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Utah moves up to No. 12 in AP Top 25 ahead of title clash with No. 4 USC


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SALT LAKE CITY β€” What happened on the field Saturday afternoon for Utah was helpful, but it wasn't the most important thing going on in the Pac-12.

With the final spot in the Pac-12 championship game hanging in the balance, there was a lot riding on the final weekend of the regular season. After it was all finalized, which included a late-night Apple Cup that determined it all, Las Vegas was set with USC and Utah in a rematch.

It was a weekend of change for the conference and one that moved USC into prime position for a College Football Playoff spot. Quarterback Caleb Williams had a "Heisman moment" in a win over Notre Dame, and USC moved up to No. 4 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 rankings that were released Sunday afternoon.

The Trojans remain the conference's best (and only) opportunity at breaking its playoff drought since 2017 β€” an ironic position given that USC is moving on to the Big Ten in 2024.

Utah moved up to No. 12 in the rankings this week, up two spots from where it was last week after a loss to Oregon. The Utes, however, are the third-highest ranked team from the conference since Washington moved up to No. 9 after a win over Washington State.

Behind Utah in the rankings is No. 15 Oregon, which allowed rival Oregon State to erase a 31-10 lead to lose in Corvallis 38-34 and give Utah a chance at a Pac-12 title bid. The Beavers were rewarded with a six-spot jump up to No. 16, just behind their rival. Rounding out the Pac-12 teams is No. 17 UCLA, who beat California in the final game of the regular season.

At the top of the rankings, Georgia remains the team to beat with the No. 1 spot and 58 first-place votes. Michigan moved up to No. 2 and received five first-place votes after a dominant win over rival Ohio State, which dropped to No. 5 this week in its first loss of the season. Behind the Wolverines is No. 3 TCU, which ended the regular season undefeated.

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Josh is the Sports Director for KSL.com and beat writer of University of Utah athletics β€” primarily football, men’s basketball and gymnastics. He is also an Associated Press Top 25 voter for college football.

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