Oregon up to No. 6, Six Pac-12 teams ranked in latest AP poll
Six Pac-12 teams are ranked in the AP Top 25 poll for the third consecutive week. Oregon moves up to No. 6, while Arizona State is 14th, Arizona is 15th, Utah is 19th, USC is 20th and UCLA hops back in at No. 25. For the second straight week, the Pac-12 matches the SEC for most ranked teams by conference, while the Big 12 is right behind the two with five ranked teams.
Make it two straight weeks of impressive conference triumphs for the Ducks. A week after going into the Rose Bowl and blasting away the Bruins, Oregon returned home to do away with Washington by a 45-20 count. Twenty years after “The Pick,” another Oregon freshman stood tall: running back Royce Freeman, who rushed for four touchdowns to go along with a career-high 169 yards on the ground. Thanks to losses from Baylor (the Bears committed 18 penalties for a Big 12-record 215 yards against West Virginia) and Notre Dame (instant classic against Florida State), the Quacks moved up three spots to No. 6.
The Forks got the revenge they desired. Outclassed by the Cardinal twice in 2013 (including a lopsided loss in Tempe for the Pac-12 Football Championship Game), Arizona State thoroughly outplayed Stanford in a 26-10 victory Saturday night at Sun Devil Stadium. In addition to jumping up to No. 14, the win makes Todd Graham’s 5-1 overall and 3-1 in Pac-12 play. Tied in the loss column with USC, Arizona and Utah with a win over the Trojans in hand, the Sun Devils control their own destiny in the Pac-12 South.
On a bye week, the Wildcats were able to kick back and even move up a spot to No. 15 following losses by the Oklahoma schools (Arizona State made sure its Territorial Cup rivals didn’t move up too high with that win over Stanford). This is the last week of rest for the 5-1 Fighting RichRods, however, as the rest of their weekends are filled with Pac-12 battles, four of which come against their southern brethren. However, the second-half push begins next weekend against a northern foe in Pullman.
Now we’re even – a year after losing at home to Oregon State in overtime, the Utes returned the favor in Corvallis Thursday night by beating the Beavers 29-23 in double OT. Utah had its troubles moving the ball through the air, but Devontae Booker was a beast on the ground, piling up 229 rushing yards and punching in the game-winning score. As a result of the road win, Utah jumped up one place to No. 19, its highest ranking since the 2010 season when it was still a member of the Mountain West Conference (thanks CollegePollArchive.com). The Utes won five games in each of their last two seasons and have a whole half of a regular season to get one more to achieve bowl eligibility. Of course, the Utes have their sights set much higher than six wins…
USC quarterback Cody Kessler set a school record by throwing for seven TD passes in a comfortable 56-28 victory over the Buffs. As a result, USC is the first team in the Pac-12 to four conference victories. Also as a result, the Trojans climbed up to No. 20 with a 5-2 overall record. No time to rest for the Trojans though, because USC has a huge Pac-12 South showdown with Utah in Salt Lake City next Saturday. The Trojans are 18-3 all-time against the mountain schools and have yet to lose to Colorado and Utah since they entered the Pac-12, but these 2014 Utes look like the strongest team fielded in Salt Lake City since joining the Conference of Champions.
Welcome back to the poll, Bruins. It took a full 60 minutes, but UCLA held off Cal 36-34 after Marcus Rios picked off a Jared Goff pass deep in Bruin territory (don’t ask Golden Bears fans what they think of that ruling on the field). UCLA was the first team left out of the poll last week after a humbling 42-30 loss to Oregon, but is back in there as the last team in at No. 25. According to CollegePollArchive.com, the Bruins have been ranked in 25 of the last 26 AP polls.
The loss to Arizona State snapped Stanford’s program-record streak of 72 consecutive appearances in the AP poll, but the Cardinal did rack up four voting points.