USC’s Hopes of Winning the Pac-12 South Slim With ASU Win Over Utah


The USC Trojans ran their Pac-12 record to 5-2 on Saturday in a win over Washington State, but didn’t get much help in the Pac-12 South race due to Arizona State’s win over Utah.

The Sun Devils put a shadow over Arizona’s loss to UCLA and the fact the Trojans are now second in the division by percentage points.

As of right now, there’s only two scenarios that would see the Trojans win the South at this point:

SCENARIO 1: USC wins the Pac-12 South outright or through a head-to-head tiebreaker with Arizona.

SCENARIO 2: A three-way tie at 7-2 between USC, Arizona and Arizona State goes to the Trojans if and only if UCLA finishes 4th at 6-3.

Scenario 1 is the easiest to digest. The Trojans would need to win out, have Arizona beat ASU and then hope that a Pac-12 North team beats the Sun Devils. Under normal circumstances, that’s somewhat plausible.

But ASU’s two remaining games against the Pac-12 North come against lowly Oregon State and Washington State. The Beavers have been awful this season, and the Cougars are now without quarterback Connor Halliday, who suffered a broken leg on Saturday.

More from

Therefore, USC’s most realistic option –and take ‘realistic’ with a grain of salt– is for

Scenario 2


Due to the Pac-12 tiebreaking procedures, the first two tiebreaks would not break the tie. That’s because all three teams would be 1-1 vs. each other and have 3-2 records within the division.

The third tiebreaker is the record against the next team in the standings.

If it’s UCLA, the Trojans would win, as both Arizona and Arizona State have lost to the Bruins, while Scenario 2 has the Trojans hypothetically beating them.

If it’s Utah, the Trojans would lose, as both Arizona and Arizona State would have beaten the Utes. That would revert the tiebreaker back to head-to-head records, meaning Arizona’s hypothetical win over ASU would determine the South.

Quite simply, it’s now in the Trojans’ best interest for Arizona and UCLA to win every game remaining on their schedule outside of the USC vs. UCLA game, and for Utah to lose at least one additional game.

With the Utes hosting No. 5 Oregon next week, and a trip to Stanford still on the docket, a 5-4 conference finish is not out of the question. And that’s the exact mark that USC would need.

Any other sort of ties atop the Pac-12 South, such as a four-way tie at 6-3 or any what have you, would not break in the Trojans’ favor.

So if you’re a USC fan, touch up on your Bear Down Arizona lyrics. And hope that the Trojans can somehow find a way to beat Jim Mora.

More from Reign of Troy

Home/Pac 12 Football News