Utah’s Pac-12 championship game hopes took a major blow in the Utes’ 20-17 loss to Oregon on Saturday night.

Utah’s loss, coupled with USC’s win over UCLA, leaves only one scenario in which Utah could get back to the Pac-12 championship game.

The Utes needs to beat Colorado in the season finale and will need help from three other teams, but this scenario does have a chance to happen.

A Pac-12 official confirmed to the Deseret News that Utah would be in the Pac-12 championship game vs. USC if all four of these results happen:

  • Washington wins at Washington State — Washington wins 51-33.
  • Utah wins at Colorado — Utah wins 63-21.
  • Oregon State wins vs. Oregon — Oregon State wins 38-34.
  • UCLA wins at Cal — UCLA wins 35-28.

If those results happen, here is what the Pac-12 standings would look like:

Pac-12 standings

TeamConference Record
Oregon State6-3
Washington State4-5
Arizona State2-7

USC, with an 8-1 conference record, has already clinched its spot in the Pac-12 title game and plays Notre Dame to close out the regular season. Stanford, with a 1-8 conference record, plays BYU on the final week of the season.

Utah, Oregon and Washington would be in a three-way tie for second place in the Pac-12 with a 7-2 conference record.

Remember, the top two teams in the Pac-12 go to the Pac-12 championship game. It’s not South champion vs. North champion anymore.

Enter the Pac-12 multiple-team tiebreaker rules.

Pac-12 Multiple-Team Tiebreaker Rule

“In the event of a tie between more than two teams, the following procedures will be used. After one team has an advantage and is “seeded”, all remaining teams in the multiple-team tie-breaker will repeat the multiple-team tie-breaking procedure. If at any point the multiple-team tie is reduced to two teams, the two-team tie-breaking procedure will be applied. 

1. Head-to-head (best cumulative win percentage in games among the tied teams). If not every tied team has played each other, go to step 2.”

Utah and Washington did not play each other. Move to step two.

“2. Win percentage against all common conference opponents (must be common among all teams involved in the tie)”

Utah, Washington, Oregon common opponents:

Oregon State (Utah W, Oregon L, Washington W)

UCLA (Utah L, Oregon W, Washington L)

WSU (Utah W, Oregon W, Washington W)

Arizona (Utah W, Oregon W, Washington W)

Stanford (Utah W, Oregon W, Washington W)

Colorado (Utah W, Oregon W, Washington W)

Record against common opponents:

Utah: 5-1. Oregon: 5-1. Washington: 5-1. Move to step three.

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“3. Record against the next highest placed common opponent in the standings (based on record in all games played within the conference), proceeding through the standings. 

a. When arriving at another group of tied teams while comparing records, use each team’s win percentage against the collective tied teams as a group (prior to that group’s own tie-breaking procedure) rather than the performance against individual tied teams.”

UCLA and Oregon State both have a 6-3 conference record, making them the highest-ranked common opponents among Utah, Oregon and Washington and invoking section 3(a).

Utah 1-1 vs. OSU and UCLA, Oregon 1-1 vs. OSU and UCLA, Washington 1-1 vs. OSU and UCLA. Move to step 4.

“4. Combined win percentage in conference games of conference opponents (ie, strength of conference schedule)”

Utah has the advantage in conference strength of schedule.

Utah: ASU (2-7), OSU (6-3), UCLA (6-3), USC (8-1), WSU (4-5), Arizona (3-6), Stanford (1-8), Oregon (7-2), Colorado (1-8) = 38 wins, 43 losses (0.469135802469136 combined win percentage)

Oregon: WSU (4-5), Stanford (1-8), Arizona (3-6), UCLA (6-3), Cal (2-7), Colorado (1-8), Washington (7-2), Utah (7-2), OSU (6-3) = 37 wins, 44 losses (0.45679012345679 combined win percentage)

Washington: Stanford (1-8), UCLA (6-3), ASU (2-7), Arizona (3-6), Cal (2-7), OSU (6-3), Oregon (7-2), Colorado (1-8), WSU (4-5) = 32 wins, 49 losses (0.395061728395062 combined win percentage)

Utah wins the tiebreaker on step four and plays in Pac-12 championship game vs. USC.