Saturday was not a good day for the Pac-12’s College Football Playoff chances, as illustrated by Oregon losing at home in the final seconds to its bitter rival Washington in their border war.
A handful of teams benefit greatly from Oregon losing at home to Washington on Saturday night.
Although the UCLA Bruins would lose a dumb one to the Arizona Wildcats while we were all asleep, the Oregon loss to Washington was especially important to the overall College Football Playoff landscape. This was the Ducks’ second loss, and their first in Pac-12 play. This means that they have been eliminated from any serious College Football Playoff conversations going forward.
With the Ducks coming up short vs. the Huskies, what teams gained the most from this huge loss?
College Football Playoff: 3 teams who gained the most for Oregon’s second loss
USC is now the presumptive favorite to come out of the Pac-12 this season
Admittedly, the chances of the Pac-12 even getting a team in this year took two massive hits on Saturday with Oregon and UCLA both losing. However, the conference should have at least five ranked teams in the next College Football Playoff rankings, none higher than the one-loss USC Trojans. Should the Trojans win their next three games, they will be going to the playoff, alright.
As it stands now, they are the only one-loss team in the Pac-12. Although Oregon and Utah only have one conference blemish apiece, the Ducks and the Utes lost in the non-conference over Labor Day Weekend to Georgia and Florida, respectively. While the Selection Committee may not ding them too badly for this, two losses outside of the SEC or Big Ten will be too hard to overcome.
Ultimately, USC will have to earn its way in. The Trojans will finish conference play at crosstown rival UCLA on Saturday before hosting traditional rival Notre Dame at regular season’s end. Should the Trojans win both and beat whomever they would face in Las Vegas in the Pac-12 conference title bout, they are getting in, no questions asked at 12-1 (8-1). Will the Trojans be able to do this?
Keep in mind that the Trojans will be without star running back Travis Dye for the rest of the year.