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

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BOULDER, Colorado – It was an unlikely path, but one that was also possible.

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

It took Utah four games, to be precise, to get their way. 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 was displayed on the video board at Folsom Field, Utah fans erupted in cheers.

It wasn’t Utah’s 63-21 win over Colorado to close out the regular season – one of the four necessary steps – but a 38-34 score in favor of Oregon State over rival Oregon in the game formerly dubbed “The Civil War.” ‘ was known. That was the game most likely to cause problems for Utah, and the Beavers took care of it.

Suddenly, Utah’s path was limited to one game (UCLA beat Cal Friday night to unlock step one), and a nightly Apple Cup rivalry game would decide the team’s fate.

It was a game for the ages, with the winner of the game determining which away team entered the championship game to face off against a USC team poised for a potential bid for the College Football Playoffs. If Washington won, Utah was in the championship; when Washington State was Oregon.

After a wild back and forth with many goals, it was Washington who prevailed with a 51:33 victory over their rival.

Utah was there.

For Utah, it was the equivalent of a parlay — making two or more bets as one to increase the amount of money won, but it comes with a higher risk — in sports betting, and Utah raked in big.

just right? Not exactly. Looking at standard betting odds in a four-team combination, the odds of winning were about 7.5%…or a 15.3% chance, according to ESPN specifically for Utah.

Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said he was made aware of the Oregon-Oregon State game at various points near the end of their game against Colorado, but it wasn’t a constant check — he ended up coaching a blowout game.

“Not to the end,” he said. “I mean, I saw the score flash regularly like everyone else, but it wasn’t until deep in the fourth quarter that I got feedback from my man on the sidelines.”

However, everyone was talking about it and it was hard to put it down.

“Yeah, we’ve been looking,” Utah quarterback Cam Rising told Cam Rising of the occasional glance at Colorado’s video board when the results came up.

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

The Huskies brought 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 look to avenge a 43-42 loss at Rice-Eccles Stadium with a brave 2-point conversion from Cam Rising.

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Josh is an athletic director for KSL.com and a beatwriter for the University of Utah’s track and field—primarily soccer, men’s basketball, and gymnastics. He is also an Associated Press Top 25 voter for college football.

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