With a full slate of Pac-12 games this week, let’s look at which games Utah Utes fans should watch. We are in November, and there are many important games this week that will shape the Pac-12 division races down the stretch. Chip Kelly makes his return to Autzen Stadium when his UCLA Bruins take on his former team, the Oregon Ducks, that game almost made the list, but I honestly think UCLA will get crushed. I am mentioning it though because if UCLA loses, and Utah beats the Arizona State Sun Devils (which is obviously a huge game that I are not mentioning because we do not include Utah games in this space), UCLA is eliminated from Pac-12 South contention.
The only Friday Pac-12 game this week, so tune in tonight. This is a big Pac-12 South matchup in Tucson. The loser will have four losses in conference play and will be at a serious disadvantage in the Pac-12 South race (if not eliminated, which Arizona would be if they lose and Utah wins). Utah holds a tiebreaker over Arizona by virtue of Utah’s 42-10 demolishing of Arizona. Utah has yet to play Colorado. That makes Arizona the pick here. An Arizona win would give Colorado four losses in conference play with a home date against the Washington State Cougars next up on the schedule. If Colorado loses to Arizona tonight (or against WSU next week), and Utah beats ASU and Oregon, the Utes clinch the South before they even have to play Colorado. Arizona does not worry me in the South because they need Utah to lose twice, and they still have to play at Washington State, so they realistically are not a threat to win the South.
Keep your television tuned to Pac-12 Network (if you are lucky enough to have it) after the Utah game to see this contest. Shocking that this game does not feature a ranked team and is on Pac-12 Network. I would not have predicted that at the start of the season. This game is essentially an elimination game in the Pac-12 North. Washington still controls its own destiny, but Stanford does not by virtue of losing to Washington State last week. I would really prefer that Utah does not have to face Washington State if the Utes make the title game. Stanford needs Wazzu to lose two games to make the Pac-12 Championship Game. Utah matches up better with Washington than Washington State. While Utah still have a lot of work to do to make the title game, it is worth keeping an eye on their opponent if the stars align the Utes win the South. Washington is the pick here. They still control their own destiny with a win, but they need help if they lose.
OSU is coming off a huge comeback win on the road. USC is coming off a crushing home defeat and made staff changes (head coach Clay Helton took over playcalling duties and fired offensive line coach Neil Callaway). These teams are trending in opposite directions, yet USC is favored by almost three scores. JT Daniels is expected to return to the USC starting lineup after missing the ASU game due to a concussion suffered against Utah. Linebacker Cameron Smith is supposed to be back for USC too. If USC loses this game and Utah wins, USC is eliminated from the South. Root for the Beavers to extend their winning streak, but expect to see the Trojans win.