Pac-12 race update

November, 14, 2011
11/14/11
10:00
AM ET
The Pac-12 North Division is obvious. The South is not, but it's so ugly you may not want to look at it.

If Oregon wins out -- or splits its final two games against USC and Oregon State -- it's going to be the host of the Pac-12 championship game on Dec. 2. The only way the Ducks aren't North champions is if they lose both games and Stanford beats California on Saturday.

So you can pretty much pencil the Ducks in.

The South? Do we have to?

If UCLA wins out against Colorado and USC, it wins the South at 7-5 overall and 6-3 in Pac-12 play.

If UCLA loses once and Arizona State wins out against Arizona and California, it wins the division at 8-4 and 6-3.

Yet based on how these two have played of late, does anyone foresee them winning out? Me neither (though all four of the Sun Devils' defeats were on the road and they play their last two at home).

Further, if both slip once, it brings Utah in to the picture if the Utes win out against Washington State and Colorado.

Ergo, a three-team tiebreaker.

You can review the entire tiebreaking procedures here. But here's what's relevant.

Three or More Teams
The following procedures will only be used to eliminate all but two teams, at which point the two-team tie-breaking procedure will be applied.

1. Head-to-head (best record in games among the tied teams).

2. Record in games played within the division.

3. Record against the next highest placed team in the division (based on record in all conference games, both divisional and cross-divisional), proceeding through the division.

4. Record in common conference games.

5. Highest BCS standing following the last weekend of regular-season games.

Because Arizona State beat Utah and lost to UCLA and Utah beat UCLA, there's no clear head-to-head winner. Then things fall to South Division record, and that favors Arizona State, which is presently 3-1 in the division.

In this scenario, Utah wins out and ASU and UCLA lose once. That means Utah finishes with 3-2 record in the South and UCLA finishes 2-3. So UCLA is out.

If the Sun Devils beat Arizona on Saturday, they finish 4-1 in the division and eclipse Utah. If they lose to Arizona, they finish 3-2 in the division -- just like Utah -- but with UCLA eliminated, the tiebreaker reverts to head-to-head, and ASU beat Utah on Oct. 8.

So Utah needs UCLA to lose once and Arizona State to lose twice in order to win the South Division.

Not impossible, by the way.

Ted Miller | email

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