CFP Top 25: Stanford jumps up to No. 9; 5 Pac-12 teams in

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Stanford jumped up to No. 9 in the latest College Football Playoff Top 25 rankings released Tuesday afternoon, keeping the Cardinal within striking distance of the Final Four. Joining Stanford in the CFP rankings are No. 17 Oregon, No. 20 Washington State, No. 22 UCLA and No. 23 Utah. If the College Football Playoff started today, No. 1 Clemson would face No. 4 Iowa, while No. 2 Alabama would meet No. 3 Oklahoma.

Stanford

The Pac-12’s lone hope to get into the top four, Stanford climbed up two spots to No. 9 thanks to a loss by Ohio State and poor performance from Florida. The Cardinal got back on the right track Saturday night, handling Cal 35-22 in the Big Game to win its sixth straight against its Bay Area rival. The win allowed Stanford to clinch the Pac-12 North and leave one more favorable impression upon the committee members on Dec. 5. If Stanford wants to stay in the CFP race, however, it must first defeat No. 6 Notre Dame in a contest that has “CFP elimination game” written all over it. So now just five teams in front of the Cardinal have to drop. It gets too muddy to lay out because some teams could jump the Cardinal with signature wins, but there’s still reason to believe for Stanford and the Pac-12 to get into the CFP.

Oregon

If only Vernon Adams was healthy all year, right? That’s what Ducks fans have been wondering after seeing the Eastern Washington transfer march the Ducks to five straight wins, most recently pasting a surging USC side 48-28 in Eugene. The 8-3 Ducks continue to rise in the CFP rankings, moving up six spots to No. 17. With 2-9 Oregon State being the only opponent left on the schedule before Selection Sunday, the Ducks have no shot of making the College Football Playoff. But, as GoDucks.com editor Rob Moseley points out, there’s still a chance that Oregon will play in a New Year’s Six bowl:

That wouldn’t be a bad way to end a season that started 3-3, now would it?

Washington State

After the lid-lifting loss to Portland State, eight wins seemed to be completely out of the question for Washington State, and not even the most optimistic of Cougar fans would have thought 10 wins would be anywhere near the realm of possibility for this 2015 Wazzu bunch. But the Cougs keep on winning, having now come out victorious in six of their last seven games, and the 8-3 kids from Pullman have 10 wins well within their sights. Making their first-ever appearance in the College Football Playoff Top 25, No. 20 Washington State can ruin 5-6 Washington’s hopes of a bowl game in the Apple Cup, and nothing would make Coug nation happier.

UCLA

A week after blowing a late lead to a red-hot Washington State side, the Bruins picked themselves up and won a huge road game in Salt Lake City to eliminate Utah from Pac-12 South contention. Back in the CFP rankings at No. 22, the Bruins have a winner-take-all battle against hated rival USC in the Coliseum on Saturday, with the victor heading to Santa Clara to take on Stanford in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game. That’s the Bruins’ only way to a New Year’s Six bowl game – win the Pac-12 title, and play a glorified home game in The Granddaddy of Them All.

Utah

An extremely promising start to the 2015 season has gone south for No. 23 Utah with three losses in its last five games after a 17-9 defeat at the hands of UCLA Saturday afternoon. The injury-plagued Utes, who were without all-world back Devontae Booker against the Bruins and will be without Britain Covey on Saturday, will now look to make it four wins in a row against the Buffs on Saturday. Still plenty on the line for the Utes, including their first six-win season in Pac-12 play and a 10-triumph campaign overall.

Here’s the CFP top 25 in full:

  1. Clemson
  2. Alabama
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Iowa
  5. Michigan State
  6. Notre Dame
  7. Baylor
  8. Ohio State
  9. Stanford
  10. Michigan
  11. Oklahoma State
  12. Florida
  13. Florida State
  14. North Carolina
  15. Navy
  16. Northwestern
  17. Oregon
  18. Ole Miss
  19. TCU
  20. Washington State
  21. Mississippi State
  22. UCLA
  23. Utah
  24. Toledo
  25. Temple
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