USC football clinches 2020 Pac-12 South title thanks to Colorado loss

USC football celebrates. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)
USC football celebrates. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports) /

USC football has clinched a place in the Pac-12 title game for 2020

USC football came into Saturday knowing they controlled their own destiny in the Pac-12 South. Beat UCLA and the division title would be theirs.

As it turns out, they don’t even need to do that.

When Utah beat Colorado early on Saturday, 38-21, they sealed the division title for the Trojans. Regardless of the outcome of the rivalry game, USC has won the South and will host the Pac-12 title game on Friday.

The conference championship will be played at the Coliseum against the champion of the north, Washington, unless the Huskies are still sidelined by COVID-19. In that case, the Trojans will battle Oregon, in what was predicted as the title tilt in the preseason.

USC football is the Pac-12 South champion for the second time under Clay Helton

This is the second time in four years USC has clinched the South (They also won the South with Helton as an interim in 2015). The last time Clay Helton coached the Trojans to the conference title game, they beat Stanford to win the Pac-12.

Under the strangest of circumstances in 2020, USC is back in position to top the conference.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the UCLA game has lost any meaning. The Trojans are still hoping to keep their slim hopes of a College Football Playoff berth alive. Completing an undefeated regular season is the minimum requirement for that. If USC is 5-0 entering the conference title game, they could finish the campaign 6-0 with a claim to a New Year’s Six appearance even if the playoff looks the other way.

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Bragging rights in Los Angeles are also at stake. The Bruins beat USC in 2018 while the Trojans returned the Victory Bell to cardinal and gold with a win last year at the Coliseum. No doubt Chip Kelly’s team would relish spoiling USC’s season. It’s up to the Trojans to stop that from happening.

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