With Utah and UCLA losing in dramatic fashion last week, the USC Trojans are now in the driver's seat for the PAC-12 South crown. All the Trojans have to do to win the PAC-12 South is win their next two games against Oregon and UCLA. It's that simple.
However, if the Trojans lose to either UCLA or Oregon there are several different scenarios that can play out. The Trojans can still win the PAC-12 South with a loss but will need some help.
Scenario 1: USC loses to Oregon
Luckily for the Trojans, the two teams trailing them in the South standings, UCLA and Utah, will play each other this weekend. If USC loses to Oregon on Saturday afternoon, they should immediately become UCLA fans. If UCLA defeats Utah, the Trojans will simply need to beat the Bruins at home next weekend.
If Utah defeats UCLA, the Trojans will need to beat UCLA and hope that the 4-7 Colorado Buffaloes can pull of an upset in Salt Lake City. The Trojans would then be tied with Utah for the South lead, both teams would have three conference losses. The Trojans would move onto the Championship game due to owning the tiebreaker over the Utes and UCLA would finish one game back with four conference losses.
Ultimately, if the Trojans lose to Oregon they better pray that their cross town rivals return from Utah with a win. A Boulder victory over the Utes in Utah seems highly unlikely. Amazingly, the Trojans could go 5-0 in the South and not win the division.
Scenario 2: USC beats Oregon, loses to UCLA
In all honesty, if the Trojans drop their fourth consecutive game to the Bruins they don't deserve to be in the PAC-12 Championship game. Luckily for them there's still a chance that they can make it to Santa Clara. The Trojans would need Utah to beat UCLA this weekend and then lose to Colorado the following weekend - once again a highly unlikely outcome.
That would leave the Utes at 9-3 (6-3) on the season, the Bruins at 8-4 (5-4), and the Trojans at 8-4 (6-3). The Trojans own the tiebreaker over the Utes due to their 42-24 victory in late October. Thus, the Trojans would find themselves crowned PAC-12 South Champions due to the tiebreaker.
The Trojans actually have a better chance of winning the South with a loss to Oregon instead of UCLA.
Scenario 3: USC loses to both Oregon and UCLA
Under this scenario, the Trojans would find themselves on the outside looking in. The winner of this week's UCLA vs. Utah matchup would become the South Champion.
The Trojans would fail to win the PAC-12 for the seventh consecutive year and remain at zero PAC-12 Championship Game appearances.
Who to root for
The simplest path for the Trojans to Santa Clara is by winning both of their remaining games. If you want to play the what if game, then all Trojan fans should be Bruin fans for a game. The Trojans would still control their own destiny, regardless if they win or lose at Oregon, if the Bruins emerge from Utah victorious.