Pac-12 preview: More QB shuffling, Utah and Oregon can clinch, points in Pullman



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

Thirteen need-to-knows for Week 12 in Pac-12 football …

1 — And USC makes eight.

Jaxson Dart takes the keys for the Trojans this week, raising to eight the number of teams that have started at least two quarterbacks: Washington State, Oregon State, Utah, Cal, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Arizona.

The reasons have varied. In some cases, injuries forced a change. In other cases, poor performance was at the root of the shuffle. In one case (Cal), COVID intervened.

All in all, this has been a substandard season for the position.

No Pac-12 quarterbacks are in the Heisman Trophy race.

None are projected for the first round of the 2022 NFL draft.

None are in the top 25 nationally in passing efficiency.

The conference has stellar tailbacks, a handful of elite tight ends and the best receiver in the game (USC's Drake London, who's injured).

But it hasn't been an optimal year for quarterback play.

2 — That state of affairs is partly responsible for tepid production. Five of the 10 lowest-scoring teams in the Power Five (points per game) reside in the Pac-12: Cal, Washington, Colorado, Stanford and Arizona.

3 — At least one team, and possibly two, will clinch a division title Saturday. Utah locks up the South with a victory over Oregon; Oregon clinches the North with a victory over Utah.

But the loser of the showdown in Salt Lake City could also clinch, with a little help: The Ducks would need Oregon State to lose, while the Utes would need Arizona State to lose. The Beavers and Sun Devils meet in Corvallis in the nightcap.

4 — Five teams have locked up postseason berths, with several more still alive.

Bowl bids secured: ASU, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA and Utah.
Needs one victory: Washington State
Need two victories: USC and Washington
Needs three victories: Cal
Eliminated: Arizona, Colorado and Stanford

5 — Stanford has won 10 of the last 11 against Cal, with the Bears' lone victory coming two years ago on a game-winning drive orchestrated by Chase Garbers.

Garbers is out of COVID protocol and expected to play this week. Also probable to play is Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee, who has missed the past two games with an undisclosed injury.

6 — Teams in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, by Power Five conference:

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

7 — UCLA is 6-0 this season when rushing for at least 200 yards. Its opponent, USC, is allowing an average of 163.1 yards per game on the ground. We like the Bruins for 231.

8 — In a scheduling quirk, Arizona State is visiting Oregon State for the third consecutive season. The 2019 and 2021 games fit within the regular cross-division rotation. Last year's matchup was the result of the COVID-impacted schedule.

9 — If recent history is any indication, expect a barrage of touchdowns Friday night when Arizona visits Washington State. The winning team has scored at least 45 points in five consecutive matchups:

2014: Arizona 59, WSU 37
2015: WSU 45, Arizona 42
2016: WSU 69, Arizona 7
2017: Arizona 58, WSU 37
2018: WSU 69, Arizona 28

That's right: The Cougars have whacked Arizona around for 69 points in each the past two meetings in Pullman.

10 — Kyle Whittingham is one victory away from setting Utah's record for career coaching victories. He's currently tied with Ike Armstrong (141 wins). Armstrong needed a quarter century to set his mark. Whittingham has done it in 17 seasons.

11 — How's this for extremes:

Washington allows the fewest passing yards per game in the country (135.8), but the Huskies are 117th in rushing yards allowed per game (204.8).

12 — Three Pac-12 coaches were nominated for the Broyles Award, which goes to the nation's top assistant or coordinator:

Cal receivers coach Burl Toler III, Oregon State offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren, and Utah offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig.

Only one Pac-12 assistant has won the award since its inception a quarter century ago: USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow, in 2002.

13 — Weather forecasts on northern campuses hosting games:

Pullman (Friday): 40 degrees and rain
Salt Lake City: 47 degrees with morning rain
Corvallis: 45 degrees and dry
Boulder: 55 and partly cloudy


Jon Wilner's Pac-12 Hotline is brought to KSL.com 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 jwilner@bayareanewsgroup.com.

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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