Pac-12 North steals the show in latest AP Poll

There's been some significant shuffling among Pac-12 teams in the AP Poll. Utah and USC are out, while UCLA has returned to the Top 25.

Stanford, which clinched the Pac-12 North with its 35-22 victory over archrival California, remains the league's top-ranked team. The Cardinal moved up two spots to No. 13, but the real intrigue will come on Tuesday when the next College Football Playoff rankings are released. David Shaw's team is the Pac-12's last remaining hope to make the final four, and they were ranked No. 11 in last week's pecking order. Their chances are slim, but existent nonetheless.

No. 18 Oregon continues its upward surge. The Ducks re-entered the rankings with their upset victory at Stanford last week, and their 48-28 thrashing of USC earned a climb of five more spots. It also dropped the Trojans from the rankings.

No. 20 Washington State enjoyed a four-spot jump after their 27-3 win over Colorado. The Cougars are an Apple Cup victory away from securing a nine-win regular season, but their primary concern at this point resides with quarterback Luke Falk, who was carted off the field after an apparent head injury.

No. 22 UCLA returned to the rankings and simultaneously booted Utah out of them with their 17-9 win in Salt Lake City. The Bruins are now set for an epic rivalry battle with USC that will determine the Pac-12 South. The Utes, meanwhile, are left scratching their heads following a frustrating tumble -- they were ranked in the Top 5 at one point this season.

The overall takeaway here: It appears that the balance of power in the Pac-12 may have shifted to the North. Although Oregon and Stanford have won every single league championship since conference expansion in 2011, that division hasn't featured the same quality depth as its southern counterpart. But with the rise of Washington State and the drop of Utah and USC, the North stands strong in these rankings, accounting for three teams to the South's one.

Of course, the story isn't complete yet. But parity has certainly spread across the entire conference: If Washington wins next week, the Pac-12 will have 10 bowl-eligible teams and these rankings will undergo yet another shake-up.