Six was the magic number, but now it’s five. With play beginning tonight with Washington State vs. Houston, there are roughly five Pac-12 football teams still in the race to be one of the four 2019 College Football Playoff teams. Within these six are a couple favorites, a couple contenders and a couple sleepers who could make big statements in the coming weeks.
Last week the Pac-12 had the following teams still vying for a spot in the 2019 College Football Playoff:
- Utah Utes
- Washington Huskies
- Oregon Ducks
- Stanford Cardinal
- Washington State Cougars
- USC Trojans
Entering week three the number of Pac-12 teams in contention for the playoff drops by one. Two teams fall out of the picture and one jumps in. 2019 may be yet another year, however, where the Pac-12 feasts on itself and eliminates the conference from the College Football Playoff.
That said, here are the Pac-12 football teams with the best shot of being one of the 2019 College Football Playoff Teams, Week 3.
1. Utah Utes
Utah didn’t look as polished in their 35-17 win over Northern Illinois as they should have. Still, the Utes are 2-0 and that defense is scary. And while running back Zack Moss was held to just 80 yards, better play from quarterback Tyler Huntley was inspiring and should give confidence to Utah heading forward. If Huntley can continue his growth at the position, the Utes could be scary good in conference play.
2. Oregon Ducks
The Oregon Ducks weren’t about to let themselves slip outside the 2019 College Football Playoff race for too long. Though they’re still a fringe team after a tough loss to Auburn, Oregon destroyed Nevada in week two, sending a message that they’re the real deal. Offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo finally unleashed his offense and Oregon’s defense is its best in years. If Auburn remains the Ducks’s lone loss on the year, they’ll be one of the 2019 College Football Playoff teams.
3. USC Trojans
Watch out, college football, USC true freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis is for real. Now that the Trojans have the quarterback they need to distribute the ball appropriately, USC has a shot at the 2019 College Football Playoff. Their schedule is still brutal but what they did to Stanford is not something to ignore. If Slovis can remain level-headed and USC handles Utah at home on September 20, the Trojans will be front-and-center in the world of college football.
4. California Golden Bears
If California had a decent offense they would be a legit contender to be one of the 2019 College Football Playoff Teams, week 3. Yet they remain on the outside because that offense is tough to watch. Still, going on the road and facing the adverse conditions they did at Washington is impressive. With a recovery game against North Texas this week, California would do well to focus on building some offensive momentum. Should the Golden Bears compliment their outstanding defense with some form of offensive threat, they’ll be a dark-horse CFP contender.
5. Washington State Cougars
Washington State and Mike Leach, we love you. Your opponents, however, we do not. While quarterback Anthony Gordon could be the real deal and the Cougars could boast one of the most efficient offenses in college football history, lackluster matchups against New Mexico State and Northern Colorado did nothing to show us who Washington State is. Well, maybe outside the fact that they’re no longer the laughing stock of the Pac-12 who could legitimately lose to a New Mexico State or Northern Colorado. They’ve still got a shot at the 2019 College Football Playoff but have a lot to prove.