Entering week 12, Utah’s mission is clear; keep winning, at and worse they’ll walk into the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day to take on one of the best teams the Big 10 has to offer. However, if a few cards fall the right way, a playoff bid is within reach. Here are the games to keep an eye on in order forthat to happen.
#5 Alabama vs Mississippi State Saturday 10:00 AM - ESPN
The Bulldogs are +18.5 point underdogs, with ESPN’s FPI only giving the home team a 12.8% chance to claim victory, but if the PAC-12 wants to avoid another season with the SEC getting two teams into the playoffs, Alabama will need to drop another game between now and the end of the season. A trip to rival Auburn still looms large at the end of the season, but an upset to the 4-5 Bulldogs would certainly be the dagger Utah needs to continue climbing the rankings.
#4 Georgia vs #12 Auburn Saturday 1:30 PM - CBS
A pair of victories over top 15 teams have moved Georgia into the playoff conversation after an embarrassing loss to South Carolina seemingly eliminated the SEC East’s top dog from the conversation, but a trip to Auburn this week could have the Bulldogs falling in the rankings once again. A two-loss team will have a hard time remaining ranked ahead of either of the PAC-12’s top contenders, especially with an ugly loss on their resume. Both Oregon and Utah fans should be Auburn fans, realistically through the rest of the regular season when they face Alabama.
#10 Oklahoma vs #13 Baylor Saturday 5:30 PM - ABC
What looks to be a preview of the Big 12 championship game, Oklahoma travels to face-off against the undefeated Bears. Baylor has squeaked out close wins over Rice, Iowa State, Texas Tech, West Virginia and TCU this season, but a date with the 10th ranked Sooners will give the committee an idea if Baylor is truly a contender this season or a lucky team with a soft schedule. If the Bears can keep winning and manage an undefeated season, it seems unlikely the CFP would put a one-loss PAC-12 champion over an undefeated Big 12 champ. Utah fans should be rooting for an Oklahoma victory this week.