With two weeks remaining in the regular season, only Arizona State, UCLA, and USC are still in contention for a Pac-12 South title.
Arizona, Utah and Colorado have been mathematically eliminated and the race for the division crown is down to three teams.
In the first two years since the Pac-10 became the Pac-12, the UCLA Bruins have represented the South in the conference championship game. The Bruins won the division outright in 2012, but played in the title game in 2011 after first-place finisher USC was ineligible for postseason play.
Is it finally time for the Bruins to be unseated at the top? Let's break down the potential scenarios to find out.
How can Arizona State win the Pac-12 South?
Option 1: Beat UCLA
Sounds simple enough, right? If the Sun Devils travel to Pasadena on Saturday and beat the Bruins, they will push their conference record to 7-1 with one-game remaining. In this scenario, even with a loss to Arizona and two USC wins to close out the season, the Sun Devils would still hold the tiebreaker and win the division.
Option 2: Lose to UCLA, beat Arizona, and hope for some help
Arizona State could still lose to the Bruins on Saturday and contend for the Pac-12 championship. However, a loss takes the Sun Devils' destiny out of their own hands. Losing to UCLA would require the Sun Devils to win the Territorial Cup and it would also require USC to beat UCLA the following week. In this scenario, Arizona State and USC would each finish with two conference losses and the Sun Devils would hold the tiebreaker.
How can UCLA win the Pac-12 South?
Option 1: Win out
Like the Sun Devils, the Bruins control their own destiny. If UCLA takes care of business against both Arizona State and USC in the next two weeks, the Bruins will finish with a 7-2 mark in conference play and own the tiebreaker over Arizona State. This means that if the Sun Devils lose to the Bruins and beat Arizona, UCLA would still win the division by beating USC.
This is also the only way the Bruins can reach the Pac-12 South championship game. Even if USC loses to Colorado and Arizona State loses to Arizona, the Bruins can't make the it three years in a row with a title game appearance if they don't win their final two contests.
How can USC win the Pac-12 South?
Option 1: Win out, while Arizona State loses out
The Trojans play Colorado this week, so they should be able to take care of business on that front. Then, the most important game of Ed Orgeron's coaching career comes. If the Trojans beat UCLA at the Coliseum, USC will own a 7-2 mark in conference play and have a chance to play in the Pac-12 championship game. Pretty remarkable, huh? Well USC is going to need a little bit of help.
Even if Arizona State loses one of its final two games and USC wins out, the Trojans wouldn't play in the Pac-12 title game. The teams would be deadlocked at 7-2 in Pac-12 play, and Arizona State owns the tiebreaker by virtue of a 62-41 win earlier this season. That means USC will be rooting hard for the University of Arizona to take down the Sun Devils in the Territorial Cup so that the Trojans can achieve the unthinkable.