AP Top 25: Utah jumps into top 10, gets vote for No. 1
After a weekend filled with road blowouts around the conference, five Pac-12 teams are ranked in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll – UCLA is No. 7, Utah jumps to 10th, USC is 17th, Stanford improves to 18th, and Cal gets in there at No. 24 for the Golden Bears’ first AP ranking in nearly six years. The five ranked teams are tied for second most of any conference along with the Big Ten and Big 12, while the SEC leads the pack with seven ranked squads.
Saturday was supposed to be a recipe for defeat for UCLA as it headed to Tucson for a Pac-12 South battle with Arizona. The Bruins had just lost Myles Jack and Fabian Moreau for the season and Josh Rosen had been struggling the past couple of weeks after an amazing debut. And - oh yeah - College GameDay was in town, and the ZonaZoo was fired up. While the media was busy feeling sorry for the Bruins, Jim Mora was busy preparing his guys for an eventual 26-point beat-down of the then-No. 16 team in the nation. While the defense did give up more than 350 rushing yards, Josh Rosen was back to his Virginia self, throwing for 284 yards and two touchdowns and essentially ending the game by halftime. And, while nobody in last week’s poll ahead of the Bruins lost, UCLA still jumped up two spots to No. 7 because that 56-30 win was oh-so impressive.
I’m sure there were plenty of Utah fans who thought their boys would get it done in Eugene, but by 42?! Utah pulled out its bag of tricks a month before Halloween in a 62-20 (yes, 62-20) curb-stomping of the Ducks that featured a 33-yard run by punter Tom Hackett, a touchdown pass from running back Devontae Booker, and a punt return for a touchdown by a guy (Boobie Hobbs) nobody on Oregon thought had the football until it was too late. The win was more than just smoke and mirrors, though, as Travis Wilson threw four touchdown passes and ran for another and the defense held the high-octane Quack Attack scoreless in the decisive third quarter. As such, the Utes are up eight spots to No. 10 (and even received one vote for first), marking the first time they have been ranked in the AP top 10 since joining the Pac-12 (they jumped up to No. 6 in the Oct. 31, 2010, poll).
If you didn’t know any better, you would have thought the ground was crumbling in Troy. After a 41-31 loss to Stanford, people were writing off USC and questioning how long Steve Sarkisian could hold on to his job. And, heading into Tempe to face an Arizona State team picked by more than a few to win the Pac-12 South, many thought the Trojans were staring 2-2 in the face. And then Saturday night happened – USC made the haters slow their roll by storming out to a 35-0 halftime lead and silencing the Sun Devils 42-14 when it was all said and done. Thanks to a 375-yard, five-touchdown performance from Cody Kessler and an opportunistic defense that created four turnovers, all of which led to USC touchdowns., the road spanking lifted the Trojans up two spots to No. 17 heading into their shortened bye week before a Thursday nighter at home against Washington.
Stanford continued its stretch of solid play, busting the game open in the third quarter en route to a 42-24 win at Oregon State. Christian McCaffrey was the main stud for David Shaw, notching the fifth-highest single-game rushing performance in Stanford history by ripping off 206 yards on the ground. A not-100-percent Kevin Hogan did what he had to do in his limited passing attempts, making accurate throws and somehow fitting a deep ball down the sideline in double coverage into the mitts of Michael Rector for a 49-yard score. Stanford sat back Saturday and watched a few teams in front of it lose to help push the Cardinal up three spots to No. 18 as it now gets ready to face an Arizona squad that probably can’t wait to get back on the field.
Welcome back to Pollville, Cal. A 30-24 win over Washington gave the Golden Bears their second consecutive win on the road, their first 4-0 start since 2007 and their first AP top 25 ranking since the Nov. 29, 2009, poll (they were No. 24 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll after a 2-0 start in 2010). Jared Goff had another Goff-like game by throwing for 342 yards and two scores (with a pick mixed in) and Vic Enwere was able to move the chains on the ground while the defense held the Dawgs to 259 yards of total offense and picked off two Jake Browning passes. The Golden Bears find themselves at No. 24 with a shot to get to 5-0 with Washington State coming to town before it heads out to Salt Lake City in two weeks for what could be a battle of two top-20 teams.
Arizona and Oregon both fell out of the poll after getting shellacked at home by UCLA and Utah, respectively. Formerly 16th, Arizona received 48 voting points, while previously-13th-ranked Oregon received 64. Arizona State, which had been receiving votes, did not get any after losing by 28 at home to USC.
Here’s the top 25 in full:
- Ohio State (45)
- Michigan State (5)
- Ole Miss (10)
- Notre Dame
- Utah (1)
- Florida State
- Texas A&M
- Oklahoma State
- Mississippi State
- West Virginia