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Pac-12 looking back & looking ahead 11/4: Oregon & Utah make statements on the road

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The Ducks and Utes officially stamped themselves as the Pac-12’s best on the road.

NCAA Football: Oregon at Southern California Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Looking Back

Oregon blows up the final trap - Every metric suggests Oregon should lose a conference game or two this season and the biggest test left on the schedule looked like at USC. It looked true early as the Trojans jumped ahead, but the Ducks ran away in a flash like they would in the Chip Kelly days and now look like they could easily walk into the Pac-12 Championship Game as the only team to run the conference table since the Pac-12 was created.

Utah passes a major test and takes control - The Utes scored their biggest win of the season at a tough Washington team and then got a gift from Oregon taking down USC, giving them control in the South. The Utes now just need to avoid a November upset, stay healthy, and they should have a great shot against Oregon in Santa Clara.

Washington in peril - I think most expected Washington to take a step back this season after graduating so much talent in 2018 and losing players early to the NFL, but I don’t think anyone say them as being 2-4 in Pac-12 play in November. A rebuilding season is fine. The Huskies just have to rally against easier competition down the stretch and avoid having this be a disaster season that has long-term negative effects.

Clay Helton should officially be gone - If there was any hope that Helton was the man at USC the Trojans would have taken advantage of an opportunity to grab an upset against Oregon in The Coliseum. Instead, they were only able to compete for a quarter and a half and it’s time for the Trojans to start looking for a new coach.

Chip Kelly putting it together again at UCLA - The Bruins are starting to look like the Bruins of last year again. They started painfully slow, but were a hard out by the end of the season. The question now is if they can win enough games to get to a bowl.

Looking Ahead

Can Oregon & Utah avoid upsets? The Ducks and Utes are on a collision course for Santa Clara. We could have a true showdown of one-loss teams with legit CFP hopes for a championship game if they can avoid the usual upsets that seems to plague Pac-12 teams pre-spoiling most marquee match-ups. It certainly feels like these two teams should be able to avoid it this year with what’s left on their schedules though.

Can the Pac-12 get back to the CFP? It seemed impossible just a few weeks ago that Oregon or Utah could legitimately make it into the CFP, but after some national upsets, and both teams navigating land mines in Seattle and so on, it feels like the Ducks or Utes could sneak into the CFP if they can run the table from here.

Who is next at USC? It hasn’t been announced yet, but I’d be shocked if Clay Helton survives the next few weeks. Now the only questions are who is USC’s next coach? And will it finally be a good hire?