AP Top 25: Washington moves into top 4, Utah up, Colorado back in

Washington moved up to No. 4 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 Poll, while Utah moved up to No. 17 and Colorado got back in at No. 23 to give the Pac-12 three ranked teams. The SEC has six teams in to lead the way, while the ACC and Big Ten each have five, the Big 12 has three and the Mountain West, Mid-American and American Athletic Conference each have one.

Washington

The fruit baskets are on their way to Happy Valley from Montlake. Thanks to Penn State’s 24-21 stunner over THE Ohio State University, Washington moved up into AP College Football Playoff territory with a brand spankin’ new No. 4 ranking, marking the first time a Pac-12 team has been ranked in the top four this season. Of course, the Dawgs had to also take care of Oregon State, which they did in convincing fashion. Building a 31-0 halftime lead en route to a 41-17 victory behind three passing touchdowns from Jake Browning, the Huskies have now won 10 in a row, making this the longest winning streak for Washington since 2000-01 (12 straight). Up next just might be a preview of the Pac-12 Football Championship Game, as the Dawgs head to the SLC to take on Utah.

Utah

So much for that retirement, Joe Williams (who knew so many injuries in the backfield could turn out to be a good thing?). The retried-for-a-month Williams rushed for a school-record 332 yards along with four touchdowns in his second game back in leading the Utes to a 52-45 win at UCLA, solidifying Utah’s case as a Pac-12 South contender and essentially eliminating the Bruins from Pac-12 Football Championship Game contention (highly, highly unlikely a 5-4 team is headed to Santa Clara, especially with two teams at 4-1 already). With the win, the now-No. 17 (a jump up of two spots) Utes improve to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the Pac-12 South for the second straight year. And for the second straight year, Utah heads into its game against Washington with that exact same overall and conference record. Looking for some good mojo, Utah fans? The Utes won that game 34-23 in Seattle last year to get to 8-1.

Colorado

Welcome back to the rankings, Colorado. After a 10-5 (yes, you read that correctly) triumph at Stanford, the Buffs sneak back into the AP top 25 at No. 23 for their second ranking of the season despite three missed field goals from their backup kicker and a touchdown called back by a penalty. Perhaps more importantly is the fact that the Buffs are 6-2, making them bowl eligible for the first time since 2007. Taking a look at the schedule (vs. UCLA, at Arizona, vs. Washington State), it is not hard to imagine Colorado heading into the season finale at home against Utah with a 9-2 record in a game that could very well decide a spot in Santa Clara.

Here’s the AP top 25 in full (first-place votes in parentheses):

  1. Alabama (60)
  2. Michigan (1)
  3. Clemson
  4. Washington
  5. Louisville
  6. Ohio State
  7. Nebraska
  8. Baylor
  9. Texas A&M
  10. West Virginia
  11. Wisconsin
  12. Florida State
  13. Boise State
  14. Florida
  15. Auburn
  16. Oklahoma
  17. Utah
  18. Tennessee
  19. LSU
  20. Western Michigan
  21. North Carolina
  22. Navy
  23. Colorado
  24. Penn State
  25. Virginia Tech
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