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What Washington State, Stanford & Washington have to do to win the Pac-12 North

Cougars control their own destiny, but Stanford and Washington can still earn a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

Stanford v Washington State Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

We already know USC will represent the Pac-12 South in the conference title game, but its opponent is yet to be decided. Stanford, Washington State and Washington are still alive in the race for the Pac-12 North with two weeks of conference play remaining.

The Pac-12 Championship Game will be played on Friday, Dec. 1 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. (8 p.m. ET, ESPN). Here are the scenarios for each of the three North teams still alive in the race.

Washington State

The Cougars control their own destiny, needing only to win the Apple Cup against rival Washington next week (Nov. 25, a road game in Seattle) to earn a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Washington State is off this week.

Pac-12 North standings

Team Conference Overall
Team Conference Overall
Washington St. 6-2 9-2
Stanford 6-2 7-3
Washington 5-2 8-2
Oregon 2-5 5-5
California 2-5 5-5
Oregon St. 0-7 1-9
Relevant Saturday games: Cal at Stanford (8 p.m., Fox), Utah at Washington (10:30 p.m., ESPN)


The Cardinal have won six of their last seven games heading into Saturday’s Big Game against California (8 p.m., Fox), including a win last week over Washington that threw the North division into chaos and ended any hopes of the Pac-12 sending a team to the College Football Playoff.

Stanford, to win the North, needs a win over Cal and for Washington to beat Washington State.

Stanford, 4-0 at home this year, has won their last seven games against Cal.


The Huskies need help to get to the conference championship game. They are the only team of these three that can be eliminated this weekend — if Stanford beats Cal, Washington is out.

But if Cal beats Stanford, that sets up an Apple Cup for all the marbles in the Pac-12 North.

Washington hosts Utah this week (10:30 p.m., ESPN), but in terms of the conference title game that is a meaningless contest. Even if the Huskies lose to the Utes, Washington would win a three-way tie at 6-3 with Washington State and Stanford thanks to what would be a better record in divisional play — 4-1, compared to 3-2 for both the Huskies and Cardinal.

In waiting

USC (9-2, 7-1) already clinched a berth in the Pac-12 Championship Game, its second in three years. They can win the South division outright with either a win on Saturday over UCLA (8 p.m., ABC) or a loss by Arizona (7-3, 5-2) either at Oregon this week (7 p.m., Pac-12 Network) or at Arizona State next week.