Utah plays USC in Pac-12 championship game after unlikely weekend

Estimated reading time: 3-4 minutes

BOULDER, Colo. – It was an unlikely path, but it was also possible.

Going into the last weekend of the regular season, Utah was on the outside looking for a possible Pac-12 championship game. There was still a slim chance that the Utes could defend their 2021 title, but everything had to go according to plan this weekend.

Utah needed four games to be exact. If they did, they would be in the program’s fourth title game in five seasons:

  • UCLA had to beat California
  • Oregon State had to beat Oregon
  • Utah had to beat Colorado
  • Washington had to beat Washington State

When the final score flashed on the Folsom Field video board, Utah fans erupted in cheers.

It wasn’t Utah’s 63-21 victory over Colorado to close out the regular season — one of four necessary steps — but a 38-34 result in Oregon State’s favor over rival Oregon in the game formerly known as “The Civil War”. That was the game that was likely to cause Utah the most trouble, and the Beavers made it happen.

Suddenly the path for Utah came down to one game (UCLA beat Cal on Friday night to unlock the first step) and a late Apple Cup rivalry game would decide the team’s fate.

It was an all-ages game where the winner of the game determined which outside team was allowed to enter the championship game to face a USC team poised for a possible bid for the College Football Playoff. If Washington won, Utah would be in the championship; if the state of Washington, Oregon was involved.

After a wild back and forth, scoring high, it was Washington that came out on top with a 51-33 victory over their rival.

Utah was in.

For Utah, it was the equivalent of winning a parlay – placing two or more bets as one to increase the amount of money won, but it carries a higher risk – in sports betting, and Utah collected a lot.

Easy, right? Not exactly. Looking at standard bets in a four-team parlay, the odds of winning were about 7.5%…or 15.3% odds according to ESPN specific to Utah.

Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said he was made aware of the Oregon-Oregon State game on several occasions during the end of their game against Colorado, but it wasn’t a constant check — after all, he was coaching a blowout game.

“Not to the end,” he said. “I mean, I saw the score flash like everybody did periodically, but it wasn’t until well into the fourth quarter that I got some feedback from my guy on the sidelines.”

However, it was on everyone’s mind and was hard to put away.

“Yeah, we were watching,” Utah quarterback Cam Rising said of the occasional glances at Colorado’s video board when the scores came up.

Whittingham said after the game that they would “root hard for the Huskies and see where it takes us”.

The Huskies took the Utes back to Las Vegas for another meeting against USC.

Utah is the only team to beat USC this season and the Trojans will be looking to avenge a 43-42 loss at Rice-Eccles Stadium on a gutsy 2-point conversion by Cam Rising.

Latest Utah Utes Stories

Josh is the sports director of KSL.com and beat writer of University of Utah athletics, primarily football, men’s basketball and gymnastics. He is also an Associated Press Top 25 pick for college football.

More stories you might be interested in

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *