PULLMAN – Two major upsets elsewhere in the country gave Washington State a window to climb into the top-10 of the national rankings – so long as the Cougars took care of business Saturday night against Oregon.
They dispatched the Ducks, moved up three spots in the Associated Press Top 25 poll and emerged Sunday afternoon as the No. 8 team in the country.
It’s the highest ranking for the Cougars (6-0, 3-0) since 2003, when they were No. 8 in the nation going into the Apple Cup against Washington. This year’s Apple Cup could possibly pit two top-10 teams against one another.
By virture of No. 4 Oklahoma’s loss to Iowa State, the Sooners dropped out of the top-10, allowing the Huskies (6-0, 3-0) to move up one spot to No. 5 after Saturday’s 38-7 demolition of Cal in Seattle. Michigan, previously ranked No. 7, lost to Michigan State and fell 10 spots, allowing the Cougars to make their move.
The Evergreeen State rivals haven’t both been ranked inside the top-10 at the same time since October of 1997, but the Huskies were No. 7 and the Cougars were No. 10 then.
WSU also checked in at No. 9 in the USA Today Amway Coaches Poll – up two spots from last week – which was also released Sunday morning. The Huskies were No. 5 last week and came in at No. 4 when the new rankings were released.
USC had plummeted from No. 5 to No. 14 after a 30-27 upset loss to the Cougars on Sept. 29 in Pullman, but the Trojans moved up one position to No. 13 this week. Stanford is the only other Pac-12 team ranked in the AP Top 25 poll. The Cardinal jumped back in after holding off No. 20 Utah 23-20 in Salt Lake City. The Utes fell out of the national rankings with the loss.
USC is ranked No. 13 in the Coaches Poll after moving up two spots, while Utah fell five places to No. 23 and Stanford shot up six spots to No. 25.
The Cougars have a short week ahead, but face a California (3-3, 0-3) team that still hasn’t won a conference game. Friday’s game in Berkeley will kick off at 7:30 p.m. WSU, already bowl-eligible, could match its best start since 2001 by beating the Golden Bears and going 7-0.
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