UCLA moved up eight spots in the Associated Press Top 25 college football rankings to No. 17 after a 66-10 victory against Arizona.
The Bruins (7-2) have already exceeded expectations in coach Jim Mora’s first season, and the best could be yet to come for a program that usually plays little brother to USC in the crosstown football rivalry.
UCLA (4-2) is in first place in the Pac-12 South, with a half-game lead over the 21st-ranked Trojans (6-3, 4-3).
The last time UCLA, which visits Washington State on Saturday, had a better record than USC this late in the season was 2001, which was also the last time the Bruins finished with a better record than the Trojans. The last time UCLA and USC were both ranked and the Bruins were ranked higher was 2000.
UCLA won the Pac-12 South last year by default because USC was ineligible for the postseason. The Bruins play USC in the Rose Bowl on Nov. 17 in a game that could give UCLA a title with no strings attached.