Five down, three to go.
On the strength of Sam Darnold‘s right arm, USC eventually outlasted a feisty Colorado 20-0 in Boulder. Darnold, who could be the overall No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL draft if he decides to forego his final season of eligibility, passed for 329 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He added a touchdown run for good measure.
Ronald Jones chipped in 132 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground, while the Trojans returned one interception — and nearly a second late — for a score as well.
USC is now 7-1 in conference play with one game, rival UCLS, remaining. Two teams, Arizona and Arizona State, are at 4-2 entering Week 11 although only one could potentially tie USC as the in-state rivals square off in the regular-season finale, leaving one with at least three conference losses. That doesn’t matter, though, as the Trojans hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over both teams.
As such, USC is headed to its first Pac-12 championship game since 2015 and its second ever since the game was first played in 2011.
Just who they will face remains very much up in the air as Stanford (6-2), Washington (5-2) and Washington State (5-2) are all still vying for the North’s spot. The Cardinal beat the Huskies Friday night, but lost to the Cougars in Week 10. Stanford will be hoping for a win over Cal next weekend and a Wazzu loss to UW in the Apple Cup two weeks from now to clinch. If the Cougars win out, they will represent the division regardless of what happens with the Cardinal; the Huskies need to win their remaining two games and have the Cardinal trip up against the Bears.
The Pac-12 South is the fifth Power Five division to be decided, joining both the ACC Atlantic (today) and Coastal (also today), the Big Ten West (also today) and the SEC East. That leaves, along with the Pac-12 North, the Big Ten East — Ohio State has essentially wrapped up that division, though — and the SEC West still without an official champion.