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Pac-12 College Football Playoff Contenders 10/21: Stanford, Utah and even Cal still in the hunt

Three Pac-12 teams still have a shot at the Playoffs.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Frontrunners

Utah 6-0 #3 AP #7 Coaches

The Utes are the only Pac-12 team that likely controls their own Playoff destiny. Everything is right there in front of them to get to the Pac-12 Championship Game undefeated, but as we know avoiding upsets in the wild Pac-12 this year is going to be damn near impossible. The Utes should be guaranteed a Playoff spot if they can win out and will likely still get consideration with one loss, depending on how things shake out.

This week - at USC - The Utes face their biggest remaining regular season challenge in my opinion. The Trojans are the most-talented team left on their schedule, it's on the road and the Trojans have their backs against the wall. Plus, the stakes are really high for Utah - win this game and it is really hard to see them not winning the South.

Toughest remaining game - 10/24 at USC

Contenders

Stanford 5-1 #10 AP #11 Coaches

Stanford looks like the best one-loss team in the country to me and could be this year's Ohio State. That opening loss to Northwestern puts them in a tough spot though where they need teams ahead of them to lose. Most likely, enough teams will lose that the Cardinal will get into the Playoffs if they win out.

This week - Washington - The Huskies have played Stanford really well recently, but that was the Stanford that didn't have an offense. The Cardinal should be able to win this game easily if they can turn it into an offensive affair because Washington's offense is the worst in the Pac-12.

Toughest remaining game - 11/28 Notre Dame

Longshots

Cal 5-1 #20 AP #19 Coaches

I know this seems crazy, but I think Cal still has a remote chance of making the Playoffs if they can win out. This is what I think would need to happen... Stanford wins out until The Big Game, Cal beat them and then Utah wins out until the Pac-12 Championship Game when Cal beats them. I think that finish to the season would put Cal into a realistic situation where they could make the Playoffs as a one-loss team, especially considering that their only loss would be a close one at Utah that they corrected by winning at a neutral site.

This week - at UCLA - The Bruins are struggling, but they are still an ultra-talented team playing at home. This is a huge test to me to see if Cal is a good team that should make a bowl game and win 6-8 games or if they are a true Pac-12 championship contender.

Toughest remaining game - 11/21 at Stanford