Thursday, September 27, 2012
Poll: Who ends the year ranked?
By Kevin Gemmell
It's been an interesting first quarter of the season -- especially when you look at some of the teams that have already appeared in the top 25 that weren't expected to get a sniff of the rankings.
The preseason consensus was that Oregon and USC wouldn't leave the rankings, and that Stanford would probably fluctuate in and out. Barring disastrous setbacks, the Cardinal appear to be locked into the rankings for the rest of the year.
But what about those teams that are either in -- or were in -- the rankings. Will they keep it up as the season progresses?
So your Thursday question this week, which of these teams is most likely to be ranked at the end of the season?
Arizona (3-1): The Wildcats reached as high as No. 22 through the first four weeks, but the loss to Oregon knocked them out. Interesting game this week when they host OSU, however. A win for the Beavers solidifies them in the rankings. A win for the Wildcats puts them back in the Top 25.
Arizona State (3-1): The Sun Devils are getting votes, but most people aren't buying the Sun Devils yet because of their recent run against backup quarterbacks. A win at Cal would be a huge step forward, though probably not enough to put them over the hump into the polls yet. But with games still to be played against Oregon, OSU and USC, the Sun Devils could make a run by season's end with a shocker or two.
Oregon State (2-0): The Beavers have only two games under their belts, but both of those games have been impressive. And both have come against ranked teams. Good offense, really good run defense. Seems like the Beavers might have some staying power.
UCLA (3-1): The Bruins cracked the top 20, inching forward to No. 19 in the Week 4 rankings. But they were whisked away at the hands of the Beavers, who now occupy the spot ahead of where the Bruins were. Do they bounce back and get back in the rankings?
Washington (2-1): Sure, the first half of the schedule is brutal. They've already faced an elite team in LSU, and now the Huskies start a run of Stanford, Oregon, USC, Arizona and Oregon State. That's three ranked teams and a fourth that was ranked. Then they close out the season with four teams at the bottom of the power rankings. If the Huskies sweep the four, and sneak in an upset, could they make the top 25?