AP Top 25: USC jumps to 6th, UCLA enters top 10
Five Pac-12 teams are ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll for the second consecutive week, with USC moving up to No. 6, UCLA claiming the No. 10 spot, Oregon falling to 12th, Arizona jumping to 20th and Utah to 21st. The five ranked teams are the second most of any conference, trailing the SEC’s seven.
With an ugly Auburn overtime win over FCS Jacksonville State and Oregon’s close loss to Michigan State, USC had an opportunity to move up in the rankings provided it took care of business. No problems there, as USC easily handled Idaho 59-9 behind a career-high 410-yard passing game from Heisman hopeful Cody Kessler and a 192-yard receiving game from the oh-so-explosive JuJu Smith-Schuster (also a career high). The Trojans, which gained 737 yards of total offense Saturday night against the Vandals, moved up two spots to No. 6 as a result. Outscoring two Sun Belt opponents 114-15 was fun, but now the trek gets tougher for USC, which must face five teams in a row that played in bowl games in the 2014 season, starting with in-state rival Stanford.
Josh Rosen wasn’t nearly as spectacular Saturday night as he was in his collegiate debut against Virginia, completing a tad more than half of his passes for 223 yards, a touchdown and a pick, but it hardly mattered as UCLA coasted to a 37-3 win over UNLV in Sin City. The convincing result was enough to push the Bruins up three spots to No. 10 as it heads into its final nonconference test against BYU. Saturday was Paul Perkins’ show, as the Pac-12’s leading rusher in 2014 plowed his way to 151 yards and two scores on the ground. The pass defense also came to play, holding UNLV quarterbacks to just six completions on 23 attempts (albeit doing so mostly against a slew of backups).
Oregon was on the wrong side of a revenge game Saturday night, narrowly falling to Michigan State 31-28 in the biggest game of the weekend. Vernon Adams and the Oregon offense were able to cut into a 10-point deficit late in the fourth quarter, but Adams was unable to complete the comeback after his fourth-and-16 pass in Michigan State territory fell incomplete in the final minute. No shame in losing by three to a top-five team, however, so Oregon dropped five spots to No. 12. One loss isn’t a huge deal, as a one-loss regular season didn’t stop the Ducks or Ohio State Buckeyes from playing in the national championship game last year. The Ducks will look to get right next weekend against Georgia State.
Reno hasn’t always been a welcome destination for Pac-12 teams, but Arizona was able to avenge Washington State’s loss in the Biggest Little City in the World to Nevada last year with a 44-20 triumph over the Wolf Pack Saturday evening. The performance was good enough to shift the Wildcats up two spots to No. 20 as it preps for what figures to be its easiest game of the season against FCS Northern Arizona (but never chalk up a “W” against a Big Sky team before taking the field – just ask Oregon State, Colorado and Washington State). Saturday night belonged to quarterback Anu Solomon and running back Nick Wilson, as Solomon flung the pigskin around to the tune of 264 yards and two scores while Wilson sped his way to 194 rushing yards and three trips to paydirt. Czech out this stat, courtesy of the Arizona-Nevada AP gamer – the sophomore duo has combined for 54 touchdowns and more than 6,300 yards of total offense in their careers.
The Utes got their work done early this week by beating Utah State 24-14 Friday night at Rice-Eccles and got to sit back and watch then-No. 18 Arkansas lose at home to Toledo, then-No. 23 Tennessee drop a close one to Oklahoma and then-No. 20 Boise State fall at BYU. That allowed the Utes to climb in the polls for a second consecutive week up to No. 21, an increase of three spots. Utah didn’t come out of their 24-14 triumph in the Battle of the Brothers without some scratches, as quarterback Travis Wilson and defensive end Hunter Dimick left the game with injuries. There is hope that Wilson will be back for the Oregon game in two weeks, meaning it’ll be up to Kendal Thompson to serve up some offense at Fresno State next weekend.
Three other Pac-12 teams received votes – Arizona State got 20 voting points after a less-than-inspiring 35-21 win over Cal Poly, Cal notched five after an impressive 35-7 win over San Diego State and Stanford took home three after a convincing 31-7 triumph over UCF.
Here’s the AP Top 25 in full:
- Ohio State (59 first-place votes)
- Michigan State (2)
- Notre Dame
- Florida State
- Georgia Tech
- Ole Miss
- Texas A&M
- Oklahoma State