This was a week where the teams we thought were good got their butts kicked. We’ve gone from a fairly well-sorted PAC 12 to one without definition. This particular breed of chaos probably won’t really be sorted out until the last two weeks of the season.
One interesting tidbit out of this is that it’s pretty clear Todd Graham and Rich Rodriguez have preserved their jobs for the year, with high probabilities of 7+ wins. UCLA is still way up in the air. 6-6 may be enough to keep the gig, but it may not, and there’s a substantial chance that the Bruins wind up with a losing season. Meanwhile, USC has hit mere mortal status. If ASU can pull another upset this week, it will transform the South landscape.
Washington is really the only playoff contender remaining, although they are on the outside looking in as their schedule is very difficult in the closing weeks. They are the world’s biggest ASU fans right now, as the Sun Devils can make that baffling loss look pretty good if they continue to win- and perhaps give the Huskies a chance to redeem themselves in the conference title game.
There are five teams with more than a 90% chance of being bowl eligible. The projections below list a bunch of ‘at-large’ teams, but the harsh reality is that some or all of these teams are going to miss bowl games. It’s caused by a combination of factors- the tendency of the PAC 12 to eat its own is strong this year, and the group took a number of out-of-conference losses that have propagated through the less-than-stellar records of these football teams.
It’s certainly possible that a two loss PAC 12 champion makes the playoffs, but we’re not confident enough to pick that. Washington won’t know it’s fate until the last three games of the season, where there are two ranked foes awaiting and a trap game in the middle. No one else is really in the running, although if Stanford wins out, they will have the benefit of a strong narrative of visible improvement that may sway the committee towards a 2-loss selection.
GAME OF THE WEEK
#21 USC Trojans at Arizona State Sun Devils
Saturday, October 28 at 7:45 Pacific/8:45 Mountain
The South is on the line in this game, a phrase that no one thought would apply to this matchup eight weeks ago. Arizona State stunned Washington, but didn’t convince anyone and came into Utah as heavy underdogs… so they stunned them, too. USC is reeling, meanwhile, and grasping for a positive narrative to bring their season back from life support. This game is huge for both teams and should be very exciting to watch.
Also Watch: WSU at Arizona, Utah at Oregon