AP Top 25: Pac-12 ties SEC with 6 ranked teams
Six Pac-12 teams are ranked in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll, with the Bruins leading the way – UCLA is No. 9, Oregon is 13th, Arizona is 16th, Utah climbs to 18th, USC falls to 19th and Stanford climbs back in at No. 21. The six ranked teams are tied for most of any conference with the SEC.
The Pac-12 had performed much better over the last week in out-of-conference contests, but it wasn’t until UCLA’s 24-23 win over then-No. 19 BYU that the Pac-12 notched its first non-league dub against a ranked opponent. That, combined with some Pac-12 fratricide, helped move the Bruins up one spot to No. 9. Josh Rosen certainly had his freshman moments, throwing three picks, but stud rusher Paul Perkins picked up the slack by rushing for 219 yards and a score. With the win, UCLA improves to 12-0 in regular season nonconference games under Jim Mora (all against FBS opponents, mind you). Now the Bruins must ready themselves for a road test in the national spotlight against a top-20 Arizona side.
No Vernon Adams, no problem for the Ducks, as veteran backup QB Jeff Lockie guided the Oregon cruise ship to a 61-28 thumping of Georgia State. Lockie threw for 228 yards and two scores in his first career start while completing nearly 75 percent of his passes. Despite that, the Ducks still dropped a spot to 13th (giving up 431 yards to a Sun Belt school probably didn’t help their cause). Oregon will have a chance to make a bigger statement next week when it hosts Utah in another top-20 conference clash.
Arizona, which jumped up four spots to No. 16, broke school marks for points, total yards (792) and rushing yards (493) in a 77-13 smashing of FCS Northern Arizona. In a game where pretty much everyone got in on the fun, backup quarterback Jerrard Randall scored on two runs of 73 and 72 yards to put a couple of exclamation points on the proceedings. Like UCLA, Arizona is 12-0 in nonconference regular season games under its fourth-year head coach. Things now get considerably tougher for Rich Rod and Friends, as College GameDay comes to Tucson for a Pac-12 South battle that figures to have a large say in who heads to Santa Clara.
It had to be a satisfying game for Devontae Booker, who piled up 212 yards of offense (156 rushing, 56 receiving) on the team he was supposed to play for in Utah’s 45-24 win over Fresno State in California. As a result, the Utes moved up three spots and now sit at 18th in the AP poll. Now it’s off to Eugene for a North-South clash of clans, and while Kendal Thompson got the job done in Fresno (19-25 passing for 159 yards for a TD and a pick), the Utes would probably welcome back a healthy-ish Travis Wilson.
September and early October losses have crept up on USC over the years, and this latest one dropped the Trojans 13 spots all the way from sixth to 19th. While the offense looked as potent as always with Cody Kessler throwing three touchdown passes and JuJu Smith-Schuster going off for 153 yards, the Trojans couldn’t stop the Cardinal’s ball-control offense, allowing the Card to possess it for nearly 40 minutes and rack up 474 yards. The road doesn’t get any easier for the Trojans either, as USC must now head down to Tempe to take on Arizona State.
Raise your hand if you thought two weeks ago that Stanford would be able to hang 41 on USC after not reaching the end zone at Northwestern (I don’t see too many hands). The Farm Boys seem to be at their best when everyone counts them out, and Saturday night’s 41-31 win over then-No. 6 USC was just the latest example of said phenomenon. Big-game Kevin Hogan had, well, another big game by throwing for 279 yards and two touchies and Ed McCaffrey’s kid proved to be an every-down back by ripping off 115 yards on 26 carries. Oh, and Austin Hooper? He’s a good tight end, to say the least. All this offset the powerful Trojan offense and moved the Cardinal back into the AP poll at No. 21, its preseason ranking. It’s a short week for Nerd Nation as Stanford heads to Reser (a house of horrors for heavy favorites) to match wits with Oregon State.
Two Pac-12 teams received votes, with Cal notching 38 voting points (29th most) after a thrilling 45-44 win in Austin and Arizona State getting 25 after handling New Mexico 34-10. Click here for the AP Top 25 in full.