WSU reaches No. 14 in new AP poll

Cougars move up 11 spots after upsetting Oregon in Pullman



Senior nickel back Hunter Dale celebrates after a pass intended for an Oregon player was blocked, giving WSU the ball in the fourth quarter of the game against Oregon on Saturday at Martin Stadium.

JOHN SPELLMAN, Evergreen reporter

WSU moved up to No. 14 in the Associated Press weekly rankings after a victory over University of Oregon on Saturday. Going into the game, the Cougars and the Ducks were ranked 25th and 12th in the nation respectively and both teams had a 5-1 record on the season.

The victory puts WSU (6-1, 3-1) in second in the Pac-12 North. The winners of the Pac-12 North and South divisions meet at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, to battle for the Pac-12 Conference Championship on Nov. 30.

The Cougars were the biggest movers in the AP rankings, moving up 11 spots. Some key losses from other top college football contenders helped contribute to the rise.

WSU has another tough road block this weekend when they face another Pac-12 foe in No. 24 Stanford University (5-2, 3-1). This is another crucial game for the Cougars because their Pac-12 title hopes would take a hit with a loss against the Cardinal.

The Cougars victory Saturday also means WSU is bowl eligible for the fourth consecutive season and the fifth time under Head Coach Mike Leach.

WSU is now the highest-ranked team in the Pac-12, coming in just one spot ahead of in-state rival University of Washington, who is No. 15. If the Cougars and Huskies remain in the top of the division for the rest of the regular season, this would set up a winner-take-all Apple Cup with the victor moving onto the Pac-12 Championship game.

Another interesting note is that the Cougars are the last team in the Pac-12 with one loss on the season. If the Cougars were able to win the rest of their regular season games, including the Pac-12 Championship, they would be primed for a trip to the Rose Bowl. However, if they finished the season with one loss, there is a chance that WSU could end up in the College Football Playoff.