Pac-12 South Standings and 2015 Championship Game Forecast: Week 5


Saturday was the craziest day we’ve seen in college football this year, and reminder of how chaotic the 2007 season was. Four of the Top 10 teams in the nation lost, including both of USC’s rivals. But what’s it mean for the Pac-12 South Standings on the week of the Trojans’ bye?

RELATED: Ranking USC’s 2015 Opponents By Difficulty

In short, it means that we don’t know what the hell is going to happen this year, because it’s probably going to get wackier.

Arizona State, a week after having the doors blown off by USC, somehow walked into the Rose Bowl and took it to UCLA for three quarters before withstanding a late comeback attempt.

Then there was Arizona, who is in disarray one week removed from hosting College Gameday. The Cats were blown out by Stanford 55-17.

Yes, that’s the same Stanford team that Northwestern held to just two field goals. And it’s the same Stanford team that became the latest ‘unranked team to beat USC’. Needless to say, a lot has changed in hindsight.

The Trojans didn’t play, but now have the added insurance of Stanford looking like a quality loss and UCLA getting knocked down a peg in the South.

Steve Sarkisian said after Saturday’s practice that he loved being able to just be a fan this weekend. Surely, he’s pleased with the results.

Here’s a look at the Pac-12 South standings and how each team fares in the hunt to get to the Pac-12 Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium.

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How will they make it?

Utah: Things could not have gone more right for the Utes, who spent the week at home idle. Both UCLA and Arizona lost, which is even more house money to the dark horse Pac-12 title contenders. The next two weeks are massive for Utah, as they face upstart and undefeated Cal, followed by ASU. They won’t be easy, but they’re both at Rice-Eccles, where the Utes are extremely difficult to beat. If they get through those unscathed, they could be looking a Pac-12 South showdown at the top of the table with USC in three weeks.Tiebreakers held: None

USC: It was the perfect bye week for the Trojans as well, and not just because UCLA and Notre Dame lost. They got a great deal of help from Stanford’s win over Arizona, both in strength of schedule and the Pac-12 South race. As it stands now, the winner of the USC-Utah game on October 24th will be in the driver’s seat in the Pac-12 South. But a lot can change in three weeks. What is certain is that the Trojans control their own destiny and a win over Washington on Thursday could ensure that for another two weeks.Tiebreakers held: Arizona State

UCLA: There’s a hotly contested debate about who the best coach in the Pac-12 South is. Is it Jim Mora, Todd Graham or Rich Rodriguez? The answer: Check back next week, because it’ll change. Just seven days after UCLA dismantled Arizona in Tucson, they were flat out beaten by an ASU team that was down 35-0 at the half to USC. It’s damaging for the Bruins, because had they won, both Arizona and ASU would’ve practically been eliminated from winning the Pac-12 South. Now, the Bruins are at the mercy of ASU within the division, as they were two years ago. And of course, they now head up to see their nemesis Stanford on the Farm next Thursday night. Because they close the season with Utah and USC, they can still win the South if lose to the Cardinal for the eighth-straight time and get help via an ASU loss. However, there would be zero margin for error and both of those games are on the road. In other words, it’s a must-win in Palo Alto.Tiebreakers held: Arizona

Arizona State: The Sun Devils absolutely needed a win in Pasadena, as they couldn’t go down 0-2 in the Pac-12 with both loses coming to the LA schools. They got it, beating UCLA 38-23 by outlasting a late fourth quarter rally. The win rejuvenates the Devils, as now they’re in a pretty decent place in the South. Only USC has the inside track on them at the moment.  But a trip to Utah looms in two weeks, preceded by a visit from Colorado. Can they win both of those games? Definitely, which would do wonders for their title hopes. Will they? That’s another story.Tiebreakers held: UCLA

Colorado: The Buffs had a chance to tie Utah at the top of the Pac-12 South table if they beat wounded Oregon, but it didn’t happen. They had their chances and Sefo Liufau is a dandy of a quarterback. At some point, they’re going to beat a very good team in the Pac-12, but it’ll have to still be sometime in the future. At 3-2 through five weeks, they’re probably not going to win four games in conference to get to the 7-6 record required for a bowl berth.Tiebreakers held: None

Arizona: After losing to UCLA last week, the Wildcats needed to bounce back this week at Stanford. It didn’t happen, as they were blown out on the Farm 55-17. Arizona is 0-2 in the Pac-12 for the third time in four years under head coach Rich Rodriguez. That’ll all but eliminate the Cats from the Pac-12 title game, as they’d need to not only win out but hope that UCLA loses another game. Plausible, but with Scooby Wright out for ‘several weeks’, that scenario doesn’t look remotely likely.Tiebreakers held: None

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