UCLA moves up one spot to No. 8 in playoff rankings

This wasn’t a chaotic week in the College Football Playoff rankings, but UCLA nevetheless continued its climb — inching up one spot to No. 8 following a 38-20 win over USC.

The Bruins are now the nation’s best two-loss team in the eyes of the selection committee. Those two losses came against other top-25 teams: No. 2 Oregon and No. 25 Utah, which is the only four-loss team to appear in the latest rankings. The order of the top seven remained unchanged, however.

UCLA’s path is still clear. If it beats Stanford on Friday, it will earn a second shot at the Ducks in the Pac-12 Championship. Given the committee’s friendliness toward the league, the Bruins will have a good chance at a playoff berth if they can win their first conference title since 1998 — even if one-loss teams such as Ohio State and Baylor don’t drop another game.

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UCLA is No. 9 in latest College Football Playoff rankings

Jim Mora acknowledged this morning that if someone drew a graph of UCLA’s season trajectory, “it would be rather jagged.”

At least the Bruins are trending up. In the latest College Football Playoff rankings, released Tuesday evening, UCLA climbed two more spots to No. 9 — putting the team in position for one of the “New Year’s Six” bowls if it can win out against USC and Stanford to finish the regular season.

ESPN’s latest postseason projections have the Bruins in the Fiesta Bowl against Boise State, a scenario that assumes two straight wins followed by a close loss to No. 2 Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship.

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UCLA jumps to No. 11 in College Football Playoff rankings

Could UCLA sneak back into the College Football Playoff after all?

The Bruins’ chances are still slim, but after beating Washington on the road last Saturday, they vaulted seven spots to No. 11 in the latest selection committee rankings. That puts a team that many had left for dead back in mid-October at least potentially in line for a “New Year’s Six” bowl.

Obviously, UCLA still needs to win out to clinch a spot in the final four — as well as hope for a few other dominoes to fall just right. It will need Arizona State to lose at least one game (possibly at Arizona on Nov. 28), and then pull an unlikely upset against Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship.

But if the Sun Devils win out and shut the Bruins out of the conference title game entirely, the latter could be well positioned to climb into a premier postseason game. UCLA has to be considered a favorite over both USC and Stanford given its recent improvement, and could stand at 10-2 at the end of the month.

If the Ducks then blow out ASU at Levi’s Stadium, a selection committee that clearly thinks highly of the Pac-12 could decide that the Bruins are more worthy of an at-large bid to the Fiesta Bowl.

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UCLA moves up to No. 18 in College Football Playoff rankings

Now on a three-game winning streak, UCLA moved up to No. 18 in the second edition of the College Football Playoff rankings.

The Bruins’ placement is a four-spot jump from their debut at No. 22 a week ago. They are sandwiched between Utah — the team that dealt them their first lost — and Arizona, which they defeated 17-7 on Saturday.

The Pac-12 landed two teams in the top 10. Oregon moved up one spot to No. 4, and is in line for a spot in the inaugural four-team playoff if it wins out. Arizona State is ranked ninth.

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UCLA ranked No. 22 in first College Football Playoff standings

UCLA is No. 22 in the first-ever College Football Playoff rankings, which were announced Tuesday evening on ESPN.

The Bruins were popularly touted as a playoff contender before the season started, but have since lost games to Utah and Oregon — as well as struggling to piece together complete games in most of their wins. The best that UCLA can now hope for is likely a Pac-12 South championship, which should give them another shot at the Ducks in the conference title game.

These are the first of six weekly top-25 rankings that will be announced leading up to the inaugural four-team playoff, which replaced the former BCS Championship system. The Pac-12′s other representatives are No. 12 Arizona — the Bruins’ next opponent — No. 14 Arizona State, and No. 17 Utah.

UCLA No. 25 in the Associated Press poll, but committee members are told to disregard polls that set preseason rankings when making their own decisions.

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UCLA has seventh-best odds at winning national title

The latest Vegas odds now have UCLA within striking distance of the inaugural College Football Playoff.

Online sportsbook Bovada.lv gave Jim Mora’s team 14-to-1 odds to win the national title, seventh-best in the country and an improvement from the 25-to-1 odds they were given on January 7. Bovada.lv also slotted the UCLA’s over/under for total wins at 9.5.

Ask any Bruin, and he’ll almost certainly take the over.

“We’re not young anymore,” sophomore linebacker Myles Jack told Jay Mohr this week. “My (freshman) class played a lot. … I think with the toughness of the schedule, it’s the perfect season for us to make that run for the national push.”

Here are the current championship odds for some of the other top teams across the country: Continue reading

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