AP top 25: Pac-12 ties SEC for most ranked teams with 6
Six Pac-12 teams are ranked in the latest AP top 25 poll for the second consecutive week. Oregon hops back in to the top 10 at No. 9, while Arizona is 16th, Arizona State is 17th, Utah is 20th, USC is 22nd and Stanford is 23rd. For the first time this year, the Pac-12 has tied the SEC for most ranked teams of any conference, with six apiece. This week is also the first time there is a new No. 1 this season, as the Mississippi State Bulldogs have climbed to the top spot for the first time in program history.
Apparently the Ducks didn’t take too kindly to being dropped out of the top 10, and they took all their frustrations out on UCLA in the Rose Bowl. With a resounding 42-30 win and some help from the teams above them, the Quacks are back in there at No. 9 with a 5-1 record and 2-1 mark in the Pac-12. If you like consistency, then you'll like this stat: Oregon has been ranked in the top 10 of 51 of the last 54 AP polls. Also, how good is quarterback Marcus Mariota? Even when he fumbles, he scores a touchdown. That’s just… not fair. Good ole’ Northwest rivalry with the Dawgs next weekend in Eugene.
The stay in the top 10 was shorter than desired for the 'Cats, as Arizona almost completed another remarkable comeback in a 28-26 heartbreaking loss to USC Saturday. The good news? RichRod may have found himself a third reliable running back in Jared Baker – dude scored thrice in the second half. The bad news? Arizona drops six spots to No. 16. Now Arizona has some time to think about things before an Oct. 25 trip to Pullman.
No game for the Forks, but plenty of movement in the polls: Arizona State has jumped up three spots to No. 17. Plenty of intriguing questions surround this team heading forward. For instance, has Mike Bercovici done enough to hold on to the starting job (a good problem to have)? Can ASU serve up a cold dish of revenge to Stanford in Tempe next weekend after the Card thoroughly outplayed the Sun Devils twice in 2013?
The Utes didn’t play, but feel a little more comfortable in the top 25 with a four-spot jump up to No. 20. It probably doesn’t happen very often, but the Utes were the biggest movers upward in this week’s poll for those who were ranked the week before despite not playing. Things’ll get tougher, though, as the Utes have to earn that number next to their name Thursday night with a showdown in Corvallis against the Beavers. Both teams head into that contest 4-1 overall and 1-1 in conference play. From there, the road gets no easier, as the Utes play five ranked teams in succession: USC at home, Arizona State on the road, Oregon at home, at Stanford and home against Arizona. Welcome to Pac-12 football.
What happens when you beat a top-10 team on the road? Why, you get back in the AP top 25! That’s the story for the Trojans after the aforementioned 28-26 dub over Arizona in Tucson. I’m sure there are a few grey hairs on Steve Sarkisian’s head after USC nearly blew a two-possession fourth-quarter lead for the second straight week, but hey, that dude Javorius Allen is a bad, bad man. The one they call “Buck” had a 200-yard rushing game and leads the Pac-12 with 781 yards on the ground. A week after falling out of the top 25, the Trojans jump back in at No. 22.
The Cardinal made sure it extended its school-record streak of consecutive weeks ranked in the top 25 to 72 with a 34-17 win over Washington State under the Friday night lights. Afterwards, coach David Shaw said Friday’s game was the “first night that we looked like us and we felt like us” offensively, and the numbers support that claim: Kevin Hogan threw for 284 yards and three touchdowns, Remound Wright just missed out on becoming Stanford’s first 100-yard rusher of the season with 98 and a score on 14 carries, and the Farm Boys gained 477 yards of total offense overall. The result is a two-spot jump up to No. 23 and a 2013 Pac-12 Football Championship Game rematch in Tempe on the immediate horizon.
UCLA was the first team left out of the poll and piled up 110 voting points, while Washington jumped back into the land of the receiving votes by racking up 22 after an impressive 31-7 pasting of Cal in Berkeley.