College Football Playoff: BYU, Utah football both rise in the rankings

Utah will play Oregon Friday night in the Pac-12 championship game in Las Vegas

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah running back Micah Bernard (2) runs the ball for the Utes, in PAC-12 action between the Utah Utes and the Oregon Ducks. At Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021.

BYU and the University of Utah were both on the move when the College Football Playoff rankings were released on Tuesday night.

The Utes, the outright winners of the Pac-12 South, moved up to two spots to No. 17 after registering a 28-13 win over Colorado last week at Rice-Eccles Stadium to finish the regular season 9-3 overall and 8-1 vs. the Pac-12.

Meanwhile, BYU’s hopes of a New Year’s Six selection, while slim, remain alive as the Cougars moved up to No. 12.

Utah’s opponent in Friday night’s Pac-12 championship game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas (6 p.m., ABC), Oregon, moved up one spots to No. 10. The Ducks are coming off a 38-29 win over Oregon State in Eugene, which clinched the Pac-12 North and a spot in Las Vegas.

For all intents and purposes, as they pertain to Utah and Oregon, this week’s CFP rankings are merely window dressing.

The Utes knocked the Ducks out of CFP contention on Nov. 20 thanks to a 38-7 win at Rice-Eccles Stadium when the latter was ranked No. 3. The winner is going to the Rose Bowl, the loser is almost certainly going to wind up in the Alamo Bowl.

The Pac-12 will be left out of the College Football Playoff for the fifth straight season, and the only New Year’s Six game the conference will participate in is the Rose Bowl. Oregon’s second loss of the season on Nov. 20 guaranteed it wasn’t going to the CFP, while eliminating them as a viable at-large candidate for a different New Year’s Six game, specifically the Peach, Fiesta, or Sugar Bowls.