EUGENE, Oregon — After another wild Saturday in college football that included No. 12 Oregon defeating No. 10 Utah 20-17 at Autzen Stadium, half of the Pac-12 championship game has been settled.
But the other half remains unsettled.
No. 7 USC earned a spot in Las Vegas on Dec. 2 by beating No. 16 UCLA 48-45.
As for the team that will be taking on the Trojans?
The Ducks (9-2, 7-1) need to beat archrival Oregon State Saturday or finish in a two- or three-way tie involving the Utes to qualify for a date with USC at Allegiant Stadium.
“There’s an awareness obviously of what exists in front of us. We’ve played our best when we’ve focused on what’s next,” Oregon coach Dan Lanning said Saturday night. “That was an elite game, all of our focus and attention was on that game.
“Now it’s going to be on the next one and you worry about the things you can control and what we can control is how we go perform against a really good Oregon State team. We’re going to enjoy this one (Saturday) and tomorrow we’ll be hard at work for that.”
Utah (8-3, 6-2), which would need considerable help to get into the Pac-12 championship, visits Colorado.
Washington would get in if it finds itself in a two-way tie with Oregon.
As of now, USC, which hosts No. 18 Notre Dame, has been projected as a possibility for the College Football Playoff qualifier after No. 5 Tennessee was throttled by South Carolina.
If USC goes to the playoff, that would open the door for Oregon to play in the Rose Bowl.
So, going into the final weekend of the regular season, where are the Utes projected to play?
The Holiday Bowl in San Diego pits an Atlantic Coast Conference team against a Pac-12 team.
Other possible destinations?
The Las Vegas Bowl, which will be played on Dec. 17 at Allegiant Stadium, features a Pac-12 team against a Southeastern Conference team. That could be a good spot for the Utes because of the proximity to campus. Utah hasn’t played in the Las Vegas Bowl since 2015, a 35-28 win over BYU.
The Pac-12 also has tie-ins with the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio on Dec. 29 against a Big 12 team; and the Sun Bowl in El Paso on Dec. 30 against an ACC team.
While the Utes will be focusing on finishing the regular season strong in Boulder, the Ducks are relishing Saturday’s win as they prep for the Beavers.
Utah defeated Oregon twice last season by a combined score of 76-17, including in the Pac-12 championship game.
“That’s a good team we just played,” Lanning said. “I’ve got more respect for Coach (Kyle) Whittingham than anybody else in this conference, he’s won a lot of ball games and that’s a good team. For our team to win a game like that was a lot of fun.”
Quarterback Bo Nix was questionable going into the week due to an injury. While he wasn’t very mobile — he ran only twice for minus-3 yards — he threw for 287 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
The Ducks held the Utes to 326 yards and one offensive touchdown.
“Offense, defense, special teams, it was really a complete team win,” Lanning said. “Certainly there are moments in that game that I’d like to have back. We knew going into it that it would come down to takeaways, I didn’t realize it was going to go both ways. There were three on both sides, you’ve got to take care of the ball in games like that, but that being said, we just felt like every time we took the field offensively, all we needed was one more play, one more opportunity.
“Defense had their back against the wall a couple times and came up big, made some great plays. I can’t say enough about our quarterback. To play in this game after being banged up, having limited practice reps; for him to go out there and have a gusty performance was really important and special for this team. I’m excited for our win, there’s a lot of love in that locker room.”
No. 10 Utah (8-3, 6-2) at Colorado (1-7, 1-10)
Saturday, 2 p.m. MST
TV: Pac-12 Network
Radio: ESPN 700