Pac-12 Football Championship Game scenarios: Stanford wins the North; UCLA-USC to decide South
The dust has settled on another wild Saturday in the Pac-12. Stanford clinched the Pac-12 North while USC and UCLA will battle it out next week in a winner-take-all fight for the Pac-12 South.
For the third time in four years, No. 11 Stanford captured the Pac-12 North title and will head to Pac-12 Football Championship Game on Dec. 5 in Santa Clara. Stanford's 35-22 win over Cal on Saturday sealed the deal; the Bears gave their cross-bay rivals a good fight, but simply couldn't stop the Cardinal running game. Stanford will face the winner of next week's USC-UCLA, winner-take-all game in the Pac-12 South.
The Ducks kept the pressure on the Cardinal, blasting past USC 48-28 in Eugene to improve to 8-3 overall and 6-2 in conference play. However, Stanford's 35-22 win over Cal on Saturday night sealed the Pac-12 North title for the Cardinal.
The Bruins (8-3, 5-3 Pac-12 South) have been much better away from home than they have at the Rose Bowl the past two seasons, and that trend continued Saturday afternoon in the SLC with a 17-9 win at Utah. UCLA controls its own destiny as it looks to head to its third Pac-12 Football Championship Game, needing to beat USC in the final game of the season on Saturday to get to Santa Clara.
[Related: Latest Pac-12 football standings]
So it’ll come down to the crosstown rivalry – the winner of USC-UCLA will head to the Pac-12 Football Championship Game. Although USC (7-4, 5-3 Pac-12) lost handily at Oregon, the Trojans will have the tiebreaker over UCLA and Utah (8-3, 5-3 Pac-12) with a win in the Coliseum since they have already defeated Utah. Just what a Trojans-Bruins clash needed – a little more juice.
It was a good run, Ute fan, but the quest for a conference championship is over in Salt Lake City. Utah is out of contention for the South since it has lost to both USC and UCLA and thus would lose out on a tiebreaker if Utah ends up at 6-3 with either the Trojans or Bruins. On the bright side, Utah can notch its best conference record since joining the Pac-12 with a win against Colorado next weekend