UCLA is No. 15 in latest College Football Playoff rankings

Based on the latest College Football Playoff rankings, UCLA looks like it’s on track to play in the Alamo Bowl.

The Bruins dropped seven spots to No. 15 after losing to Stanford last week, but the more notable move happened above. Arizona jumped four spots to No. 7 after clinching the Pac-12 South, and is now positioned to stay in the top 10 even if it loses to Oregon in the conference title game on Friday.

If that happens, the Wildcats would earn a spot in the Fiesta or Cotton Bowl as an at-large selection. The Alamo Bowl would have the next pick out of the Pac-12, and seem likely to pick UCLA over Arizona State and USC given the Bruins’ head-to-head wins. Ninth-ranked Kansas State is the Big 12’s probable candidate for San Antonio, unless it upsets No. 6 Baylor this Saturday.

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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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