CFP Top 25 bowl games: USC to Cotton Bowl, UW to Fiesta Bowl
Pac-12 champion USC is ranked No. 8 in the final College Football Playoff Top 25 rankings, it was announced Sunday morning. Overall, four Pac-12 teams made the final CFP top 25, with Washington checking in at No. 11, Stanford at No. 13 and Washington State at No. 18.
The College Football Playoff committee selected No. 1 Clemson, No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 Georgia and No. 4 Alabama to play in the College Football Playoff. For the second time in four playoffs, a two-loss Pac-12 champion has been left out of the national semifinals.
Big Ten champion Ohio State was ranked fifth, while Big Ten runner-up Wisconsin was ranked sixth and Auburn finished seventh. This is the first time in the College Football Playoff era that a Power 5 conference does not have a team slotted in the top seven in the final rankings.
The Trojans jumped up two spots from 10th to eighth following a 31-28 win over Stanford in what is probably one of the two best Pac-12 Football Championship Games that have been played (Stanford’s win over UCLA in 2012 is also up there). Quarterback Sam Darnold and running back Ronald Jones were fantastic in helping the Trojans to their 11th win of the season and giving them their first Pac-12 title since 2008 (it’s also the first conference title for a Pac-12 South team since ’08 and the first time a Pac-12 South team has won the conference championship game).
While the Trojans won’t be playing in a national semifinal, they have a very juicy matchup with Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl (Dec. 29, 5:30 p.m. PT, ESPN). The Rose Bowl might be in the College Football Playoff rotation this year, but we get a matchup fo the Big Ten and Pac-12 Xhampions regardless — in JerryWorld, no less. This will be a fun one.
Washington wrapped up its season on a strong note, picking up a thrilling win against Utah and thrashing Washington State in the Apple Cup for a second straight double-digit-win regular season. The Huskies got some big help from a New Year’s Six Bowl perspective with Oklahoma beating TCU to hop up to No. 11 (the Huskies were ranked 13th last week and also jumped Stanford in the rankings). The jump up to 11 was good enough to give the Pac-12 a second team in a New Year's Six Bowl, as Washington is off to the Fiesta Bowl to take on No. 9 Penn State for another Pac-12/Big Ten matchup in a premier bowl game (Dec. 30, 1 p.m. PT, ESPN).
It’s not something you necessarily brag about, but Stanford can say it’s the best four-loss team in the country after dropping just one spot to No. 13 following the loss to the Trojans in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game on Friday night. ‘Twas a gutty performance from Bryce Love, who is almost certainly making the trip to New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation, and K.J. Costello gave Stanford fans plenty of reasons to be excited for the 2018 season. But first, the bowl game, which will pit the Cardinal against TCU in the Alamo Bowl in a battle of Pac-12 and Big 12 runners-up (Dec. 28, 6 p.m. PT, ESPN), according to college football reporter Brett McMurphy.
No movement for Washington State, which was idle and stayed at No. 18. Still an interesting week on the Palouse, with all the rumors swirling about regarding Mike Leach and the Tennessee opening (those have since died down). The Cougs will play their 13th game in San Diego for the second consecutive season, as Washington State will face Michigan State in the Holiday Bowl (Dec. 28, 3 p.m. PT, FOX Sports 1), according to McMurphy.
Here’s the Final CFP Top 25 in full:
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Miami (FL)
- Notre Dame
- Michigan State
- Washington State
- Oklahoma State
- Virginia Tech
- Mississippi State
- NC State
- Boise State