All season, the Pac-12 South division has been a free-for-all, with no clear favorite to take the title.

Even before the season, there was so much uncertainty about the South that five of the six teams received at least one first-place vote in the media poll. The one that didn't was Arizona State - currently the only team in the South that doesn't need outside help to win the division.

Heading into the final two weeks, three teams are left in the race. It's been such an odd year in the South that the three teams left include the projected last-place finisher (ASU), a team that started 0-2 in conference play (Utah) and a team that may not even become bowl eligible (Arizona).

"It has been an interesting year and still a lot of football left," Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said. "There's more things that could happen."

Here's a look at how the South race breaks down:

Arizona State (6-4, 4-3 Pac-12): For the Sun Devils, it's win and in. Win at Oregon on Saturday and at Arizona on Nov. 24 and they will take the South for the first time since 2013. ASU could also clinch the division this week with a win and losses by Arizona and Utah. The Sun Devils can afford a loss to Oregon, but only if Utah loses at Colorado this weekend. ASU holds the tie-breaker over Utah because of its 38-20 win against the Utes on Nov. 3.


Utah (7-3, 5-3): The Utes have a half-game lead and just one conference game left. They can take the South for the first time by beating Colorado on Saturday and getting one ASU loss. The Utes could win the division with a loss to CU, but only if ASU loses twice and Arizona loses this week at Washington State. Utah has the tie-breaker over Arizona because of a 42-10 win on Oct. 12.

Arizona (5-5, 4-3): It's a tougher task for the Wildcats than the other two. They have to win the last two, including Saturday at No. 8 Washington State — which has a 12-game home winning streak — and home against ASU. Even with that, they'd need Utah to lose at Colorado.

Preseason favorite Southern California (5-5, 4-4) could still finish in either a three- or four-way tie for first, but none of the tie-breakers would favor the Trojans.

If there's a three-way tie between Utah, Arizona and USC, Utah would claim the title. Any multi-team tie involving ASU would send the Sun Devils to the Pac-12 championship game.

Coaching carousel

Three South teams (Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA) hired new head coaches last offseason. This week, two other South coaches — Colorado's Mike MacIntyre and USC's Clay Helton — have had to answer questions about their futures, as both seem to be sharing the hot seat.

As CU fans know, a report surfaced late Monday night that MacIntyre and the Buffs will part ways at the end of the season, but he and CU have both refuted that report.

Talk of Helton's departure, meanwhile, has intensified as the Trojans struggle. He remains confident that his job status is solid.

"I know, in my heart, I'm going to be here," he told reporters this week in Los Angeles.

Helton and MacIntyre have combined to win the previous three South division titles.

North down to two

No. 8 Washington State (9-1, 6-1) and No. 18 Washington (7-3, 5-2) are the last remaining teams competing for the North division title, and the race could come down to their matchup next week.

Unless last-place Oregon State goes into Seattle and upsets Washington on Saturday, the annual Apple Cup between the Huskies and Cougars, on Nov. 23 in Pullman, Wash., will decide the division.

Washington State, which has won six in a row, could clinch the division this week if it beats Arizona and Washington is upset by Oregon State. Washington's 13-game home winning streak is tied with Clemson for the second-longest in the country.

Washington has won five in a row against the Cougars, dating back to 2012. Washington State's last two wins in the series — in 2012 and 2008 — came in overtime games.


Pac-12 teams are 18-3 at home in nonconference games this season, but just 25-18 at home in conference games. ... In the last six games, Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew has thrown 306 passes and been sacked just four times. ... Washington's Myles Gaskin needs 174 rushing yards to become the fifth player in Pac-12 history with 5,000 for his career.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at or