The University of Utah’s destruction of the University of Oregon on Saturday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium guaranteed the Utes would move up in the College Football Playoff rankings.
Utah, which secured an outright Pac-12 South title and a spot in the Dec. 3 Pac-12 championship game on Saturday, moved up four spots to No. 19 on Tuesday night when the College Football Playoff released its latest poll.
At No. 3 last week, the Ducks were putting themselves in position for a CFP spot, but the 38-7 loss to the Utes dropped them to No. 11. Utah winning on Saturday night was not only a detriment to the Ducks, but to the rest of the Pac-12.
Had Oregon won out, including two victories over Utah, the Ducks would have been 12-1 and at least a decent bet to secure one of four CFP spots. In that scenario, the Utes, even with five losses, might have still made it to the Rose Bowl as the Pac-12′s highest-ranked team after Oregon.
Instead, the Pac-12 will be left out of the College Football Playoff for the fifth straight season, and the only New Year’s Six game that conference will participate in is the Rose Bowl. With two losses, one of them to lowly Stanford, the Ducks (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12) are not going to the CFP, nor are they a viable at-large candidate for a different New Year’s Six game, specifically the Peach, Fiesta, or Sugar Bowls.
The Pac-12 North champion who will face Utah (8-3, 7-1 Pac-12) in the Pac-12 title game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas will not be settled until Saturday, but Oregon’s path to the title game is the clearest among the three teams still in the mix.
The Ducks clinch the Pac-12 North on Saturday with a win over Oregon State in Eugene. For the Beavers to win the North, first they need Washington to beat Washington State Friday night in the Apple Cup. Provided that happens, Oregon State then needs to beat Oregon.
The four-loss Cougars can win the North with a win over Washington, plus an Oregon State win over Oregon.
Utah, which is home to Colorado for senior day on Friday afternoon (2 p.m., FOX), beat Washington State at Rice-Eccles Stadium, 24-13, on Sept. 25, and lost at Oregon State, 42-34, on Oct. 23.
BYU, a 34-17 winner at Georgia State over the weekend, moved up one spot to No. 13 on Tuesday. Out of contention for a New Year’s Six spot, the Cougars (9-2), who close their regular season on Saturday at USC, are almost assuredly going to the Independence Bowl on Dec. 18 against a team from Conference USA.