Every Pac-12 South team’s road to the conference championship
Let the chaos ensue!
Now 11 weeks into the season, there is still no clear-cut favorite to win the Pac-12 South.
Every team in the division has lost at least three times, and just 1.5 games separate first and last place. Even the last-place UCLA Bruins have an off chance to win the Pac-12 South.
Will Week 11 clear up the race for the division crown, or will it just get murkier? Only time will tell.
Here’s a look at every Pac-12 South team’s path to the conference championship:
Arizona: 5-5 (4-3 Pac-12)
If anything, Kevin Sumlin’s first season in Tucson has been a roller coaster. There have been plenty of low points throughout the season, but recently, Arizona has been one of the Pac-12 South’s better teams.
The Wildcats are coming off back-to-back wins against Oregon and Colorado, and they now sit at .500. Khalil Tate has looked better recently, and against Colorado, he recorded an adjusted QB Rating of 96.4.
Arizona needs a lot of help to get to Santa Clara, but if the Wildcats shocked the college football world and upset Washington State in Pullman, it would be more than possible. Arizona would still need to defeat ASU in the Territorial Cup, plus Utah and USC would both have to lose at least once.
If all of that fell into place, the Wildcats would find themselves in the Pac-12 title game.
Arizona State: 5-4 (3-3 Pac-12)
After faltering in the middle of the season, the proverbial “Herm Train” seems to have returned to the tracks. Following a stretch in which ASU lost four of five, the Sun Devils are now riding a two-game winning streak.
Prior to the recent surge, the offense had stalled. That’s no longer the case.
The Manny Wilkins-N’Keal Harry combination has been volatile as ever lately, and when that’s clicking, Arizona State is near impossible to stop.
Arizona State is the only school in the Pac-12 to control its own destiny. Games still on ASU’s schedule include home against UCLA and road tests vs. Oregon and Arizona.
Winning in an atmosphere like Eugene or Tucson is never easy, but the way ASU has played lately, the Sun Devils could be road favorites in both of those games.
Colorado: 5-4 (2-4 Pac-12)
A 5-0 start allowed Colorado to reach No. 19 in the AP Poll at one point. Oh, how things have changed.
The Buffaloes have lost their last four games, including a devastating 28-point choke to bottom-feeding Oregon State. A team decimated by injuries, Colorado is just hoping to reach the six-win mark needed for bowl eligibility at this point.
There is still a very slim chance that CU wins the Pac-12 South. But it would take a lot.
For that to happen, Colorado has to win out, plus Arizona and USC have to each lose twice in conference. Good luck!
UCLA: 2-7 (2-4 Pac-12)
Yes, you read this correctly. A team mathematically eliminated from bowl contention can still get to the Pac-12 Championship.
Nonetheless, it’s very unlikely. Even though UCLA has shown more signs of life lately, they still haven’t found their identity. That will likely come further down the line in Chip Kelly’s tenure.
Fresh off a blowout loss to Oregon, the Bruins need to win their last three games, Utah to lose twice and Arizona to lose once.
USC: 5-4 (4-3 Pac-12)
Despite having one of college football’s most talented teams, USC has struggled with consistency throughout the season. One week, the Trojans will appear to turn a corner, but the very next week, they’ll implode.
Injuries have also torn USC apart. USC has been without its best linebackers, Cameron Smith and Porter Gustin, for much of the season. JT Daniels was unable to play in the loss against Arizona State.
In spite of all this turmoil, the Trojans very well may have the best shot to win the Pac-12 South. The Trojans’ remaining conference schedule isn’t daunting, with games against California and UCLA remaining.
That being said, USC still needs to win out and for Arizona State and Utah to lose at least once, which is very possible considering their respective schedules.
Utah: 6-3 (4-3 Pac-12)
Last week, Utah sat in the Pac-12 South driver’s seat. A win against ASU would’ve likely been enough for the Utes to cruise to Santa Clara.
Needless to say, things didn’t go according to plan, and the Utes’ path became much more questionable. Now, Utah is dependent on Arizona State losing at least one game.
But even then, Utah has to be flawless in its last two conference games. That’s a tall task when Oregon is still on the schedule.