Pac-12 preview: Utah and Oregon can clinch, McKee questionable

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

Ten need-to-knows for Week 11 of the Pac-12 football season …

1 — Oregon and Utah can clinch their respective divisions on Saturday — a full three weeks before they would meet in the conference championship game and one week before their showdown in Salt Lake City.

Quick summary of the scenarios:


Oregon wins the division with: A victory over Washington State and an Oregon State loss to Stanford.

That combination would give the Ducks a two-game lead over WSU, plus the tiebreaker, with two games remaining; and it would give the Ducks a three-game lead over both Oregon State and Washington with two remaining.


Utah clinches the division with: A victory over Arizona and an Arizona State loss to Washington.

That combination would give the Utes a two-game lead over ASU, plus the tiebreaker, with two games remaining; they would have the same advantage over UCLA, even if the Bruins win their remaining games.

The Utes and Ducks met in the title game in 2019, with Oregon winning 37-15.

2 — Two teams will have new coordinators this weekend while one will trot out an interim head coach:

— Bob Gregory is in charge of Washington's program this week while Jimmy Lake serves a suspension for striking a player.

(The Hotline believes Lake has coached his final game for the Huskies and will be terminated before the suspension ends Sunday.)

— Meanwhile, UW receivers coach Junior Adams will call the plays after the dismissal of offensive coordinator John Donovan. And in Corvallis, Trent Bray will oversee Oregon State's defense following the termination of Tim Tibesar.

3 — Teams ranked in the College Football Playoff selection committee's top 25, by Power Five conference:

Big Ten: six
SEC: six
ACC: three
Big 12: three
Pac-12: two

4 — Oregon State must win one of three games to qualify for its first bowl berth since 2013. The Beavers host Stanford on Saturday and haven't beaten the Cardinal since 2009.

The past two games have been decided by a field goal.

5 — Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee could miss his second consecutive game because of an undisclosed injury.

If he can't play, the Cardinal is expected to start true freshman Ari Patu, who has appeared in one quarter this season — the fourth, against Utah.

6 — Three of the five games scheduled for Saturday will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks: Utah at Arizona, Stanford at Oregon State and Colorado at UCLA.

7 — UCLA coach Chip Kelly is 1-3 following byes during his four years in Westwood, including a loss to Fresno State this season after a two-week break

The Bruins host Colorado on Saturday and have not been on the field since a blowout loss at Utah on Oct. 30.

8 — The game within the biggest game of the weekend:

— Washington State has forced 20 turnovers, the highest total in the conference.

— Oregon has committed just nine turnovers, the third-lowest total in the conference.

9 — Arizona State played a slew of close games early in coach Herm Edwards' tenure, but no longer. All nine games this season have been decided by at least 10 points. The Sun Devils have won six of the nine.

10 — Saturday weather forecasts for northern campuses:

Seattle: 52 degrees and rain.

Eugene/Corvallis: 61 degrees and cloudy.

Jon Wilner's Pac-12 Hotline is brought to through a partnership with the Bay Area News Group.

Jon Wilner has been covering college sports for decades and is an AP Top 25 football and basketball voter as well as a Heisman Trophy voter. He was named Beat Writer of the Year in 2013 by the Football Writers Association of America for his coverage of the Pac-12, won first place for feature writing in 2016 in the Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest and is a five-time APSE honoree. You can follow him on Twitter @WilnerHotline or send an email at

Pac-12 Hotline: Subscribe to the Pac-12 Hotline Newsletter. Pac-12 Hotline is not endorsed or sponsored by the Pac-12 Conference, and the views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Conference.

Jon Wilner


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