The Spokesman-Review’s Theo Lawson is one of 62 national media members voting in the Associated Press Top 25 football poll this season. Every week throughout the 2019 season, he’ll break down he voted, with an update on the Pac-12’s ranked teams, a look at local Top 25 representative Washington State and three general thoughts on the poll.
Perusing the Pac-12
Utah (No. 10/No. 13) – Kyle Whittingham’s defense is allowing just under 10 points per game and the Utes have been solid offensively, averaging better than 30 points. Utah’s victory over BYU looks better now than it did three weeks ago, but now that the Utes have a top-10 ranking, they’ll have to beat the Trojans in the Coliseum and hold off WSU in Salt Lake City the following week to hold onto it.
Oregon (No. 16/No. 17) – The season-opening loss to Auburn really hit a nerve for Oregon. Since then, the Ducks have dominated two lesser opponents, Nevada and Montana, by a combined score of 112-9. We’ll know much more about Mario Cristobal’s Ducks in the next few weeks, with Pac-12 games against both Bay Area schools.
Washington State (No. 19/No. 19) – See below.
Washington (No. 22/No. 20) – A 52-20 thumping of Hawaii is what Washington needed after dropping the Pac-12 opener to California. The Huskies have a good litmus test coming up, at BYU this Saturday. The Cougars have lost to one Pac-12 team, dropping the season opener to Utah, but they took down another one, upsetting USC Saturday.
California (No. 23/No. 24) – Seven days after their marquee win in Seattle, the Golden Bears didn’t flinch against North Texas. Though they’ve only scored 70 points in three games, the Bears haven’t lost their identity on defense, conceding just 16.3 points per game. Cal’s next test, on the road against Ole Miss, could determine how long this Top 25 stay lasts.
Arizona State (No. 24/unranked) – Herm Edwards’ Sun Devils were getting some recognition last week and then made a jump into the Top 25 Sunday with a huge win over Michigan State in East Lansing. ASU’s defense has been thoroughly impressive, allowing just seven points in each of the three games, but I’m still not sold on the Sun Devils’ offense and freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels. A win over Colorado next probably pushes ASU over the hump for me.
Off to a 3-0 start, Washington State is now on every Top 25 ballot except for one. Cougar fans can take that up with Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune, if they’d like. The majority of voters have WSU ranked at No. 19 and four of them have the Cougars ranked inside the top-10.
I’ve said a week five matchup between WSU and Utah could pit a top-15 Cougars team against a top-10 Utes team, but even if both teams take care of business up to that point, it still looks like a longshot. Utah should hold up its end of the bargain, but WSU can’t do anything about what’s happening between Nos. 15 and 18, and beating UCLA won’t vault the Cougars too high up the rankings.
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