It may have taken the Pac-12 a couple of weeks to get one game under almost everyone’s belt, but they did it. Their season is underway, and while it may be short, a season is better than no season. If all goes well, maybe Utah will get to play their first game of the season soon.
Of course, with such a late start, games could not be postponed if a team had coronavirus issues. They would have to be canceled—and several already have. While it is understandable why they had to be canceled, doing so created a problem.
If one team goes 4-0 but had two games canceled, would they make it to the conference championship game over a team that was 5-1?
To that end, the Pac-12 decided on the following criteria for eligibility:
“…teams must play no less than one fewer conference game than the average number of conference games played by all conference teams…”
“If any team(s) has not played six (6) Conference games (due to not being able to reschedule a postponed Conference game) and any team(s) is within one Conference win from the team(s) with the highest conference winning percentage AND has an equal number of losses, those teams shall be declared tied.”
In the case of a tie, the conference has eight different tiebreakers beginning with the head-to-head result and ending with a coin toss. But with how the Pac-12 is looking so far, that is probably not something fans will have to worry about.
Pac-12 Championship Odds: Anyone Make A Good First Impression?
If you had ever wondered why teams schedule soft, non-conference opponents to start the season, the reason has become abundantly clear this year. Everyone, from the big dogs down to the perennial losers, has kinks to work out.
Doing so against a soft opponent means you can work through issues without fear of losing the game. But since everyone is playing a conference-only schedule this year, most teams did not get that opportunity.
That is why USC (+150; odds via DraftKings) did not look as good as fans hoped they would against Arizona State (+4000) and Arizona (+4000). But in the end, they got it together in time to win both games. So, as far as the South division race goes, they are in great shape.
They will need to be more consistent from now on if they are going to control their destiny. USC is scheduled to face Utah this weekend and Colorado (who is also 2-0) next week.
Not much was expected of Colorado (+2000) coming into the season, but the offense has been surprisingly good at putting points on the board. That is good since the defense has not been too good at stopping anyone yet.
They will need to beat USC in a couple of weeks if they want a legitimate shot at making the title game.
Why the Pac-12 Champ May Come From the North
Utah, while they have yet to play, is still in the hunt (+1200). They can make a bold statement with a win over USC this weekend (if they play).
UCLA’s (+1600) offense looked good in their first game (a loss to Colorado), but their defense did not. Against Cal, they looked good on both sides of the ball. But they will have to earn their spot in the title game with wins over Oregon and USC this year.
In the North Division, Oregon (+150) is running the show as expected. They cruised by Stanford in their season opener. Washington State made it tough on them last weekend, but the Ducks still won by 14. Of their four remaining games, their most formidable opponent left is UCLA, who they face this week.
Of the rest of the division, Washington (+700) is undefeated (1-0), but they struggled against a bad Oregon State (+50000) team. Washington State (+2200) may have the best chance of challenging Oregon, but since the Ducks have already beaten them, the Cougars will have to win out and get some help.
As expected, it looks like USC and Oregon are going to meet in the conference title game. But anything can happen over the next few weeks. Just because someone has looked good after one or two games does not mean anything.
Right, Mississippi State?