Writers and coaches were apparently biding their time waiting to see if the USC Trojans were indeed for real. USC reeled off five straight wins, but didn't get a sniff of either the Associated Press or USA Today Coaches polls.
The College Football Playoff committee didn't wait around, anointing the Trojans the No. 20 team in the land last week before USC traveled to Seattle to take on the Washington Huskies. After a 26-13 victory, suddenly everyone is one board as USC made a drastic jump, particularly in November, to No. 15 in the AP Poll and leaped to No. 19 in the Coaches Poll.
On Tuesday evening, the CFP committee also bumped the Trojans up, pushing them to No. 13 in their rankings -- the highest ever for USC in the brief tenure of the College Football Playoff and its top 25. USC's previous best was No. 19 when the Trojans were 7-3 in 2014.
Like the last time the Trojans were ranked above No. 20, they next face a trip to Pasadena to take on UCLA in the Crosstown Showdown. In 2014, the Bruins won 38-20 to knock USC out of the CFP rankings.
Washington dropped to No. 6 in the rankings, putting the Pac-12 on the outside looking in for the College Football Playoff, but the conference does have six teams in the top 20. Along with USC and Washington, Pac-12 South leaders Colorado and Utah come in at just ahead of USC at No. 10 and No. 12, respectively, while Pac-12 North contender Washington State moved up one spot to No. 22. Jumping into the rankings was the Stanford Cardinal at No. 24, meaning all three of USC's losses have come to top 25 opponents. To counter, the Trojans have two top 10 wins.
Alabama remains atop the standings as the lone undefeated Power Five team. Ohio State jumped to No. 2 after losses by Clemson, Michigan and Washington. Despite being beaten on the field, Michigan and Clemson weren't beaten out of the College Football Playoff as the Wolverines stayed at No. 3 and Clemson only slid to No. 4. Louisville, who lost to Clemson, sits at No. 5.
USC's seven-spot climb was big, but not the largest in the top 25. Instead it was former interim head coach Ed Orgeron's LSU team jumping eight spots after a win over Arkansas to No. 16. Tennessee also made a big jump from outside the rankings to No. 19 even though their win was against Kentucky.
College Football Playoff Rankings
|2||Ohio State (9-1)||Big Ten||4|
|3||Michigan (9-1)||Big Ten||3|
|7||Wisconsin (8-2)||Big Ten||7|
|8||Penn State (8-2)||Big Ten||10|
|9||Oklahoma (8-2)||Big 12||11|
|11||Oklahoma State (8-2)||Big 12||13|
|14||West Virginia (8-1)||Big 12||16|
|17||Florida State (7-3)||ACC||18|
|18||Nebraska (8-2)||Big Ten||19|
|20||Boise State (9-1)||Mountain West||22|
|21||Western Michigan (10-0)||MAC||21|
|22||Washington State (8-2)||Pac-12||23|
|25||Texas A&M (7-3)||SEC||8|