In the wake of a thrilling national championship game, it is no surprise to see Clemson at No. 1 and Alabama just behind in the final Associated Press Top 25 Poll on Tuesday.
The big surprise was No. 3. And No. 7.
USC, which started the season by losing three of its first four games, made the jump to the third spot on the strength of a last-second victory over Penn State in one of the most-exciting Rose Bowls ever.
There was more good news for the Pac-12 Conference — Washington was No. 4 after losing in a semifinal against Alabama.
Which takes us to that other surprise, No. 7.
Penn State, which played USC toe to toe in the Rose Bowl, defeated...