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Comparing Utah, Arizona State and UCLA’s remaining schedules in the race for the Pac-12 South title

As we enter the home stretch of the season, here’s a look at the remaining schedules for each of the three Pac-12 South contenders — Utah, Arizona State and UCLA — along with ESPN’s FPI chance to win each game

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The Utah Utes and Arizona State Sun Devils line faces each other before a snap

Utah Utes and Arizona State Sun Devils line up in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

At the halfway point of their 2021 campaign, the Utah Utes’ season has turned around in a hurry.

Entering Pac-12 play, the Utes were 1-2 with a struggling offense. Now, Utah has won its first three Pac-12 games — including a win over then-No. 18 Arizona State — and is in control of the Pac-12 South Division.

As we enter the home stretch of the season, here’s a look at the remaining schedules for each of the three realistic Pac-12 South contenders — Utah, Arizona State and UCLA.

Below each game is ESPN’s FPI chance to win that game. ESPN says that over 10 seasons, the FPI favorite has won 75% of FBS-versus-FBS games. In 2021, an upset-filled season, FPI has correctly predicted the winner of the game 70.7% of the time, according to The Prediction Tracker.

Of course, football is played on the field, not on paper, so take these projections with a grain of salt, but it does give an idea of how tough the remaining schedule is for each of the Pac-12 South contenders.


Utah (4-2, 3-0 Pac-12)

  • Oct. 23 — at Oregon State (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12)

FPI projection: Utah 54.3%

  • Oct. 30 — vs. UCLA (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12)

FPI projection: Utah 66%

  • Nov. 5 — at Stanford (3-4, 2-3 Pac-12)

FPI projection: Utah 62.8%

  • Nov. 13 — at Arizona (0-6, 0-3 Pac-12)

FPI projection: Utah 92.3%

  • Nov. 20 — vs. Oregon (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12)

FPI projection: Utah 54.3%

  • Nov. 26 — vs. Colorado (2-4, 1-2 Pac-12)

FPI projection: Utah 88.3%

Remaining strength of schedule: 61st

Chance to win Pac-12 South: 68.2%

By beating Arizona State, the Utes are two games up on the Sun Devils. Arizona State has to finish with a better conference record than Utah to win the South. If the two teams tie for first, the Utes would win the South because they hold the tiebreaker over the Sun Devils by virtue of winning the head-to-head matchup.

Even if Arizona State wins the rest of its games, Utah would need to lose two of its remaining six for the Sun Devils to win the South.

Utah does have a harder remaining strength of schedule than both Arizona State and UCLA. Nothing is a gimme in the Pac-12, but Utah will be heavily favored against Arizona and Colorado. Utah will also be favored against Stanford, but the Cardinal did upset Oregon.

Oregon State and UCLA — especially if UCLA upsets Oregon this week — will be tough matchups, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Utah is an underdog in the Nov. 20 matchup against No. 10 Oregon.

If the Utes beat both Oregon State and UCLA, they will be in really good shape to win the Pac-12 South.


Arizona State (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12)

  • Oct. 30 — vs. Washington State (4-3, 3-2 Pac-12)

FPI projection: ASU 87.3%

  • Nov. 6 — vs. USC (3-3, 2-3 Pac-12)

FPI projection: ASU 66%

  • Nov. 13 — at Washington (2-4, 1-2 Pac-12)

FPI projection: ASU 53.6%

  • Nov. 20 — at Oregon State (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12)

FPI projection: ASU 55.4%

  • Nov. 27 — at Arizona (0-6, 0-3 Pac-12)

FPI projection: ASU 95.6%

Remaining strength of schedule: 77th

Chance to win Pac-12 South: 20.2%

Arizona State has the easiest strength of schedule of the three contenders, and the Sun Devils will have to take advantage of that. ASU does need help from Utah — even if ASU wins out, Utah would have to lose two game for the Sun Devils to win the South.

The Sun Devils are going to be heavy favorites against Washington State and Arizona, and will be favorites against USC.

A game in Corvallis against Oregon State could give the Sun Devils trouble, though, and even though Washington is 2-4, a trip to Seattle is never easy.


UCLA (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12)

  • Oct. 23 — vs. Oregon (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12)

FPI projection: UCLA 46.9% (Oregon 53.1%)

  • Oct. 30 — at Utah (4-2, 3-0 Pac-12)

FPI projection: UCLA 34% (Utah 66%)

  • Nov. 13 — vs. Colorado (2-4, 1-2 Pac-12)

FPI projection: UCLA 87.4%

  • Nov. 20 — at USC (3-3, 2-3 Pac-12)

FPI projection: UCLA 44.7% (55.3% USC)

  • Nov. 27 — vs. Cal (1-5, 0-3 Pac-12)

FPI projection: UCLA 82.6%

Remaining strength of schedule: 64th

Chance to win Pac-12 South: 11.2%

UCLA would effectively be out of the Pac-12 South race, barring an epic collapse by Utah and Arizona State, if the Bruins lose to No. 10 Oregon and then lose at Utah, putting UCLA at 3-3 in conference play and on the wrong side of tiebreakers with the Utes and Sun Devils.

If the Bruins can upset Oregon and beat Utah at Rice-Eccles Stadium, they would leapfrog Utah by holding the tiebreaker for winning the head-to-head matchup and the South race would get very interesting.