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Pac-12 Playoff contender breakdown 11/4: Stanford and Utah still alive

Can Stanford of Utah make it into the Playoff?

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports


Stanford 7-1 #9 AP #8 Coaches

The Cardinal survived their first true scare of the Pac-12 season and hopefully got a bad game out of their system. The Cardinal are still far and away the conference's best shot at the Playoff and the good news coming out of Saturday for Stanford was that their somewhat questionable defense actually played fairly well against a spread passing attack that was somewhat similar to the ones Cal and Oregon will throw at them. It was actually their offensive struggles against WSU that caused the most concern.

Next: at Colorado: This might seem like the last gimme game left on Stanford's schedule, but that is not the case. The Buffs are fresh off nearly beating UCLA in the Rose Bowl and get the Cardinal a week after a tough road win and a week before a building showdown with quasi rival Oregon. Throw in a bizarre 10 a.m. pacific time kickoff and you have a potential trap game in Boulder.

Toughest remaining game: 11/28 Notre Dame


Utah 7-1 #13 AP #14 Coaches

The Utes kept their Playoff hopes alive by coasting to a quiet 27-12 win over struggling Oregon State Saturday. The win didn't really move the needle in either direction for the Utes and really the biggest negative of the weekend for them was no team ranked ahead of them suffering an upset. Almost just as important as winning for the Utes at this point is top undefeated and other one-loss teams losing.

Next: at Washington: UCLA might be ranked, but this might actually be Utah's toughest remaining test. They will have to travel to Seattle to play a Washington team with a defense that could be even better than theirs a week after the Huskies trounced Arizona 49-3.

Toughest remaining game: 11/21 UCLA