Week 4 Top 25: Arizona State Joins the Pac-12 Fray

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Week 4 Top 25: Arizona State Joins the Pac-12 Fray
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona State's 32-30 defeat of Wisconsin Saturday propelled the Sun Devils into the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time this season. 

ASU joining the rankings gives the Pac-12 Conference five teams again, after its representation dropped to four with Oregon State and USC dropping out previously. 

UCLA and Washington, who along with Arizona State knocked off Big Ten Conference competition, climbed in this week's polls. The Sun Devils' addition guarantees in Week 4 the first of what is sure to be many in-conference showdowns of ranked teams. 

Rankings are listed as AP first and USA Today Coaches Poll second. My vote in the B/R Top 25 is italicized. 

 

2/2. Oregon 

Oregon is showing no ill effects from the departure of Chip Kelly. In three games under Mark Helfrich, the Ducks have won by 63, 49 and 45 points. Saturday's romp over Tennessee was arguably the team's most impressive showing yet. 

Marcus Mariota tied a program passing record and led Oregon to 59 consecutive points after trailing for the first time all season, 7-0. 

My Ranking: 2


5/5. Stanford

Ron Antonelli/Getty Images

The Cardinal were slow out of the gate, making the always-difficult trek across country for a 9 a.m. Pacific Time kickoff against Army. The Black Knights' methodical triple option attack kept Army within striking distance through the first half, before Stanford pulled away by a modest two-touchdown margin. 

Stanford's No. 5 positioning is a testimony to the small and sometimes difficult-to-gauge sample size voters face this early in the season. The Cardinal have played one game fewer than most teams, and lack a marquee win. 

That will take care of itself soon enough. Stanford hosts Arizona State in a Top 25 showdown in Week 4. 

My Ranking: 5

 

13/15. UCLA

Arguably the most impressive showing of any team in the Pac-12, if not the nation, was that of UCLA in a 41-21 win at Nebraska. Jim Mora's masterful adjustments at halftime overwhelmed the Cornhusker offense and threw the defense off balance. 

The Bruins' strong start has them looking like favorites to successfully defend their Pac-12 South crown. After a tuneup game against New Mexico State, UCLA faces a road test Oct. 3 at Utah. 

My Ranking: 9 

 

16/20. Washington

The Husky defense had another stingy performance Saturday, limiting Illinois to 24 points en route to a 10-point win.

Though technically a neutral-field game, the Illini were a short trek away from their Champaign campus at Chicago's Soldier Field. The win gives Washington a nice feather in its cap away from Seattle before returning to Husky Stadium to face regular Big Sky Conference cellar dweller Idaho State on Sept. 21. 

My Ranking: 15

 

23/23. Arizona State

Sun Devils head coach Todd Graham touted during July's Pac-12 media day (h/t Arizona Sports.com) that his team had adopted the mantra "any challenge."

Arizona State was up to the challenge three-time defending Big Ten Conference champion Wisconsin brought to Tempe, holding off the Badgers 32-30. The win gives Arizona State its first spot in the Top 25 since midway through the 2011 season. 

My Ranking: 20 

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