Oregon has some company in contention to dethrone No. 1 Alabama for the top spot in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. The Ducks received five first-place votes in the Week 8 rankings, but in Week 9 they garnered just three.
Coming off its rout of Clemson, Florida State stole two top votes from Oregon.
Oregon has been the Pac-12's poll pace-setter throughout 2013, but the conference has always had at least four representatives. This week, the conference has its least representation of the season with just three teams ranked.
Washington's 53-24 loss at Arizona State was enough to drop the Huskies from the poll, but the win was not enough to get the Sun Devils back into the rankings.
Arizona State was ranked on two separate occasions this season, but losses to Stanford and Notre Dame cut the Sun Devils' run short.
Which unranked Pac-12 team receiving votes is the best?
Perhaps feeling burned by their previous faith going unrewarded, voters kept Arizona State out in Week 9. It's the fourth highest Pac-12 team and the first among the others receiving votes.
Oregon State is winner of six straight since suffering a confounding, Week 1 defeat to Football Championship Subdivision team Eastern Washington. None of the Beavers' string of wins is impressive enough to generate some polling support—their only win against a team with a record over .500 is Utah, which fell to 4-3 in a loss at Arizona.
The Utes still managed four votes—as many as Washington, and four more than Arizona.
2/2. Oregon Ducks (7-0, 4-0 Pac-12 Conference)
Last Week: Won vs. Washington State, 62-38 | Next Week: vs. No. 12 UCLA
Oregon recovered from a sloppy second quarter to blast Washington State and remain perfect. The win wasn't impressive enough to keep the Ducks' five first-place votes.
Still, until the Ducks face a serious challenge, there's still a strong case that this is the nation's best team.
My Ranking: 1
8/8. Stanford Cardinal (6-1, 4-1)
Last Week: Won vs. No. 12 UCLA, 24-10 | Next Week: @ Oregon State
Stanford bounced back emphatically from its Week 7 loss, completely shutting down UCLA. Overwhelming the No. 9-ranked team in the country was enough to elevate the Cardinal back into the Top 10.
Their Week 9 game has huge implications, both in the Pac-12 North race and for Top 25 positioning. Oregon State is pursuing the signature win currently eluding it.
My Ranking: 7
12/11. UCLA Bruins (5-1, 2-1)
Last Week: Lost @ No. 8 Stanford, 24-10 | Next Week: @ No. 2 Oregon
UCLA suffered its first loss of the season, making the Bruins' first trip into the Top 10 since 2005 a short one.
They have an opportunity to make serious noise next week, but second-ranked Oregon is a stiff challenge. No team has been any closer to the Ducks than 21 points.
My Ranking: 11