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Pac-12 looking back & looking ahead 11/18: Utah leaves no doubt

It was a weekend of mostly blowouts and teams fighting for bowl eligibility.

NCAA Football: UCLA at Utah Melissa Majchrzak-USA TODAY Sports

Looking Back

Utah leaves no doubt - I feel a lot of Pac-12 fans are waiting for Oregon and/or Utah to flinch down the stretch. It doesn’t just usually happen in the Pac-12 when teams, it’s pretty rare in college football for a team to be able to avoid an upset in November. Yet, the Utes shut the door on that possibility pretty quickly in their biggest remaining challenge, destroying UCLA in impressive fashion.

Oregon too - The Ducks had a slightly-less scary challenge than Utah with Arizona, but took care of business at home and put the clamps down on Arizona’s usually-dangerous offense. The best sign might be the return of Oregon’s dominant defense after a few weeks of coming down to earth.

USC still fighting - the Trojans grabbed another impressive road win, blowing out a Cal team that had beaten Washington State the last time they played in Berkeley. The Trojans are still punching and if they can beat UCLA in The Coliseum on Saturday, all they have to hope for is Utah to get upset by Arizona or Colorado.

Cougars & Beavers punch in the battle for bowl eligibility - There was massive cluster of 4-5-win teams coming into this weekend fighting to get to six wins and the Cougars and Beavers took care of business, beating teams that were a lot like them in their home stadiums, getting them one win away from a bowl game that could be as big as possibly even the Alamo Bowl.

Looking Ahead

Danger in the desert? The toughest game left on Oregon or Utah’s schedule is Oregon’s trip to Tempe on Saturday. The Ducks and Devils have played a bunch of classics in recent years and the Sun Devils have a quietly-stout run defense. Do the Sun Devils have any shot at upsetting the Ducks?

CFP? Momentum is building for Oregon and Utah in the CFP race, with media even pushing for the one-loss Pac-12 teams over one-loss Big 12 and SEC teams. It really seems like the Pac-12 Championship Game winner could get a Pac-12 team into the Playoff for the first time since 2016 if they only have one loss.

Hot seat? We all know Clay Helton is fighting to survive, but is some heat starting to build at other schools around the Pac-12. Disappointing seasons at Arizona, Cal, Stanford, UCLA, and even at Washington doesn’t mean any of these coaches are getting fired, but things are certainly a little uncomfortable in more places than at USC.