After a Friday night victory, USC got to sit back on Saturday and watch the Pac-12 cannibalize itself. Now the Trojans are in control of their own destiny, while the conference standings look as muddled as ever.
Hopes of a Pac-12 representative in the College Football Playoff were dashed by losses for both Stanford and Utah.
The Cardinal attempted a miracle to survive the Duck’s upset bid, scoring in the final seconds with a two-point conversion separating them from overtime. That conversion was unsuccessful and ultimately two late fumbled snaps recovered by Oregon ensured Stanford’s failure.
In late night Pac-12 action, Arizona welcomed Utah to the desert and finished what they started when they challenged USC two weeks ago. Despite losing Anu Solomon to injury, the Wildcats were led by Jerrard Randall to an unlikely victory over the nation’s No. 10 team. Randall completed just one pass on the night, but he made that one count by hitting Nate Phillips on a 25-yard touchdown on the first play of double overtime.
That Utah loss opened the door to the South Division title so wide that UCLA’s stunning loss to Washington State at the Rose Bowl may have minimal effect on the race.
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?
USC: It was tough sledding against Colorado, but the Trojans escaped with a win to start the weekend. By the end of it, they would stand as kings of the hill in the Pac-12 South thanks to losses by Utah and UCLA. Now, USC’s formula for success can be summed up very simply: Win and you’re in.
Absent that, the Trojan’s could still represent the South with a loss. If USC were to lose to Oregon on Saturday, they would drop to 5-3 in conference, with all three losses to Pac-12 North squads. The Bruins’ loss to Washington State means a three-loss Trojan team who owned tiebreakers over everyone else in the division could go to the title game. They would just need one of UCLA or Colorado to do them a favor by handing Utah a third loss on the season.Tiebreakers held: Utah, Arizona State, Arizona, ColoradoTo win the South: Win out OR Beat UCLA and have Utah lose once
Utah: Losing to Arizona was a huge blow to the Ute’s chances of representing the Pac-12 in the playoff, but their hopes of winning the South have not been completely snuffed out. They no longer control their own destiny, but winning out would set them up in position to benefit from a Trojan loss in their difficult final two games.Tiebreakers held: Arizona StateTo win the South: Win out, have USC lose once
UCLA: One the one hand, UCLA’s loss to Washington State matters little in the grand scheme of things. Like USC, the Bruins control their own destiny with their remaining to games coming against the very teams they’re racing to the finish line. If Jim Mora’s squad regroups and beats both the Utes and the Trojans they will go north for the championship game.Tiebreakers held: Arizona, ColoradoTo win the South: Win out
Arizona State: The Sun Devils were on a bye this week, but aside from bemoaning a win by their rivals, their fate has not changed. There is no mathematical chance for Arizona State to win the South.Tiebreakers held: UCLA, ColoradoTo win the South: Arrange for the NCAA to institute post-season bans on Utah, USC and UCLA.
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Arizona: There’s no doubt that Arizona has played a role in shaping the Pac-12 South standings in November, but that’s the end of their involvement in the division title race. Their one remaining contest is a rivalry game for pride against Arizona State.Tiebreakers held: UtahTo win the South: Maybe next year.
Colorado: The Buffs huffed and puffed but they couldn’t blow the Trojans’ house down. Of course they could still have a role to play in the division. If USC loses to Oregon, Colorado could do the Trojans a favor by knocking off the Utes in the final game of the season.Tiebreakers held: NoneTo win the South: Nope.