With Oregon win, Pac-12 loses out on opportunity at something greater

Utah Utes offensive lineman Orlando Umana celebrates as Utah tight end Brant Kuithe scores the first Ute touchdown of the night in PAC-12 football action between the Colorado Buffaloes and the Utah Utes at Ri

Championship week is here and starts with Friday's Pac-12 Championship Game between OR and Utah. Maybe, if commissioner Larry Scott can persuade the college football powers that be to expand the field to eight teams. Now instead of a playoff berth or even a spot in the Rose Bowl, the Utes now must hope to stay high enough in the playoff rankings to get into a New Year's Six game. No. 13 OR on Friday night at Santa Clara, Calif.

Utah is battling for the final spot in the College Football Playoff, and a win against OR could secure that position.

The Utes have been dominating opponents since an early-season loss to USC. The Ducks still have a chance at playing in the Rose Bowl as Pac-12 Conference champions (among another option).

The four semifinalists will be announced Sunday morning, following the weekend's conference championship games - including Utah vs.

CJ Verdell ran for 208 yards and broke open the game with two long touchdown runs in the fourth quarter, and No. 13 OR spoiled No. 5 Utah's playoff hopes with a 37-15 victory in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night.

"We all executed", Verdell said matter-of-factly. The Utes, packed with experienced offensive weapons, one of the toughest defenses in the nation and imminent College Football Playoff dreams.

OR will play in the Rose Bowl on January 1 against a Big Ten opponent.

The Utes then drove into OR territory before Huntley was sacked by Keyvon Thibodeaux on second down. That's certainly not a bad consolation prize, though the idea was posed to Cristobal whether his team would still be Playoff contention as a one-loss team had it not scheduled the season-opener vs. Auburn.

Give Cristobal credit: Pac-12 supporters are so desperate to become relevant nationally that it is now acceptable to question whether to ever play good teams.



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