College Football Playoff top 25: Oregon is 2nd, UCLA is 8th
Oregon stays at No. 2 for the third consecutive week in the latest College Football Playoff top 25 released Tuesday afternoon. The selection committee kept the top 4 the same – No. 1 Alabama would play No. 4 Mississippi State and No. 2 Oregon would greet No. 3 Florida State if the playoff started today. Other Pac-12 teams making the rankings are UCLA (No. 8), Arizona (No. 11), Arizona State (No. 13) and Utah (No. 25).
No change for the No. 2 Ducks. A 44-10 win over Colorado has the Ducks at 10-1 and two wins away from the College Football Playoff. Before worrying about UCLA/Arizona/Arizona State, Oregon first has to take care of its Civil War rival, and the Beavers need that game for bowl eligibility. Rivalry games, especially with a sixth win on the line for one of the teams, are never easy.
No team was a bigger Arkansas fan than UCLA Saturday. The Hogs demolished Ole Miss, allowing UCLA to move up in the CFP rankings… if it could take care of crosstown rival USC. Brett Hundley and Co. did that with ease, making quick work of the Trojans in a 38-20 decision. Winners of five in a row, the Bruins have moved up one spot to No. 8 in the College Football Playoff top 25. Outside of winning out, UCLA will be putting on some burnt orange on Thanksgiving, hoping the Longhorns upset No. 5 TCU. A Texas win in that game not only knocks the Horned Frogs out of UCLA’s way, but it would also boost the Bruins’ strength of schedule since they beat Texas earlier this year. A win for No. 19 Ole Miss over No. 4 Mississippi State and No. 7 Baylor loss to No. 12 Kansas State in December would also help.
The Pac-12 is guaranteed, at the very worst, to have a two-loss conference champion. That in and of itself may be enough for the Pac-12 to have a representative in the inaugural College Football Playoff, but for it to be one of the Arizona schools in the top-4, more dominoes would have to fall (read: more teams above have to lose) and with each passing week, those opportunities are becoming fewer and far between. That said, the beatdown Arizona put on Utah was impressive; you just aren’t supposed to win 42-10 in Rice-Eccles as a road team, especially when your starting quarterback leaves the game with an injury. The 'Cats are gellin’ like Magellan at just the right time, and they’re up to No. 11 as a result, a jump up of four spots. In order for Arizona to play on Dec. 5, it needs to beat Arizona State and UCLA needs to lose to Stanford. Those things happen, and then Arizona beats Oregon for a second time? That’s quite the case for a top-4 spot.
Taylor Kelly bounced back nicely on senior day in Tempe, leading the Sun Devils from 14 down to beat Washington State 52-31 and keeping ASU at No. 13 in the CFP rankings. The loss to Oregon State really hindered the Forks’ chances of being a top-4 team by season’s end, but they’re still in the hunt for the Pac-12 Football Championship Game. Beat Arizona and pull out the UCLA voodoo doll for its game against Stanford and the Forks will get their shot at the Ducks. The win over Notre Dame doesn’t look nearly as strong as it used to before the Fighting Irish lost to Northwestern and Louisville, but potential wins over Arizona and Oregon would be mighty nice for the resume.
Disheartening loss for the Utes in their final home game of the season, and the 42-10 defeat cost them eight spots. However, the 25th-ranked Utes can get clinch their first winning record in Pac-12 play by defeating a pesky Colorado team that is better than that its 2-9 record indicates. Seven wins is already considered a successful season for the Utes, but 8-4 and 5-4 in conference would be extra sweet heading into a bowl game.
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