Pac-12 preview: BYU looks for the sweep, rivalry week streaks, division details



Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

Twelve need-to-knows for Week 13 of the Pac-12 season …

1 — Does Brigham Young own, or rent?

The ultimate bragging rights are on the line Saturday night in the L.A. Coliseum, where USC carries the Pac-12 banner against BYU.

Will the Trojans be more successful than their peers?

The Cougars are 4-0 against the Pac-12 this season, with victories over Utah, Arizona State, Arizona and Washington State.

A five-game sweep would place a fitting bow on the Pac-12's mediocre season and ensure years of sarcasm from a fan base eternally frustrated that a membership invitation never arrived. (At least the Big 12 finally called!)

But that's not all: Because Washington State is alive in the North race, it's possible the 2021 season will conclude with BYU having beaten both division winners.

In that situation, the Pac-12 should seriously consider hiring a crisis communications firm.

The mockery coming from Provo will be relentless, and unmerciful … and justified.

2 — Speaking of divisions, the North scenarios are as follows:

— Oregon wins the division with: a victory over Oregon State.

— Oregon State wins the division with: a victory over Oregon and a Washington State loss to Washington.

— Washington State wins the division with: a victory over Washington and an Oregon State victory over Oregon.

3 — The Oregon schools ceased to call their rivalry game the Civil War in the summer of 2020 and have not settled on a new name.

In fact, they issued a joint statement this week, according to kezi.com:

"The Oregon-Oregon State series continues to be a great rivalry, and we look forward to Saturday's game. We have no updates regarding any new names for the series at this time."

4 — The Pac-12's bowl math is actually quite simple considering what could have been the case entering the final weekend of conference play.

Qualified (six): Oregon, Oregon State, Washington State, Utah, ASU and UCLA

Eliminated (four): Washington, Stanford, Colorado and Arizona

Need two wins (two): Cal and USC

Maximum bids possible: seven (Cal and USC play each other next weekend)

5 — We'll see some Apple Cup history this weekend. Per the conference office:

"For the 2nd straight season and for the first time at the Apple Cup, the Pac-12 will have an all-Black officiating crew including the officials, position supervisor and game evaluator. Last year, the conference made history with the Stanford at UCLA game with its first ever all-Black officiating crew."

6 — Of the seven games this weekend, only one is on the Pac-12 Networks: The Territorial Cup, on Saturday afternoon in Tempe.

Two games made the cut for broadcast television, with Colorado-Utah (Friday) and Notre Dame-Stanford on FOX. (The announcing team of Joe Davis and Brock Huard has both, fortunately.)

In a rarity, ESPN will air two Pac-12 games on Saturday, with Oregon-Oregon State at 12:30 p.m. and then USC-Brigham Young as the nightcap.

7 — Rivalry week streaks of note:

Territorial Cup: Arizona State has won four in a row over Arizona, including the 70-7 victory last year. The Wildcats haven't won in Tempe since 2009.

Apple Cup: Washington has won seven in a row over WSU. The Cougars haven't won in Seattle since 2007.

Rumble in the Rockies: Utah has won four in a row (and eight of the last nine) over Colorado. The Buffaloes haven't won in Salt Lake City since 2011.

Oregon vs. OSU: The Beavers haven't won in Eugene since 2007.

8 — Number of teams in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, per conference:

Big Ten: five
SEC: five
ACC: four
Big 12: three
American: two
Pac-12: two
C-USA: one
Mountain West: one

9 — The most successful teams in the Pac-12 against the spread this season? Glad you asked.

Washington State, Oregon State and UCLA are 7-4 thus far, according to teamrankings.com.

At the other end of the spectrum: Stanford and Washington are 3-8 against the spread.

10 — Bests and worsts:

With a victory, Oregon State would secure its first season of at least eight wins since 2012.

With a loss, Stanford would finish with its worst record (3-9) since the 2006 season, when the Cardinal went 1-11 under Walt Harris.

With a victory, Utah would secure a nine-win season for the sixth time in the last seven years (full seasons only).

11 — USC receiver Drake London is tied for fourth in the nation in receptions, with 88.

He hasn't played since Oct. 30 because of an injury.

12 — Lastly, a quick look ahead:

— Pac-12 coaches will vote on the postseason awards and all-conference team after the championship game on Dec. 3.

The results will be announced early the following week.

— Bowl selections will be made on the afternoon of Dec. 5, hours after the College Football Playoff field is revealed.


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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