CFP Top 25: Washington is No. 9, USC is No. 11, Wazzu is No. 19

Jennifer Buchanan/USA TODAY Sports

Washington jumped into the top 10 of the latest College Football Playoff Top 25, moving up to No. 9. The Huskies are one of three Pac-12 teams in the top 25 alongside No. 11 USC and No. 19 Washington State.

The top four of the College Football Playoff remains unchanged from the first top 25 – Georgia is No. 1, Alabama is No. 2, Notre Dame is No. 3 and Clemson is No. 4.

Washington

Make it two years in a row now that the Dawgs have dominated their Pacific Northwest rivals to the south, shellacking Oregon 38-3 on Saturday in Montlake. That, combined with losses by Oklahoma State, Ohio State and Penn State, allowed the Huskies to jump up three spots from 12th to ninth in the latest CFP standings. At 8-1, the Dawgs have just one road game remaining until a potential Pac-12 Football Championship Game. The problem? That road game is at Stanford in a dreaded Friday night timeslot that has already seen USC and Washington State lose to unranked or lower-ranked teams on the road this season. If the Huskies can get past Stanford, then wins against Utah and Wazzu will get the Dawgs to 11-1 and a trip to Santa Clara.

The Huskies will need some help though. Oklahoma, Iowa and Michigan State helped Washington in a major way by handing second losses to Oklahoma State, Ohio State and Penn State, leaving five teams in front of the Dawgs for No. 4. No. 3 Notre Dame plays No. 7 Miami and No. 5 Oklahoma plays No. 6 TCU this weekend, so depending on how close those games are, Washington could potentially move up to No. 7 just by beating the Cardinal Friday night. The Dawgs will also probably be rooting for top-ranked Georgia to take down No. 10 Auburn, because a Tiger win over an undefeated Bulldogs squad would probably leapfrog Auburn over the Huskies. Enough prognosticating for now; the bottom line is this – Washington still needs help, and the fact that there’s an FBS independent in Notre Dame ahead of the Huskies in addition to teams from the SEC, ACC, Big 12 and Big Ten isn’t helping matters.

USC

USC was quite the mover and shaker in the CFP Top 25 this week, jumping up six spots from 17th to 11th after a 49-35 win over then-No. 22 Arizona in the Coliseum Saturday night. While Washington might currently be in the best position out of any Pac-12 team to get to the College Football Playoff, USC arguably controls its own destiny just as much as the Huskies. Just two spots behind Washington, the Trojans need pretty much all of the same teams to lose that Washington does and will be pulling for the Huskies to arrive in Santa Clara with an 11-1 record. If the Pac-12 title bout is a matchup of 11-1 Washington and 10-2 USC, and both of those teams are, say, in the top seven by then, the Trojans will be in pretty solid shape, or at least in as good of shape as they could hope to be with two losses.

The Trojans have their last road game of the season on Saturday afternoon at 5-5 Colorado before returning home to take on 4-5 UCLA. The one benefit of playing 12 straight weeks in the regular season is that if USC gets to the Pac-12 Football Championship Game, it will have an extra week of rest over the Pac-12 North team, and especially considering the conference title game is on a Friday night this year, that’s a sizable advantage. Washington, Washington State and Stanford – the three remaining contenders in the Pac-12 North – all play Nov. 25, meaning one of those teams would be going into the championship game on a short week.

Washington State

Nice win for the Cougars on Saturday, coming from behind in the fourth quarter to take down then-No. 21 Stanford. Not only did Luke Falk become the Pac-12’s all-time passing yardage leader Saturday, but the win over the Cardinal also pushed the Cougars up six spots to No. 19. The Cougars need a lot more chaos to happen around the country to even sniff the conversation of teams who might have an outside shot of sneaking into the CFP, but the higher the Cougars climb, the better position they put themselves in for a New Year’s Six bowl. The Cougars control their own destiny to Santa Clara but wrap up the regular season with road games at Utah and Washington, so it won’t be an easy road to Levi’s. That said, getting to the end of the regular season at 10-2 would mean the Cougars have another high-quality win and would likely put them somewhere around or just outside the top 10 heading into a 13th game on Dec. 1.

Here’s the CFP Top 25 in full:

  1. Georgia
  2. Alabama
  3. Notre Dame
  4. Clemson
  5. Oklahoma
  6. TCU
  7. Miami (FL)
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Washington
  10. Auburn
  11. USC
  12. Michigan State
  13. Ohio State
  14. Penn State
  15. Oklahoma State
  16. Mississippi State
  17. Virginia Tech
  18. UCF
  19. Washington State
  20. Iowa
  21. Iowa State
  22. Memphis
  23. NC State
  24. LSU
  25. Northwestern
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