UCLA earns first top-10 finish in Associated Press poll since 1998

For the first time in 16 years, UCLA has finished the season as a top-10 team.

The Bruins earned a No. 10 ranking in the final Associated Press poll, released a few hours after Monday night’s conclusion to the first-ever College Football Playoff. It marks UCLA’s highest year-end placement since its No. 8 ranking following the 1998 season.

That campaign ended in a Rose Bowl loss, and since then, the Bruins have been left out of all but three final AP polls. They finished No. 16 after both the 2005 and 2013 seasons.

You can see the complete final 2014 rankings below: Continue reading

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UCLA finishes regular season at No. 16 in Associated Press poll

With the regular season now over, UCLA is ranked No. 16 in the Associated Press poll — the same spot it held after its Sun Bowl win over Virginia Tech last year.

A 31-10 loss to Stanford on Friday dropped the Bruins seven spots, ending a four-week streak of steady climbs up the national rankings. UCLA is now the third-highest ranked team in the Pac-12, behind No. 3 Oregon and No. 8 Arizona, who will face each other in the Pac-12 Championship this coming Friday.

Jim Mora’s third season will likely end in the Alamo, Holiday or Foster Farms Bowl.

See the full AP poll below: Continue reading

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UCLA men’s basketball makes AP poll debut at No. 22

UCLA’s Norman Powell makes a layup against Long Beach State during a 77-63 win at Pauley Pavilion on Nov. 23, 2014. (Stephen Carr/Staff)

It needed four games, but UCLA men’s basketball has made its first appearance in the Associated Press top 25 this season.

The Bruins debuted at No. 22 after beating Long Beach State, 77-63, at on Sunday night. The 49ers provided UCLA with its first real challenge at Pauley Pavilion, closing to within five points with three minutes left. Steve Alford’s team held an 11-point halftime lead, but shot just 37.5 percent from the field and 9-of-18 from the line in the second half.

“That’s the poorest we’ve been coming out of halftime. But we needed this,” Alford said. “We needed to see what happens when someone punches you in the second half.”

The Bruins now travel to the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas, opening with a 11:30 a.m. PT tipoff against Oklahoma on Wednesday. They will then face either Butler or No. 5 North Carolina on Thursday, and another team on Friday. The tournament also features No. 2 Wisconsin, No. 18 Florida, and Georgetown.

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UCLA moves up to No. 9 in AP poll after beating USC

Defensive end Takkarist McKinley celebrates UCLA's 38-20 win over USC on Saturday night. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Defensive end Takkarist McKinley celebrates UCLA’s 38-20 win over USC on Saturday night. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA was already ranked in the top 10 of the playoff rankings last Tuesday, but the Associated Press voters followed suit after watching it thump USC for the third straight year.

The Bruins moved up two spots to No. 9, the same spot they held in last week’s playoff rankings. The selection committee has consistently placed Pac-12 teams higher than their placements in AP poll, which bodes well for UCLA’s chances to continue creeping up on Tuesday evening.

The Bruins are in the top 10 of the AP poll for the first time since September, when they were ranked eighth following a blowout win at Arizona State. Jim Mora’s squad is currently the second-highest ranked two-loss team, one spot behind Georgia.

Oregon stayed at No. 3, and will play the Bruins for the Pac-12 title if the latter beats Stanford. If UCLA loses, the Ducks will instead face the winner of Arizona vs. Arizona State. Both of those games will kick off Friday at 12:30 p.m. PT.

Utah and USC are both out of the poll entirely, as well as out of the Pac-12 South race.

The Pac-12 and the SEC each have four teams ranked in the top 15 of the AP poll. The Big 12 and the Big Ten have three each, while the ACC’s lone entry is No. 1 Florida State.

See the full Associated Press poll below: Continue reading

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After bye, UCLA moves up to No. 11 in AP poll

After some midseason bumps, everything seems to be falling in place again for UCLA football.

The Bruins moved up another three spots in the Associated Press poll on Sunday, taking the No. 11 spot after spending their bye week watching teams around the country falter.

Arizona State fell six slots to No. 13, with their upset loss to Oregon State clearing a path for UCLA to take the Pac-12 South. Auburn dropped seven spots to No. 16 after getting battered by Georgia. And Nebraska sank like a stone after a 59-24 blowout loss to Wisconsin, from 11th to 21st.

The AP poll won’t have an effect on the Bruins’ chances at a “New Year’s Six” bowl (or a playoff berth), but it bodes well for their placement in Tuesday’s playoff rankings. UCLA was already ranked No. 11 there a week ago, and has consistently placed higher in the eyes of the committee than the AP voters.

See the full AP poll below, which features four other Pac-12 South teams: Continue reading

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