Pac-12 closes out 2022 season with half of its teams in final AP Top 25
Washington closed with its first top-10 finish since 2016 and just the third since the turn of the century. Utah earned a second consecutive top-15 finish for the first time in program history. Dan Lanning now has as many top-15 finishes after one season as Mario Cristobal had in four years. Oregon State has its best finish since 2000. And UCLA earned its first top-25 finish since 2014.
Half of the Pac-12 was ranked in the final AP Top 25 of the 2022 season, released late Monday night following the conclusion of the national championship game.
The Washington Huskies were the Pac-12’s highest-ranked team, followed by Utah, then USC, then Oregon, Oregon State, and UCLA. With six teams in the final media poll, the Pac-12 has tied its best-ever finish.
Here’s the full Top 25:
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Washington (up four spots)
- Utah (down three spots)
- Florida State
- USC (down four spots)
- Kansas State
- Oregon (no change)
- Oregon State (no change)
- Notre Dame
- Mississippi State
- UCLA (down three spots)
- South Carolina
- Fresno State
Below is a bit of info on each Pac-12 team in the final AP ranking.
No. 8 Washington (11-2)
#𝟖 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 @AP_Top25 🚨
Highest ranked team in the Pac-12 ✔️
First top 10 finish since 2016 ✔️
… Why not Washington? 🤷#NoLimits #PurpleReign pic.twitter.com/eLgSBXtn27
— Washington Football (@UW_Football) January 10, 2023
The Huskies closed out Kalen DeBoer’s first season in charge with a 27-20 win over Texas in the Alamo Bowl. Led by the nation’s best passing attack, Washington went 3-0 against Oregon, Oregon State, and Washington State for the first time since 2017.
If not for an early-season stumble in Tempe, UW would have played for a Pac-12 championship.
Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and a number of other UW stars from this past season have announced their plans to return for the 2023 campaign, hoping to propel the Huskies to a league title.
No. 10 Utah (10-4)
Utah wrapped up a second consecutive Pac-12 championship with a 47-24 win over USC. The victory prevented the Trojans from going to the College Football Playoff and landed the Utes in the Rose Bowl for the second straight season. A disappointing loss to Penn State ended things, but the Utes still managed their third consecutive 10-win campaign (2020 excluded for obvious reasons).
With quarterback Cameron Rising and tight end Brant Kuithe returning for 2023, the Utes will seek a third straight league crown.
No. 12 USC (11-3)
Learn. Regroup. Grow. ✌️ pic.twitter.com/SuMA2BId1L
— USC Football ✌️ (@uscfb) January 10, 2023
USC won 11 of its first 12 games under Lincoln Riley as the offense ripped through an early schedule and quarterback Caleb Williams powered the program to a berth in the Pac-12 title game with a Heisman Trophy season.
But the year came to a close with back-to-back losses. An injury to Williams in the Pac-12 Championship Game slowed the offense at the worst time; USC could not stop Utah’s offense as it roared to 47 points in a 47-24 win. On Jan. 2, the Trojans also lost to Tulane in the Cotton Bowl, a 46-45 defeat that saw the Green Wave come from 15 points down in the final five minutes to win.
Tulane ended the year ninth in the AP poll, meaning each of the Trojans’ three losses came against AP Top 10 teams.
No. 15 Oregon (10-3)
Oregon secured just its second AP Top 15 finish in the last eight seasons by winning 10 games in Dan Lanning’s first year at the helm. A 28-27 Holiday Bowl win over North Carolina gave Lanning the same record as former UO coach Chip Kelly in his debut season.
The Ducks are also getting quarterback Bo Nix back for the 2023 season after he played like a Heisman contender in 2022.
Oregon rose to as high as No. 6 in the AP poll this season. Until a 37-34 loss to Washington on Nov. 12, Oregon had hopes for a CFP run. But two weeks later, the Ducks blew a second-half lead in a 38-34 loss to Oregon State. That brought the regular season to a disappointing close and kept Oregon out of the Pac-12 title game. It also marked the first time since 2016 the Ducks lost to the Beavers and Huskies in the same season.
No. 17 Oregon State (10-3)
Oregon State rounded out the contingent of 10-win Pac-12 sides with a 30-3 beatdown of Florida in the Las Vegas Bowl. In coach Jonathan Smith’s first season, the Beavs lost 10 games. Five years later, they produced just the third double-digit-win campaign in program history.
Smith has the group trending up in a major way and once the season ended, he secured a major transfer commitment from former Clemson starting quarterback DJ Uiagalelei.
With a 17th-place finish in the AP poll, the Beavs end the season ranked for only the 11th time in program history.
No. 21 UCLA (9-4)
Focused on 2023. #GoBruins pic.twitter.com/6DLIB3Ewbl
— UCLA Football (@UCLAFootball) January 10, 2023
The Bruins were denied a 10-win season with a 37-35 defeat in the Sun Bowl. Still, the nine-win campaign marked the best season for the program since 2014. And it gave Chip Kelly his first AP Top 25 finish as the Bruins’ coach.
Five-year starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson has exhausted his eligibility, marking a new era of sorts for the Bruins in 2023. They added 5-star quarterback Dante Moore out of the 2023 class, and Kelly appears to be preparing to retool his defense once again as the Bruins seek a Pac-12 title next season.