A full slate of games resulted in 11 wins for the PAC 12, including 3 wins over Power Conference foes (only one of whom was Rutgers). There were some substantial adjustments in future win projections (generated using G.A.W.P., learn more here). As for bowl projections, there is still a lot we don’t know.
The weekend caused significant separation in the south, with some teams moving up by virtue of looking better than expected in a sure thing (Arizona added an average of 7.8% chance to win each remaining game) and others because they won a statistical toss-up (UCLA). Lots of upward movement for this division generally, as almost every team looked better than the preseason projections. USC is still the only team with a shot at the playoff.
In the North, we had two big jumps, with Cal, who won a 19.8% matchup, now projected to have a good shot at a bowl game and Oregon’s most likely final record all the way up to 9-3. Despite winning, Oregon State has taken a step back and is now projected as having a 0% chance to win 6+ games, down from 11% last week. It’s been a rough couple weeks for Gary Anderson.
Right now, ten teams have more than a 50% chance of being bowl eligible. Everyone, with the exception of ASU in the South and Oregon State in the north, has looked pretty good. Every PAC team with an out of conference foe is favored this week, as well.
Non-conference play is where a conference builds up its bowl-bound corps of teams. Another undefeated or near-undefeated weekend would put the PAC 12 in position to be very busy in the postseason.
There is a new contender for a New Year’s 6 spots. Oregon has a 26% chance of getting to 10 wins right now, and has been elevated from spoiler to contender in the North. The model was satisfied with their blow out of SUU, but it’s doubtful that observers will be so quick on the bandwagon. If they can blow out Nebraska, that will prove a lot more.
Key Game This Week
# 14 Stanford Cardinal at # 4 USC Trojans
Saturday, September 9 at 5:30 Pacific/6:30 Mountain
A battle of conference juggernauts, this early season game has huge playoff implications for both teams. With the rust knocked off of both last week, look for this to be an even and exciting slugfest. Whether USC will be able to stop the running attack of the Cardinal is likely the deciding question in this match up.
Also watch- Utah @ BYU, Boise State @ WSU, Nebraska @ Oregon