This week in Pac-12 football

PAC-12 FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
No. 8 COLORADO vs. No. 4 WASHINGTON
Friday, December 2
6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET
Levi’s Stadium - Santa Clara, Calif.
FOX/FOX Deportes

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Preview: Washington looks for its first Pac-12 title since 2000 and a spot in the College Football Playoff, but standing in the way is Colorado, which has posted its first 10-win season since 2001. The champion will secure a spot in the Rose Bowl Game. However, if the champion is one of the top four teams in the CFP rankings, it will play in one of the CFP semifinal games (PlayStation Fiesta Bowl or Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl) on December 31.

FOX: Joe Davis, play-by-play; Brady Quinn, analyst; Jenny Taft, sideline

ESPN Radio: Bill Rosinski, play-by-play; David Norrie, analyst; Ian Fitzsimmons, sideline

Series Record: Washington leads, 9-5-1. First meeting was in 1915, a 46-0 Husky victory in Seattle. The Huskies have won the last six meetings.

Last Meeting: Nov. 1, 2014, Boulder, Colo. Washington prevailed, 38-23.  The Buffs lost a 10-0 first quarter lead but remained in front 20-17 at halftime. Then Washington converted three Colorado turnovers into two third-quarter touchdowns and exited the quarter with a 31-23 advantage. The Huskies got those two TDs barely a minute apart, and less than 2 minutes into the fourth quarter, Dante Pettis’ 87-yard punt return for a touchdown all but finished off the Buffs. Washington’s Shaq Thompson rushed 15 times for 174 yards and one TD, while Cyler Miles completed 13 of 19 passes for 206 yards and two TDs. Colorado’s Sefo Liufau was 36-of-52 for 314 yards and two TDs. Nelson Spruce was on the receiving end of 13 passes for 138 yards.

Statistical Matchup: Comparing the two teams...

  Colorado Washington
Rushing 201.1 avg 205.4 avg
Passing 268.8 avg 279.6 avg
Total Offense 469.9 avg 485.0 avg
Scoring Offense 34.8 ppg 44.8 ppg
Rush Defense 135.9 avg 127.0 avg
Pass Defense 187.8 avg 201.9 avg
Total Defense 323.8 avg 328.9 avg
Scoring Defense 18.8 ppg 17.8 ppg

Pac-12 FCG Records: Pac-12 FCG results and records are available on pages 10-13

NORTH DIVISION GOES TO WASHINGTON
Washington defeated Washington State in Friday’s Apple Cup to claim the Pac-12 North Division title and a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game. It’s the first time in six seasons that the North crown went to a team other than Oregon or Stanford. 

SOUTH DIVISION GOES TO COLORADO
Colorado took control of its own destiny and capped the regular season with a win over Utah to capture the South Division crown outright with a 8-1 record. It’s the first Division title for the Buffs and they become the fifth different school in the last six years to win the division (2011 - UCLA, 2012 - UCLA, 2013 - Arizona State, 2014 - Arizona, 2015 - USC, 2016 - Colorado).

DIVISION CHAMPIONS: It’s worth noting that no team has come through Conference play unscathed since the league expanded to 12 teams. In four of the previous five seasons of Pac-12 play, the North Division champion finished Conference play with one loss. Only the 2013 season produced a North Division champion with more than one loss when Oregon and Stanford each finished tied at 7-2. While in the South Division, Colorado now joins Arizona State (2013) as the only South Division championships to finish with 8-1 records.

CFP RANKINGS: WASHINGTON has fluctuated between No. 4 and No. 6 in the CFP rankings this season and enter the Pac-12 Football Championship Game this week at No. 4 ... COLORADO is No. 8 in this week’s CFP rankings, followed by No. 11 USC, No. 18 STANFORD and No. 20 UTAH. Week five’s rankings list five Pac-12 teams, it’s the 11th time in 18 CFP rankings that the Pac-12 was representing by five or more teams ... Utah is one of five schools (also Alabama, Clemson, Florida State and Ohio State) that has appeared in all 18 CFP rankings (7 in 2014, 6 in 2015, 5 in 2016).

POLL NOTES: COLORADO remains at No. 9 in this week’s AP Top 25. USC also slipped into the TOP 10 at No. 10. With the Buffaloes at No. 9, that makes nine different Pac-12 teams that have now appeared in the AP Top 10 over the last three seasons ... Washington has been in the AP Top 10 for 13 consecutive weeks, the longest stretch in the Top 10 since it appeared in the Top 10 37 straight weeks from 1990-92 ... On Oct. 2, COLORADO (No. 21) made its first appearance in the AP poll since 2005. The Buffs are No. 9 in this week’s poll, the highest placing since it was slotted at No. 7 the week of Aug. 26, 2002.

PILING UP THE POINTS: WASHINGTON STATE has scored 50 or more points a record four times this season. It’s 125 combined points in back-to-back games (69 vs. Arizona, 56 vs. California) are the most ever for the Cougars over two games ... Eighteen times a Pac-12 team has topped 50 points in a game this season ... Washington State is averaging 40.3 points per game, the same as its single-season school record of 40.3 ppg set in 2007 ... WASHINGTON, which leads the Pac-12 with 44.8 points per game, is on pace to pass its single-season school record of 41.9 ppg set in 1991. It has scored 40 points or more in nine games ... At 37.1 points per game, CALIFORNIA is just 1.1 point behind its modern-era mark of 38.2 ppg established in 2014.

REVOLVING QUARTERBACKS: A total of 22 different quarterbacks have started this season, led by ARIZONA and ARIZONA STATE with three each. Only CALIFORNIA, UTAH, WASHINGTON and WASHINGTON STATE has started the same signal-caller for each of their games this season.

    3 - Arizona, Arizona State (combined record: 8-16)
    2 - Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, USC (combined record: 39-31)
    
1 - California, Utah, Washington, Washington State (combined record: 32-16)

35 TD PASSES: Washington’s Jake Browning, Washington State’s Luke Falk and California’s Davis Webb have each thrown 35 or more TD passes this season. Nine times over the last three seasons a Pac-12 quarterback has thrown 35 or more TD passes in a season. Prior to the 2014 season, a Pac-12 quarterback tossed 35 or more TD passes just four times. Here’s a list of the Pac-12 single-season leaders for TD passes:

    43..........Jared Goff, California, 2015
    42..........Marcus Mariota, Oregon, 2014
    
40..........Jake Browning, Washington, 2016
    
39..........Cody Kessler, USC, 2014
    
39..........Matt Barkley, USC, 2014
    
38..........Davis Webb, California, 2016
    
38..........Luke Falk, Washington State, 2015
    
38..........Matt Leinart, USC, 2003
    
37..........Luke Falk, Washington State, 2016
    
37..........Sean Mannion, Oregon State, 2013
    
37..........Andrew Luck, Stanford, 2011
    
36..........Matt Barkley, USC, 2012
    
35..........Jared Goff, California, 2014

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