After a weekend of college football games, there were a lack of upsets and relatively little movement in the Associated Press poll of the top 25 teams in the country. The AP poll is widely considered one of the benchmark ranking systems for Division I college football programs and it’s analyzed and broken down each week.
USC Trojans- Last week- No. 1. This week- No. 2
Alabama’s dominating win over fellow top 10 team Michigan was enough to leapfrog USC, which was ranked as the best team in the country at the start of the season. USC didn’t do anything bad to move down one spot–it’s just that Bama’s win was more impressive than the Trojans’ 49-10 win over Hawaii. They still received 11 first place votes, but they were dwarfed by the Tide’s 45 first place votes. USC will travel to the Meadowlands this week to take on Syracuse, but I don’t expect them to move back into the No. 1 spot even if they blow out the Orange by 50 points. Alabama will likely hold the spot for a few more weeks until conference play makes things interesting.
Oregon Ducks- Last week- No. 5. This week- No. 4
Oregon moved up one spot after previous No. 4 Oklahoma struggled to beat UTEP. This is the highest that Oregon has ever been ranked this early in the season and, surprisingly enough, Oregon did receive one first place vote in the USA Today poll. Regardless, the Ducks had no problem with Arkansas State as their starters exited the game up 50-3 late in the second quarter. Although their uniforms were different once again, they still displayed the same up-tempo offense that has led them to three straight Pac 12 titles. Redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota impressed in his debut and dark-horse Heisman Trophy candidate De’Anthony Thomas scored three times on only seven offensive touches. I expect the Ducks to continue to stay in the top five all the way into November before their monumental matchup with USC.
Stanford Cardinal- Last week- No. 21. This week- No. 25
The Cardinal hung onto a top 25 spot this week, but barely. In their first game post Andrew Luck, Stanford struggled to move the ball consistently but still scratched out a win over San Jose State. Stanford is not expected to be the team they were last season, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see them bounce in and out of the top 25 all season long. They do have the chance to make some statement wins after their game against Duke this weekend. After hosting the Blue Devils, they take on USC at home, travel to Washington, host Arizona and then travel to South Bend to take on No. 22 Notre Dame. Stanford has the chance to cement themselves in the top 25 with wins during that stretch or fall out of the polls for good if they lose.
Other Pac 12 teams receiving votes: Utah (34), Washington (15).
I expect both teams to break into the top 25 at some point this season. Utah will probably get there first as they were on the brink this week. However, Washington could make a huge leap into the polls if they can somehow upset No. 3 LSU on the road this weekend.
The Pac 12′s place in the top 25 is top-heavy with USC and Oregon in the top five, but I expect some of the other teams to break into the poll at some point this season.
David LaRose is one of the featured College Football writers for Rant Sports covering the Pac 12 and the University of Colorado.