UCLA football returns to College Football Playoff rankings at No. 22

Three losses have eliminated UCLA’s chances of making the College Football Playoff, but the Bruins nevertheless returned to the rankings at No. 22 on Tuesday.

Two-loss Stanford, which is ranked No. 9, represents the Pac-12’s only viable national title contender heading into the final weekend of the regular season. However, if UCLA wins out and clinches an appearance in the Rose Bowl Game as the Pac-12 Champion, the Cardinal could give the conference two spots in the New Year’s Six Bowls.

No. 17 Oregon, No. 20 Washington State and No. 23 Utah round out the rest of the league’s presence in the latest playoff rankings.

UCLA moves up to No. 19 in College Football Playoff rankings

UCLA moved up to No. 19 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, earning a four-spot bump after its 41-0 win at Oregon State last Saturday.

With three games left in the regular season, the Bruins have a three precent chance of making the four-team field, according to FiveThirtyEight‘s latest playoff projections. The site gives the team a seven percent chance of winning the Pac-12.

UCLA debuts at No. 23 in College Football Playoff rankings

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, named a Davey O'Brien Award semifinalist, has helped the Bruins debut at No. 23 in the first playoff rankings of the season. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, a Davey O’Brien Award semifinalist, has helped the Bruins debut at No. 23 in the first playoff rankings in 2015. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA debuted at No. 23 in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the 2015 season, one spot behind its placement in the most recent AP poll.

The Bruins (6-2, 3-2) are third among Pac-12 teams in the pecking order, behind No. 11 Stanford and No. 12 Utah, both of whom sport one loss each. The playoff committee also thought more of five other two-loss teams: Michigan, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Northwestern.

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.

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.