Best of the West top 25 poll: Can Oregon crush Utah’s College Football Playoff hopes?

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Ducks or Utes?

The right to be called the best football team in the West will come down to the Pac-12 championship between Utah (11-1) and Oregon (10-2) on Friday in Santa Clara, Calif.

The Utes, 45-15 winners over the CU Buffs on Saturday night in Salt Lake City, are again the No. 1 team in The Denver Post’s Best of the West poll released this morning.

The Ducks, who knocked off rival Oregon State 24-10 over the weekend, landed at No. 2. Oregon will be shooting for its first league title since 2014 and a shot to knock the Utes out of any hope of a berth in the College Football Playoff.

USC (8-4) was No. 3, up a spot from the week before, despite a Sunday of conflicting, seesaw media reports on the immediate future of coach Clay Helton. Boise State (11-1), Black Friday winners at CSU, enter the Mountain West Conference title game with Hawaii (9-4) at No. 4 in the rankings.

The Best of the West top 25 power poll ranks the best teams in the FBS from the Front Range to the Pacific Ocean, as culled from the Pac-12, the Mountain West and BYU.

Post colleges writer Sean Keeler (@SeanKeeler) and Post deputy sports editor Matt Schubert (@MattDSchubert) vote on the top 25 every Monday; this week’s guest voter was the Post’s AME for Sports, Scott Monserud.

Among Front Range programs, Air Force (10-2) clinched regional bragging rights to match its unofficial Colorado State title with a 20-6 win over Wyoming.

The Falcons, No. 5 in the poll and winners at CU and at CSU earlier this fall, wrapped up their first regular season of double-digit victories since 1998.

The Buffs (5-7) and Rams (4-8) saw their poll positions unchanged after they dropped season-ending matchups to the Utes and Broncos, respectively.

The latest ranking follows, with in-state squads listed in bold:

THE DENVER POST BEST OF THE WEST TOP 25 POWER POLL — DEC. 2

1. Utah (11-1) (3 first place votes) — Last week: 2; Up next: vs. ORE, P-12 C’SHIP, Fri.

2. Oregon (10-2) — Last week: 3; Up next: vs. UTAH, P-12 C’SHIP, Fri.

3. USC (8-4) — Last week: 4; Up next: TBD

▼4. Boise State (11-1) — Last week: 2; Up next: vs. HAW, MWC C’SHIP

5. Air Force (10-2) — Last week: 5; Up next: TBD

6. Washington (7-5) — Last week: 6; Up next: TBD

7. Arizona State (7-5) — Last week: 7; Up next: TBD

▲8. California (7-5) — Last week: 10; Up next: TBD

▲9. San Diego State (9-3) — Last week: 11; Up next: TBD

▼10. BYU (7-5) — Last week: 8; Up next: TBD

▼11. Hawaii (9-4) — Last week: 9; Up next: at BOISE, MWC C’SHIP

12. Washington State (6-6) — Last week: 12; Up next: TBD

▲13. Utah State (7-5) — Last week: 15; Up next: TBD

14. Oregon State (5-7) — Last week: 14; Up next: DONE

▼15. Wyoming (7-5) — Last week: 13; Up next: TBD

16. CU (5-7) — Last week: 16; Up next: DONE

17. UCLA (4-8) — Last week: 17; Up next: DONE

18. Stanford (4-8) — Last week: 19; Up next: DONE

19. Nevada (7-5) — Last week: 18; Up next: TBD

20. Arizona (4-8) — Last week: 20; Up next: DONE

21. CSU (4-8) — Last week: 21; Up next: DONE

22. San Jose State (5-7) — Last week: 23; Up next: DONE

23. Fresno State (4-8) — Last week: 22; Up next: DONE

24. UNLV (4-8) — Last week: 24; Up next: DONE

25. New Mexico (2-10) — Last week: 25; Up next: DONE

The next Best of the West poll will post at 8 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 9.

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