USATodaySports/Snook

Rankings: Cougs charge into top 20 after win

WASHINGTON STATE climbed to No. 20 in both the Coaches and Associated Press polls Sunday following its 27-3 win over Colorado. The Cougs climbed four rungs in the AP and three spots in the Coaches from last week.

The Cougars received 354 vots in the AP, more than doubling the 167 votes from last week that pegged them at No. 24.

WSU received 327 in the Coaches poll - it had 155 votes last week at No. 23.

Oregon, a team WSU beat head to head in Eugene and with the identical record as the Cougs (8-3, 6-2 Pac-12), is ranked ahead of Washington State at No. 18 in both polls. 

Stanford is the conference's top rated team, at 13th in the AP, 12th in the Coaches.  UCLA is ranked 22nd and 23rd, respectively. Utah and USC dropped from the top 25 after losing on Saturday.

The top five are identical in both polls: 1) Clemson; 2) Alabama; 3) Iowa; 4) Notre Dame; 5) Oklahoma.

IN ESPN.COM's WEEKLY power rankings, the Cougs remained No. 3 in the Pac-12 behind Stanford and Oregon but climbed four spots nationally, to No. 20. ESPN called the Cougs one of the nation's biggest surprises. 

On the 12-member voting panel, ESPN national college football reporter Heather Dinich rated the Cougs the highest, at No. 15.

"It was a bittersweet Saturday night for the Cougars, who reached eight wins for the first time since 2003 but lost star quarterback Luke Falk to a scary-looking injury that required a hospital trip. Coach Mike Leach was in no mood to discuss Falk's status after the game. The Cougars continue to be one of the nation's biggest surprise, and their defense has made dramatic strides. They can keep rival Washington out of a bowl by winning the Apple Cup," wrote ESPN.

Falk and Leach should be the conference's offensive player and coach of the year, says ESPN's Kevin Gemmel.

"Regardless of what happens in the Apple Cup, Luke Falk (who of course we hope is going to be OK) should be the league’s offensive player of the year and Mike Leach should be the coach of the year. An improved defense is as much a reason as the high-flying offense," said Gemmel.


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