CFP Top 25: USC stays at 11; WSU, UW and Stanford move up one spot

John McGillen / AP Photos / Washington Athletics / StanfordPhoto.com

USC continues to lead the way for Pac-12 teams in the College Football Playoff Top 25 rankings. The Pac-12 South champion Trojans remain at No. 11 for the third consecutive week, while Washington State is 13th, Washington is 17th and Stanford is 21st.

The current CFP top four is No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Miami, No. 3 Clemson and No. 4 Oklahoma.

USC

A trip to Santa Clara already in tow, USC took down UCLA 28-23 Saturday night at the Coliseum to wrap up its regular season with a 10-2 record. Unfortunately for the Trojans, nobody in the CFP top 10 lost last weekend, so the Trojans stand pat at No. 11. It’s looking very unlikely that the Trojans will go the College Football Playoff even with a win over either Stanford or Washington State in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game, but I’m not sure anyone could confidently say that there are four teams in the country that could do what USC did this year. The Trojans played 12 straight weeks in the regular season and faced 11 Power Five opponents, including Notre Dame. No team in the CFP top 10 played 12 consecutive weeks, and neither did any team in the CFP top face only one Group of Five school. Not only that, but the Trojans’ other game was against Western Michigan, which was one year removed from losing by one possession to Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl.

So USC faced all that and still went 10-2, with its only losses coming against No. 13 Washington State on a Friday night (after a Saturday road game, no less) and No. 8 Notre Dame on the road. Sure, the Trojans got dominated in South Bend, but it’s not exactly the easiest thing to make a four-hour flight in the middle of your conference season to take on a top-15 team. On the other hand, you can say that the Trojans have only beaten one CFP top 25 team in Stanford and has only two wins against teams with seven wins or more at the moment (Stanford and Arizona). Either way, not a whole lot of love for the Trojans, even if CFP committee chairman Kirby Hocutt said the committee has been impressed by USC.

Washington State

‘Twas an idle date for the Cougars, but Oklahoma State’s loss to Kansas State allowed the Cougars to jump up one spot to No. 13. The Apple Cup will again decide the Pac-12 North – Washington State wins, it’s USC-Wazzu for the Pac-12 title; Washington wins, it’s Stanford-USC for the second time in three years. From a Cougar perspective, a win over the Dawgs would give the Cougs a fourth win over a team currently in the CFP top 25 (they’ve already defeated USC, Stanford and Boise State) and probably a higher ranking than the Trojans going into the Pac-12 championship game. Win that, and the Cougars are looking at a trip to the Fiesta Bowl with a single-digit ranking.

Washington

Thrilling come-from-behind victory for the Dawgs over Utah Saturday night, one that permitted Washington a hop up of one spot to No. 17 in the latest CFP rankings. The Huskies won’t be able to play for the Pac-12 title as a result of Stanford’s win over Cal, but they can ruin their rivals’ moods and likely jump into the top 15 with a win on Montlake in the regular season finale. If the Huskies do that, they give themselves an outside shot at a New Year’s Six Bowl game. In order for that to happen, Washington would probably like to see teams like Mississippi State, TCU and Ohio State to drop another game.

Stanford

After bringing home The Axe for the eighth straight year, the Cardinal moved up one spot to No. 21 in the CFP top 25. Defeating Cal kept the Cardinal alive for the Pac-12 Football Championship Game, which in turn gives Stanford a path to a New Year’s Six Bowl. But first, the Cardinal needs to put on its purple and gold gear and root for the Huskies to win the Apple Cup, because that’s the only way Stanford gets to play in Santa Clara on Dec. 1. As far as its own business is concerned, the Cardinal can make a sizable leap next week if it can defeat No. 8 Notre Dame Saturday night on The Farm and some nice momentum into a potential conference championship game.

Here is the CFP Top 25 in full:

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