Given that USC played on Thursday night, it was scientifically impossible for them to lose on Saturday. Yet, somewhat miraculously, the 1-2 in-conference Trojans had a chance to have the control of their own destiny in the Pac-12 South restored.
Wacky, right? Yet true. They needed both Utah and Arizona State to lose for that to happen, given how the Trojans’ future schedule sets up with the Utes, Arizona and UCLA all still on the docket.
It wasn’t in the cards however, as Cal quarterback Jared Goff threw five interceptions in Salt Lake City, and the Sun Devils blew out Colorado.
USC, whom it seems will have a tremendously hard time winning enough games as it is, will have to wait another week to get some help.
How did the rest of the Pac-12 South shake out? 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: The polls have been kind to the Utes, as they beat previously undefeated Cal on Saturday night with a No. 5 next to their name. With the win, Utah is 2-0 in the Pac-12 with a pair of wins over Pac-12 North teams. Simply put, they control their own destiny in every sense of the word, both in conference and nationally. But how serious of a threat are they to win the South division? We’ll find out next week when they play host to suddenly hot Arizona State, followed by a trip to USC. The Utes will likely be favored in both games, but it’s a pair of weeks that will surely challenge Kyle Whittingham’s staff, given the talent level of the Sun Devils and Trojans. If they get through unscathed, the division could practically be wrapped up, as Arizona, ASU and USC would have two, two and three losses, respectively. Then there’s the fact that UCLA could potentially get their second loss of the season Thursday at Stanford, where they haven’t won since 2007. The only problem for the Utes is that if they were to lose the next two games, their road would be mighty tough.Tiebreakers held: None
Arizona State: The Sun Devils rolled Colorado on Saturday. Ready for a wild statement and something you’d never have imagined two weeks ago? Here it goes: ASU probably has the easiest path to winning the Pac-12 South *if* they win next week. And really, it’s not even close. Yes, their head to head loss against USC hurts, but the Trojans’ stunning loss to Washington negates that for now. Then there’s the fact that ASU has already played the Los Angeles schools and has drawn a way-worse-than-expected Oregon team out of the North. What it comes down to is next week’s showdown with Utah, as both teams control their own destiny. The Sun Devils, fresh off of good-looking wins over UCLA and Colorado, can feel pretty good about their chances in the South if they beat the Utes, considering that Utah still has tough road games at USC, at Arizona and at Washington on schedule. An ASU win next week, potentially coupled with a UCLA loss at Stanford, would put the Devils in the drivers seat barring a late season collapse. And to be fair, given their history, that’s always a possibility.Tiebreakers held: UCLA, Colorado
UCLA: The Bruins had a bye week as they prepare for back to back Thursday night games, but they had to be thrilled about USC’s loss. The Trojans had controlled their own destiny, and now sit behind UCLA in the standings. Jim Mora’s team still has a daunting schedule though, starting with Stanford in just a few days. They’ve yet to beat the Cardinal in the David Shaw era, and the season-ending games at Utah and at USC are treacherous. That said, if they manage to string together some wins, the reality is that they’re just an ASU loss away from controlling their own destiny. It starts with red-hot Stanford, which would be a potential season-defining game for the Bruins in either direction.Tiebreakers held: Arizona
USC: Losing to unranked Washington was damaging to the Trojans for a variety of reasons. Though it’s safe to say that if they were going to no-show against a conference opponent, it was in their best interest to do it against a team from the Pac-12 North, as ridiculous as that sounds. Since USC has already beaten ASU, and still has games against Utah, Arizona and UCLA on the schedule, their road to Santa Clara isn’t as harrowing as it should be given their 1-2 conference record. As it stands, the Trojans are a Utah and ASU loss away from controlling their own destiny. Mind you, the chances of them holding up their end of the deal by running the table seems rather far fetched.Tiebreakers held: Arizona State
Arizona: After a couple of rough weeks, the Wildcats took out some frustration on Oregon State with a 44-7 shellacking. The Cats are now 1-2 in conference, just like USC is. But their road is a bit tougher, given their head to head loss with UCLA. Upcoming games against Utah, USC and ASU give Arizona a chance of reviving their season, but they still need help. In order to win the South, the Wildcats need to win out, have UCLA lose twice and Utah lose another game.Tiebreakers held: None
Colorado: The Buffs aren’t competing for the Pac-12 South, but bowl eligibility. Their loss to ASU on Saturday puts them at 3-3 to start their 13-game schedule, meaning they have to go 4-3 the rest of the way to go bowling. Is it possible? Maybe, but it’ll take a couple of upset wins. CU gets winnable road games at Oregon State and Washington State, and have always played Utah well for some reason. If they go 2-1 on those trips, their pathway to the postseason probably falls on whether or not they beat Arizona and USC, both of whom they get at home. The Buffs are an up-and-coming team and are capable of stunning one of them. But both? That’s a tall task for what is still a very young team.Tiebreakers held: None
More from Reign of Troy
- Markese Stepp enters transfer portal intending to leave USC football
- USC football’s Alijah Vera-Tucker declares for NFL Draft
- USC football adds Xavion Alford as transfer from Texas
- USC Podcast: RoT Radio Ep. 396 on the Football Season’s Fallout
- Talanoa Hufanga named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, USC football with five first-teamers