AP Top 25: Washington State jumps 11 spots, Stanford and Utah join the party

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No. 14 Washington State tops a list of five Pac-12 teams ranked in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll. Utah and Stanford jump into the poll at No. 23 and No. 24, respectively, while Washington stood pat at No. 15 and Oregon dropped to No. 19.

Alabama continues to top the poll, and Clemson moved up one spot to No. 2 following Ohio State’s blowout loss at Purdue.

Washington State

And then there was one… team in the Pac-12 with only one loss. And if you thought that team would be Washington State at the beginning of the season, I’ll be asking you for advice on which numbers to choose for the next Mega Millions drawing. With College GameDay in Pullman for the top-25 showdown against Oregon, the Cougars were world-beaters in the first half before ending the proceedings with a 34-20 win over then-No. 12 Oregon. While Gardner Minshew II had another stellar outing, James Williams’ touchdown run in the first quarter to give the Cougs a 7-0 lead was Marshawn Lynch-against-the-New-Orleans-Saints-esque. I still don’t know how he got into the end zone. That 24-yard scamper to the house helped pave the way to a shiny new ranking of No. 14, a bump up of 11 spots to make the Cougs the highest mover in the AP poll this week. No time to rest on its laurels, however, as the bowl-eligible Cougs gotta head down to The Farm for another contest that will have a huge say in the Pac-12 North race.

Washington

Nice bounce-back win for the Dawgs in taking care of Colorado 27-13 on Montlake Saturday afternoon. Jake Browning threw a key touchdown pass on fourth down in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to two scores and the defense held the Laviska Shenault Jr.-less Buffs to just 263 yards of total offense, but the real highlight was Aaron Fuller’s catch in the first quarter (wowsers). The Huskies stay at No. 15 in the top 25 ahead of a trip to the Bay Area to take on Cal.

Oregon

The Ducks showed some serious fight in the second half, battling back from a 27-0 halftime deficit to make it a 27-20 ballgame in the fourth quarter before Minshew sealed it with a touchdown pass late in the game. Dropping seven spots to No. 19 and now sporting a 5-2 record, the Ducks will try to achieve bowl eligbility next week at Arizona.

Utah

Welcome to the poll for the first time in 2018, Utah. That previous sentence didn’t look like it would be written early in Utah’s game against USC, as the Trojans roared out to a 14-0 lead before the Utes found its groove. And boy, did they find it, piling up 541 yards of total offense en route to a 41-28 win over the Trojans that puts the 23rd-ranked Utes in a tie for first place with USC (obviously the Utes have the tiebreaker). How ‘bout this Utah offense, tho? After facing all sorts of questions about being inept, the Utes have averaged 41 points over their last three games. The only Pac-12 South team to not play in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game, the Utes can take a step closer to erasing that distinction with a win at UCLA, a 2-5 Bruins team that is almost unbelievably just a half-game out of the Pac-12 South lead, on Saturday night.

Stanford

Welcome back to the poll, Stanford. After a loss to Utah knocked the Card all the way out of the poll from No. 14 the previous week, Stanford bounced back with a 20-13 win at Arizona State Thursday night to hop back in at No. 23. Some may have considered the Cardinal’s approach late in the game to be extra conservative, but David Shaw trusted in his defense and forced the Sun Devils to use all of their timeouts. The defense came through as the Sun Devils ran out of time, so the strategy worked well enough to get the Card to 5-2. Up next for Stanford is a big top-25 matchup with a Washington State team coming off an emotional win; can the Card grab a crucial Pac-12 North victory leading up to a monster of a game at Washington the following week?

Here’s the AP Top 25 in full:

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Notre Dame
  4. LSU
  5. Michigan
  6. Texas
  7. Georgia
  8. Oklahoma
  9. Florida
  10. UCF
  11. Ohio State
  12. Kentucky
  13. West Virginia
  14. Washington State
  15. Washington
  16. Texas A&M
  17. Penn State
  18. Iowa
  19. Oregon
  20. Wisconsin
  21. South Florida
  22. NC State
  23. Utah
  24. Stanford
  25. Appalachian State
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