After it began the year with five teams ranked in the preseason AP Top 25, the Pac-12 has just two teams left standing among college football’s best in the final AP poll of the year.

Released late Monday night after Georgia secured its first national title in over 40 years and the 2021 season officially came to an end, Utah and Oregon were the only teams from the Pac-12 represented in the rankings.

Here’s how things looked:

  1. Georgia (14-1)
  2. Alabama (13-2)
  3. Michigan (12-2)
  4. Cincinnati (13-1)
  5. Baylor (12-2)
  6. Ohio State (11-2)
  7. Oklahoma State (12-2)
  8. Notre Dame (11-2)
  9. Michigan State (11-2)
  10. Oklahoma (11-2)
  11. Ole Miss (10-3)
  12. Utah (10-4)
  13. Pittsburgh (11-3)
  14. Clemson (10-3)
  15. Wake Forest (11-3)
  16. Louisiana (13-1)
  17. Houston (12-2)
  18. Kentucky (10-3)
  19. BYU (10-3)
  20. NC State (9-3)
  21. Arkansas (9-4)
  22. Oregon (10-4)
  23. Iowa (10-4)
  24. Utah State (11-3)
  25. San Diego State (12-2)

New Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff should mail Utah a fruit basket of some sort after the Utes carried the banner for the conference for most of the year. After a 1-2 start and a quarterback change, Utah was the class of the conference. It won the league convincingly and then gave us a Rose Bowl to remember.

The 12th-place finish for the Utes is the highest final AP ranking for the program since joining the Pac-12 and the best since 2008. It’s also the fourth-best finish in program history. With quarterback Cam Rising and a slew of skill-position standouts returning next season, the Utes look to be on the upswing. They’ve landed in several way-too-early top-10s already.

As for Oregon, though the season didn’t end the way anyone in Eugene would have hoped for, the 22nd-place finish is the program’s first spot in the final AP poll since 2019 and only the second in the last seven seasons. From 2007-2015, Oregon closed the season ranked in the AP poll every year. The last year of Mark Helfrich and the run of Willie Taggart and Mario Cristobal broke that run.

The Ducks are hoping Dan Lanning, fresh of a national title win as the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator and likely still picking red-and-white confetti out of his hair, can fix that moving forward.

As for the rest of the league, it’s time to step things up. USC and Washington have made coaching changes both programs hope return them to the top of the league. UCLA will enter into next season coming off an 8-4 campaign and featuring a fifth-year starter at quarterback. The league hasn’t had more than two teams earn spots in the final AP ranking for a season since 2017.