Arizona was not ranked according to College Poll Archive. The last time Arizona was ranked was Oct. 28, 2012 after beating USC (and Marqise Lee being just unable to haul in a Hail Mary at the end, interestingly enough). It’s the first time Arizona has been in the AP top 10 since 2010.
A 4-1 record through five games wasn’t what the Ducks had envisioned in the preseason, but with 11 teams in last week’s AP Top 25 losing, things could be worse. If one thing has become clear, it’s that it’s going to be nearly impossible to run the table in college football this year, so the Ducks will have their chances to creep back into the College Football Playoff picture. Oregon dropped 10 spots to No. 12, but it will have a chance to scoot back up with a huge showdown in the Rose Bowl next week against UCLA.
The Bruins felt the heat Saturday night as Brett Hundley was sacked 10 times in a 30-28 loss to the Utes that ruined UCLA’s chances at a perfect season. So, like a whole bunch of others, UCLA dropped this week, its fall being 10 spots to No. 18. No time to feel sorry for itself, however, with Oregon coming to town.
Trailing by nine to USC with three minutes to go, Arizona Statelooked like it was headed for its second consecutive conference loss. And then, well, Mike Bercovici got that arm a-crankin’ and, wait for it… the Sun Devils won on a Hail Mary (or “Jael Mary” as some have called it since it was caught by Jaelen Strong). We haven’t seen any Hail Marys recently, have we? Bercovici has thrown for 998 yards in his two starts in place of Taylor Kelly, and Arizona State is back into the AP rankings with a No. 20 next to its name.
Welcome back to the top 25, Utah. One week after losing a 28-27 heartbreaker at home to Washington State, the Utes shocked UCLA 30-28 in large part because of a defense that didn’t let Brett Hundley relax and the insertion of Kendal Thompson at quarterback. The Utes are the No. 24 team in the country for their first ranking since 2010. And hey, at 4-1 and 1-1 in conference play, the Utes are right in the thick of it in the Pac-12 South. These guys look VERY good.
Another trip to South Bend, another game ending in heartbreak. It looked like a 14-10 lead in the final three minutes would be insurmountable with the way Stanford’s defense was playing, but Everett Golson found Ben Koyack in the back of the end zone on fourth down with 1:01 remaining, and the Fighting Irish beat the Cardinal 17-14. No shame in losing to Notre Dame on the road, but Stanford does have more than a few things to shore up offensively. The loss dropped the Cardinal to 25, a slip of 11 places, and now it will have to get ready on a short week for a Washington State team that lost an absolute thriller to Cal Saturday night. On the bright side, Stanford has been ranked in the AP poll for a school-record 71 consecutive weeks.
USC received 61 voting points after the 38-34 heartbreaking loss to Arizona State, while Cal received six tallies of confidence after a 60-59 barn burner over Wazzu. One year after going 0-9 in Pac-12 play, the Golden Bears are all alone in first place in the Pac-12 North.