Pac-12 preview: BYU looks for the sweep, rivalry week streaks, division details, history in the Apple Cup and more

Twelve need-to-knows for Week 13 of the Pac-12 season …

1. Does Brigham Young own, or rent?

The ultimate bragging rights are on the line Saturday night in the L.A. Coliseum, where USC carries the Pac-12 banner against BYU.

Will the Trojans be more successful than their peers?

The Cougars are 4-0 against the Pac-12 this season, with victories over Utah, Arizona State, Arizona and Washington State.

A five-game sweep would place a fitting bow on the Pac-12’s mediocre season and ensure years of sarcasm from a fan base eternally frustrated that a membership invitation never arrived. (At least the Big 12 finally called!)

But that’s not all: Because Washington State is alive in the North race, it’s possible the 2021 season will conclude with BYU having beaten both division winners.

In that situation, the Pac-12 should seriously consider hiring a crisis communications firm.

The mockery coming from Provo will be relentless, and unmerciful … and justified.

2. Speaking of divisions, the North scenarios are as follows:

— Oregon wins the division with: a victory over Oregon State.

— Oregon State wins the division with: a victory over Oregon and a Washington State loss to Washington.

— Washington State wins the division with: a victory over Washington and an Oregon State victory over Oregon.

3. The Oregon schools ceased to call their rivalry game the Civil War in the summer of 2020 and have not settled on a new name.

In fact, they issued a joint statement this week, according to kezi.com:

“The Oregon-Oregon State series continues to be a great rivalry, and we look forward to Saturday’s game. We have no updates regarding any new names for the series at this time.”

4. The Pac-12’s bowl math is actually quite simple considering what could have been the case entering the final weekend of conference play.

Qualified (six): Oregon, Oregon State, Washington State, Utah, ASU and UCLA

Eliminated (four): Washington, Stanford, Colorado and Arizona

Need two wins (two): Cal and USC

Maximum bids possible: seven (Cal and USC play each other next weekend)

5. We’ll see some Apple Cup history this weekend. Per the conference office:

“For the 2nd straight season and for the first time at the Apple Cup, the Pac-12 will have an all-Black officiating crew including the officials, position supervisor and game evaluator. Last year, the conference made history with the Stanford at UCLA game with its first ever all-Black officiating crew.”

6. Of the seven games this weekend, only one is on the Pac-12 Networks: The Territorial Cup, on Saturday afternoon in Tempe.

Two games made the cut for broadcast television, with Colorado-Utah (Friday) and Notre Dame-Stanford on FOX. (The announcing team of Joe Davis and Brock Huard has both, fortunately.)

In a rarity, ESPN will air two Pac-12 games on Saturday, with Oregon-Oregon State at 12:30 p.m. and then USC-Brigham Young as the nightcap.

7. Rivalry week streaks of note:

Territorial Cup: Arizona State has won four in a row over Arizona, including the 70-7 victory last year. The Wildcats haven’t won in Tempe since 2009.

Apple Cup: Washington has won seven in a row over WSU. The Cougars haven’t won in Seattle since 2007.

Rumble in the Rockies: Utah has won four in a row (and eight of the last nine) over Colorado. The Buffaloes haven’t won in Salt Lake City since 2011.

Oregon vs. OSU: The Beavers haven’t won in Eugene since 2007.

8. Number of teams in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, per conference:

Big Ten: five
SEC: five
ACC: four
Big 12: three
American: two
Pac-12: two
C-USA: one
Mountain West: one

9. The most successful teams in the Pac-12 against the spread this season? Glad you asked.

Washington State, Oregon State and UCLA are 7-4 thus far, according to teamrankings.com.

At the other end of the spectrum: Stanford and Washington are 3-8 against the spread.

Related Articles


Pac-12 picks: Utah rolls, Oregon recovers, the Cougs don’t Coug it and Cal wins outright


Pac-12 basketball power ratings: UCLA on top as Arizona, Utah climb


Pac-12 bowl projections: Oregon’s loss cost the conference more than a playoff berth (millions of dollars more, in fact)


Pac-12 coaching carousel: Hot Seat updates and the potential for vacancies across the conference


Breaking down Washington State’s coaching search: The case for promoting Dickert, risk assessment, candidate pool and more

10. Bests and worsts:

With a victory, Oregon State would secure its first season of at least eight wins since 2012.

With a loss, Stanford would finish with its worst record (3-9) since the 2006 season, when the Cardinal went 1-11 under Walt Harris.

With a victory, Utah would secure a nine-win season for the sixth time in the last seven years (full seasons only).

11. USC receiver Drake London is tied for fourth in the nation in receptions, with 88.

He hasn’t played since Oct. 30 because of an injury.

12. Lastly, a quick look ahead:

— Pac-12 coaches will vote on the postseason awards and all-conference team after the championship game on Dec. 3.

The results will be announced early the following week.

— Bowl selections will be made on the afternoon of Dec. 5, hours after the College Football Playoff field is revealed.

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