#12 Washington lost out on the tiebreaker to deny them the chance of playing in the Pac-12 championship game tonight. But there’s still a lot riding on the result of that game.
If Utah defeats USC then the Utes will get to go to the Rose Bowl. USC would move down from #4 but likely still be ranked ahead of the Huskies in the CFP rankings and end up in the Cotton Bowl against the winner of Tulane/Central Florida. Washington in that case probably slots in to the Alamo Bowl against Texas (a near home game for Sark and Coach K).
If USC defeats Utah then they are almost guaranteed a spot in the CFP. That leaves it up to the Rose Bowl to select between UW and Utah. Unless the game goes into 2OT, a loss to USC probably moves Utah down at least one spot and puts the Huskies as the higher ranked CFP team. But the Rose Bowl isn’t beholden to that if there’s another similarly ranked team. One of the factors they look at though is how recently a team has played and especially if Ohio State is the pick from the Big Ten you would think they would avoid a direct rematch of last year and select UW. (Although reporting this week suggests both OSU and the Rose Bowl would rather have Penn State this year for a change of pace).
The result of other championship games will change where the Huskies finish in the final CFP rankings (losses by Clemson, Kansas State, and LSU would help) but aren’t likely to change anything with regards to bowl placement. That’s because there are enough teams ahead of UW that don’t play and few enough spots given bowl tie-ins that there’s no way for UW to leapfrog enough teams to change their bowl placement. Barring a massive change of heart from the committee (which isn’t impossible) we’re looking at either the Rose or Alamo bowls.
SUGGESTED VIEWING GUIDE (all times PT)
5:00 PM: #11 Utah (9-3) vs. #4 USC (11-1), FOX
DraftKings Betting Line: USC -3, O/U 67
I wrote about the stakes for this game above. A win by USC almost certainly puts the Huskies into the Rose Bowl. The last time these 2 teams played it was one of the games of the year as the Utes won 43-42 on a late 2-pt conversion. We’ll see if we get the same fireworks this time as both teams have lost their starting running back for the season. Go T...Go Tro... Man this is not coming out of my mouth. Go...Trojans.
9:00 PM: #10 Kansas State (9-3) vs. #3 TCU (12-0), ABC
DraftKings Betting Line: TCU -2.5, O/U 62
The stakes are simple for TCU. WIn the game and you’re no worse than the #3 seed in the CFP standings. It’s possible that TCU can still get in to the Playoff with a loss but it’s by no means guaranteed. Kansas State likely goes to the Sugar Bowl regardless since they either are the Big 12 conference champs or the highest ranked Big 12 team eligible since TCU would be in the CFP.
1:00 PM: #14 LSU (9-3) vs. #1 Georgia (12-0), CBS
DraftKings Betting Line: Georgia -17.5, O/U 51
The Bulldogs are already a lock for the CFP even if they lose this game, it’s only about whether they’ll be the #1 seed or not. With a win LSU gets to play in the Sugar Bowl against Kansas State. If they lose then that spot goes likely to #6 Alabama as the highest ranked non-CFP participant from the SEC.
5:00 PM: #9 Clemson (10-2) at #23 North Carolina (9-3), ABC
DraftKings Betting Line: Clemson -7.5, O/U 63.5
The winner of this game gets to go to the Orange Bowl and most likely will play Tennessee as the highest ranked at-large from either the Big Ten or SEC. Although it’s possible that the Rose Bowl decides for fresh blood and passes on Ohio State for Penn State in which case there could be a meetup with the Buckeyes in store. A loss by Clemson almost certainly means the Huskies jump them in the final CFP rankings for those that care about potentially getting into the top-ten.
OTHER FRIDAY GAMES
10:00 AM: Akron vs. Buffalo (-11.5), ESPN+
4:30 PM: North Texas vs. UTSA (-9), CBSSN
OTHER SATURDAY GAMES
9:00 AM: Toledo (-2) vs. Ohio, ESPN
12:30 PM: Coastal Carolina vs. Troy (-8.5), ESPN
1:00 PM: #22 Central Florida vs. #18 Tulane (-3.5), ABC
1:00 PM: Fresno State vs. Boise State (-3), FOX
5:00 PM: Purdue vs. #2 Michigan (-16.5), FOX