The 11-1 Utah Utes, Pac-12 South Division champions, are the bet-on favorites over the Oregon Ducks in the upcoming Pac-12 Championship game on Friday in Santa Clara, Calif.
The early betting line from Caesar’s Sportsbook posts Utah as a six-point favorite over the Ducks. The two teams have not met this season. Utah clipped Oregon in Salt Lake City last year with a backup quarterback and backup running back, 32-25.
Oregon won their third straight Civil War rivalry game on Saturday, 24-10 over Oregon State, but had already wrapped up the Pac-12 North title two weeks prior. Utah clinched the South division in their regular season finale on Saturday, beating Colorado 45-15.
The Utah-Oregon winner on Friday will at worst clinch a berth in the 106th Rose Bowl game on January 1st, 2020, likely against Wisconsin, should the Badgers lose to top-ranked Ohio State in this weekend’s Big Ten Championship Game.
The Ducks opened the season with a hard-fought loss to the SEC’s Auburn Tigers, 27-21 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Oregon followed that up with a nine-game win streak, including a second straight rivalry win over Washington on the road, a last-second field goal win over Washington State, and stifling defensive performances in wins over Cal, Colorado, and Arizona, as well as a blowout win at USC. The Ducks college football playoff hopes were dashed two weeks ago with a 31-28 loss at Arizona State.
The Utes only loss this season came on a Friday night at USC when the Trojans were forced to play with third-string quarterback Matt Fink for most of the game. Fink threw for 351 yards and 3 touchdowns to lead USC to the upset win, 30-23. Since then, Utah has won eight in a row.
The Utes are No.6 in the most recent College Football Playoff rankings, but are poised to move up after No.5 Alabama’s dramatic loss in the Iron Bowl, 48-45 to No.15 Auburn. The Utes should move up to No.5 when the new rankings are released on Tuesday night, but will have 1-loss Oklahoma right on their heels. The Sooners were No.7 in the latest rankings before winning at No.21 Oklahoma State 34-16. Oklahoma will face 11-1 Baylor in the Big 12 Championship game on Saturday.
No.4 Georgia could make both the Utes and Sooners case for the playoff moot if they upset No.2 LSU in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday, which would send both the Bulldogs and Tigers to the playoff and shutout the Pac-12 and Big-12 title winners from a chance to compete for the national title.
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