AP labels the Utes ‘pretenders’ as they fall to No. 19 after losing to USC

Utah’s first loss of the football season caused the Utes to fall nine spots in the AP Top 25 rankings and receive a “pretender” rating from the AP’s national college football writer.

The Utes (3-1) dropped to No. 19 in the AP poll after enjoying the program’s earliest-ever Top 10 ranking for one week. Utah was the highest-ranked Pac-12 team for three weeks, but now is below three Pac-12 North schools: Oregon (No. 13), California (No. 15) and Washington (No. 17). Utah also is No. 19 in the Coaches Poll.

AP writer Ralph D. Russo observed of the Utes’ 30-23 loss Friday at USC saying, “Speaking of pretenders, No. 10 Utah rammed into its ceiling.”

The nine-spot drop is among the biggest one-week falls the Utes have experienced. In October 2015, Utah went from No. 3 to No. 13 after a 42-24 loss at USC.

USC jumped back into the rankings at No. 21. Washington State, Utah's opponent Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium, fell way out of the Top 25 after blowing a 32-point lead in a 67-63 loss to UCLA at home.

Even before WSU’s debacle, ESPN’s “College Game Day” show was booked for Nebraska next weekend, when the Cornhuskers host Ohio State. Utah reportedly was in the running for the show’s campus visit before falling to USC. The Pac-12 Networks’ “The Pregame” show long ago was set for Utah-Washington State during its tour of each conference school.