Coming into the season, Washington was supposed to have the best chance among Pac-12 teams to reach the College Football Playoff.

Three weeks into the season, Stanford jumped to the top of the list.

Now, the Pac-12's CFP hopes are on life support and focus shifts to Pullman, Wash., this week.

No. 12 Oregon visits No. 25 Washington State on Saturday with much more than first place in the North division on the line. The winner could, by season's end, make a case for being included in the CFP.

Of course, there's plenty of football to be played, but this much is clear: the Pac-12 doesn't have a great chance to get there, and only three teams are even possible.

Nine of the teams in the conference - including Stanford (4-2, 2-1), Washington (5-2, 3-1) and Southern California (4-2, 3-1) - already have at least two losses. By the end of this weekend, 11 teams could have two or more losses. Now in its fifth year, the CFP committee has never put a two-loss team into the national semifinals.

Assuming the two-loss teams are out, here's a look at the Pac-12's remaining CFP hopefuls:

Oregon (5-1, 2-1): The Ducks got a great, 30-27 overtime win against Washington last weekend. Had they not coughed up the loss to Stanford on Sept. 22, they'd be in the top 10 already. Schedule will hurt the Ducks, though. Although ranked high in the AP poll, the CFP committee could view Oregon differently because it's non-conference schedule was so poor. The Ducks also don't have many other opportunities at great wins. After this week, their top challenge is at Utah on Nov. 10.


Washington State (5-1, 2-1): Like Oregon, they're a disappointing, close loss away from being undefeated. The Cougars missed a great opportunity during a 39-36 loss at USC on Sept. 21. Although a long shot to get into the CFP, the Cougars have a difficult second half, including Oregon, at Stanford and Colorado and home against Washington. Go undefeated and then possibly avenge the loss to USC in the Pac-12 title game and the Cougars could be in the conversation.

Colorado (5-1, 2-1): Much was made of CU's poor schedule in the first four weeks. The Buffs dominated that early portion. To this point, their only significant test - at USC last weekend - resulted in a convincing loss. The Buffs have some chances to redeem themselves, though, at Washington this week and against Washington State on Nov. 10.

Even if the Pac-12 finishes with a one-loss team, the conference might have a tough time breaking through. The conference will likely need some of the tradition powers - Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Notre Dame, etc. - to lose a time or two for the door to open.

Spotlight on Pullman

ESPN's College GameDay show will make its first-ever appearance in Pullman this week.

The Washington State flag - 'Ol Crimson' - has been waved in the background of the GameDay set for each of the last 216 shows, dating back to Oct. 4, 2003.

"With the flag tradition that we have, I think that it's very important with that and I think it's overdue," head coach Mike Leach said of GameDay coming to the campus. "We're certainly excited to have it and our students are excited to have it.

"As a team it's kind of business as usual, but I think it's a really good opportunity for our fans and a good showcase for our university and our team."

Tate out vs. Bruins

Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate has been battling an ankle injury over the past month, and missed most of last week's 42-10 loss at Utah.

When the Wildcats (3-4, 2-2) visit UCLA (1-5, 1-2) on Saturday night, Tate will not play. Sophomore Rhett Rodriguez - son of former Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez - will start.

"It's the best thing for him," Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin said of shutting Tate down this week. "We're going to take this week for him to get healthy and give him a chance to be the best Khalil Tate the last quarter of the season."


UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson has completed 75.5 percent of his passes (40-of-53) the past two games. ... Utah has averaged 41.0 points on offense the past two games. The Utes averaged 22.3 points in the first four games.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at or