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How we voted: Pac-12 continues to cannibalize itself in playoff race, weekly AP Top 25 poll

UPDATED: Sun., Sept. 22, 2019, 9:05 p.m.

The Spokesman-Review’s Theo Lawson is one of 62 national media members voting in the Associated Press Top 25 poll this season. Every week throughout the 2019 season, he’ll break down he voted, provide an update on the Pac-12’s ranked teams and discuss where Washington State sits.

Perusing the Pac-12

Oregon (No. 13/No. 14) – Stanford’s been a tough out for Oregon, but the Ducks were never in danger of dropping their first Pac-12 game, beating the Cardinal 21-3. Mario Cristobal’s team opened the year at No. 11 and they could return to that position with a win over Cal in two weeks. That would also do the Ducks wonders in the Pac-12 North race.

California (No. 15/No. 21) – There’s a noticeable discrepancy in where the Golden Bears are ranked in my AP Top 25 and where they’re ranked in the actual poll. I was thoroughly impressed by Cal in a nonconference win over Ole Miss Saturday and moved the Golden Bears up three spots on my ballot, from No. 24 to No. 21. Others seemed to put much more weight into Cal’s opponent, Ole Miss, and the Golden Bears skyrocketed up the poll, moving eight spots. Agree to disagree, I suppose.

Washington (No. 17/No. 19) – BYU’s caused fits for a couple of Power Five programs, but the Huskies overcame the Cougars without too much trouble on the road Saturday. Expect them to slide into the top-15 with a win over USC this weekend.

Utah (No. 19/No. 15) – Another discrepancy between my ballot and the real poll – this time the other way around. The consensus of voters consider USC the 21st-best team in the country, so why does Utah drop nine whole spots for losing to the Trojans in the Coliseum, on a short week, without running back Zack Moss? I’m not sure USC’s that good and I maintain Utah’s not that bad. But we’ll have more clarity soon.

USC (No. 21/No. 25) – The Trojans didn’t look like a team that wanted any part of the Top 25 when they lost at BYU last week, but behind third-string QB Matt Fink, they responded well against the Pac-12 South favorites on Friday night. If they can upend UW on the road, I’m sure I’ll have the Trojans where the rest of the voters do – and probably a bit higher – this time next week.

Home cooking

Dropping Washington State out of my Top 25 was an easy call and looking at the ballots, it seems like there weren’t too many other voters who had trouble doing it either. Last week, when the Cougars were 3-0, they were on all but one ballot.

Less than 24 hours removed from one of the worst losses of the Mike Leach era, a 67-63 defeat at the hands of UCLA, WSU appeared on only 11 ballots when the new poll came out Sunday afternoon.

Earlier this year, we voters dropped Oregon five places for losing in week one to Auburn at a neutral site. So, no surprise the Cougars fall from No. 19 to the eighth receiving votes getter after losing to a winless UCLA team in the confines of Martin Stadium.

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