CFP Top 25: Washington falls to No. 6, Colorado cracks top 10

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Washington fell out of the top four of the latest College Football Playoff Top 25 rankings following its loss to USC, dropping to No 6, while Colorado joined the Huskies in the top 10 at No. 10. There are six Pac-12 teams overall ranked in the latest CFP Top 25, with Utah standing at No. 12, USC at No. 13, Washington State at No. 22 and Stanford at No. 24. If the College Football Playoff were to begin today, No. 1 Alabama would play No. 4 Clemson in one semifinal, while No. 2 Ohio State would play No. 3 Michigan in the other.

Washington

Sam Darnold’s brilliance and a stalled Husky offense dashed Washington’s hopes of a perfect season Saturday on Montlake, as the Huskies dropped a 26-13 decision to red-hot USC. The Huskies didn’t get penalized too much, dropping two spots from No. 4 to No. 6. The good news for the Huskies is that there are potentially two more quality wins on the ledger with Washington State and either Colorado, Utah or USC in a possible Pac-12 Football Championship Game. Combine that with the fact that there are two Big Ten and two ACC teams in front of it, and that No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan still have to play each other, there’s a very good chance that a 12-1 Pac-12 champion would be able to get back to the top four. The bad news is that there are teams behind Washington that could potentially jump the Huskies even if Washington wins out (looking at you, Penn State and Wisconsin). But first things first – take care of Arizona State at home.

Colorado

What more can you say about the Buffs? After handling Arizona 49-24, the 8-2 Buffs moved up two spots to No. 10 for its first ever CFP top 10 ranking. And check out this remaining schedule – No. 22 Washington State and No. 12 Utah at home. Win both of those, and the Buffs would get either another game with Washington State or a first crack at Washington. Win the Pac-12 Football Championship Game, and the Buffs would be 11-2 with wins against ranked CFP teams (and maybe even two top 10 teams if Washington makes it to Santa Clara) in their last three games, with their only losses coming against top-15 teams in Michigan and USC. That would be a very tough resume to keep out of the top 4, but Colorado will still likely need some help.

Utah

Only two spots behind the Buffs, you can almost make the same argument for the No. 12 Utes (up three spots from 15 after beating Arizona State 49-26) to get to the CFP semifinals, but Utah’s penultimate regular season game isn’t nearly as strong (3-7 Oregon at home) as Colorado’s. It’s a very tough path for the Utes, but a New Year’s Six Bowl or the Rose Bowl is still very much in play for 8-2 Utah. That season finale against the Buffs is certainly going to have some juice on it.

USC

With the exception of the top-ranked Crimson Tide (which demolished USC in the season opener), there’s an argument to be made that USC is the hottest team in the country. Following the decisive upset of Washington, the Trojans have defeated two CFP top 10 teams on their six-game winning streak and have one of the most promising freshman quarterbacks in the country. Following the 26-13 win over U-Dub, the Trojans jumped up seven spots to No. 13 in the CFP rankings. There’s pretty much no path to the semis for the Trojans save for total Armageddon, but the Trojans can still win the Pac-12 championship and go to the Rose Bowl. Considering how this season started (mind you, all three of their losses are against top 25 teams now), that would be a HUGE accomplishment. Unfortunately for Clay Helton and Co., the Trojans do not control their own destiny in the Pac-12 South, needing one more loss apiece from Utah and Colorado. So it’s “Go Cougs” this week and “Go Buffs” next week for USC fans.

Washington State

If only they didn’t lose to Eastern Washington… That phrase has probably been uttered thousands of times in the Palouse over the last couple of weeks, as the Cougars jumped up one spot to No. 22 after manhandling Cal 56-21 last weekend. In imaginary land, a 9-1 Washington State team with a win over EWU would probably be in the top 10 right now, but in reality, the Cougars are in sole possession of first place in the Pac-12 North as the only team in the Pac-12 that does not have a league loss. The Cougars will be put to the test this weekend at No. 10 Colorado, but even if the Cougars lose that game, they will still go to Santa Clara by beating Washington in the Apple Cup. Wins over Colorado and Washington would probably vault the Cougs into the top 10 or close to it, and a win in the Pac-12 Football Championship game would probably have them as a single-digit-ranking team heading into the bowl season.

Stanford

Well there’s absolutely no path to the College Football Playoff or even the Pac-12 Football Championship Game on The Farm, but a round of applause for David Shaw’s group for winning three straight after blowing out Oregon 52-27 in Eugene last weekend (and the game wasn’t even that close). Granted, the wins have come against teams that won’t be bowling this year, but Stanford has secured its eighth consecutive winning season and is in the CFP rankings at No. 24 for the first time this season. Christian McCaffrey has looked like his 2015 self in recent weeks and Keller Chryst has shown some promise, so maybe those are some things the Cardinal can carry forward into 2017.

Here’s the CFP Top 25 in full:

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