Posted on November 23, 2019, by Travis Pulver
The Pac-12 saw Oregon play in the inaugural College Football Playoffs and Washington the year after. But since then, they have been unable to get a team into college football’s final four. With how things are shaping up this season, there is a very good chance they could miss out again.
However, the conference is not out of it yet. With Oregon losing to Arizona Saturday night, 31-28, it is up to Utah to run the table and take the No. 4 slot away from Georgia.
After starting the season with a tough loss to Auburn, Justin Herbert and the Ducks had won nine in a row. But as the No. 6 team in the last college football rankings, the path to the playoffs was clear. Finish the regular season with wins over Arizona State and Oregon State and then beat Utah in the Pac-12 title game.
Do so, and they would have a pretty good case for jumping over Alabama into the No. 4 slot after Georgia loses to LSU in the SEC title game. But then they had to go and lose to Arizona State—so they are out.
They will still be in line for one of the big bowl games with a win over Oregon State next week.
With how things had been shaping up, it looked like Oregon and Utah had a good chance of winning out. Then, when the two met in the Pac-12 title game, the winner would have a shot at potentially making it into the playoffs. But while Oregon didn’t hold up its end Saturday, Utah did with a relatively easy 35-7 win over Arizona.
The win keeps the playoff door open for the Utes, but head coach Kyle Whittingham didn’t want to talk about that after the game, via ESPN:
“Don’t care. Doesn’t matter. We have our hands full with Colorado. We’ve got to try to figure out how to make a first down next week. That’s our objective. Whatever else is happening is none of our business.”
It is the kind of mentality a coach is supposed to have, of course. But for fans and gamblers, the question of whether they can make the playoffs is a relevant one. PointsBet.com gives Utah the third-best odds outside of Georgia at +210 (Oklahoma and Alabama both have +105).
So—how should you bet?
Can the Utes make it in?
Georgia is likely going to lose to LSU in the SEC title game, so the No. 4 slot will be open. Alabama will get first dibs, but the committee is going to want to see the Mac Jones-led Tide dominate Auburn. If they do not, then Oklahoma and Utah will be next in line—assuming they can win out.
That is not going to be easy for Oklahoma with games remaining against Oklahoma State and Baylor. But, while Utah will have to face a tough Oregon team (but one they can beat), they should be able to handle Colorado with relative ease this weekend.
Then it will all come down to whether Alabama can take down Auburn with Mac Jones at quarterback—which they will. So, don’t take the bet. Put your money on Utah to win the Pac-12 instead (which they will).