Oklahoma and USC on the rise after impressive wins over the weekend.
There were no surprises at the top of The Associated Press Top 25 poll this week: Alabama, Oklahoma, Clemson and USC, in order, are the top four teams, and that’s how I had them ranked in my ballot this week too.
Here’s a short breakdown of who I had ranked where:
Oklahoma (2 my ballot/2 in AP) and USC (4/4): Both teams deserved a solid bump. Oklahoma has probably the most impressive victory of the early season, going to Columbus to knock of Ohio State. Only made sense to, um, plant the Sooners’ flag at the Buckeye’s old No. 2 spot. The Trojans were darn good too against Stanford, a team that has manhandled USC the past few years at the line of scrimmage. Not this time. If there were some doubts before (count me among that group), USC showed it’s a legit national-title contender.
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Washington (5/6) and Washington State (25/21): For the second straight week, I slid the Huskies down one spot. In the preseason, I had them ranked No. 3 — higher than any other AP voter, which as the team’s beat writer isn’t ideal. Their slow drop on my ballot is less of an intentional course correction and more of a, Well, I’ve-seen-every-snap-through-two-games-and-of-course-I-still-think-they’re-really-good-but-just-how-great-are-they-I’m-not-sure-and-oh by-the-way-it-didn’t-help-that-Rutgers-lost-to-at-home-to-directional-school deal. As for Wazzu? I’ll be honest: I had the Cougs out of my ballot while they were down three touchdowns at home to Boise State’s backup QB, but obviously needed to get them back in after their great comeback in triple OT. Hence, 25. And most weeks there’s very little separation between those teams ranked in the 20-25 range … and even in the 20-30 range.
Utah (22/NR): I’ve had the Utes ranked all season — in part because, well, I’m probably being a bit stubborn. But they are perennially one of the nation’s most underappreciated programs, and I also fully expected their offense to be better with redshirt freshman QB Tyler Huntley supplanting ex-Husky Troy Williams. So far, the offense has underwhelmed, but it should have a chance to break out over the next two weeks (San Jose State and Arizona) before an Oct. 7 showdown at home against…