Oregon, UCLA, USC and Utah and how to break a tie

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In eight weeks, four teams have the inside track for two spots in the Pac-12 championship game.

Oregon, USC, UCLA and Utah are the cream of the conference. They are 14-3 in league play with only one loss.

They are 11-0 against everyone else.

Two games coming up, both Nov. 19: Utah vs. Oregon and USC vs. UCLA

It’s easy to see some combination of the quartet tying for the regular-season title or second place with a spot in the championship game at stake.

For this reason — and because we’ve received many requests from readers — the Hotline has decided it’s time to do a brief overview of the unbundling process.

Let’s go…

*** Two-team communications

It’s easy when it’s not.

A tie between two teams is broken by a head-to-head result. But if the teams haven’t played (ex: USC and Oregon), then the second tiebreaker is each team’s matchup winning percentage against the next highest overall opponent in the standings (and further down the standings).

And if that doesn’t work, the third step is winning percentage against all regular conference opponents.

*** Multi-command communications

If there are more than two teams involved in a draw, the goal is to unlock the draw as quickly as possible through routines. According to conference policy:

“Once one team is favored and seeded, all teams remaining in the multi-team tiebreaker will repeat the multi-team tiebreaker procedure. If at any time the number of teams is reduced to two teams, a two-team tie-breaker procedure will be applied.’

1. Head-to-head results, except when all tied teams have played each other. (In this case, the meeting is ignored.)

2. Winning percentage against regular conference opponents

3. Record against the next most common opponent in the standings

Note: If there is a group of tied teams, then “use each team’s winning percentage against the collective tied teams as a group (before that group’s own tie-breaking procedure) rather than performance against individual tied teams.”

4. Cumulative winning percentage in conference games of conference opponents (essentially: strength of schedule)

5. Highest ranking in SportSource Analytics

Also, it’s a coin toss. But we are quite sure that none of the three teams will go beyond the third step.

If there is a need to review the tiebreaker in the final weeks of the season and explain all possible scenarios, we will.

On to this week’s power ratings…

*Disclaimer: Hotline power ratings do not necessarily match the order of the teams listed on my Associated Press top 25 newsletterwhich is based on guidelines provided by the AP.

All the times of the Pacific Ocean

1. Oregon (6-1/4-0)

Last week: 1

result: beat UCLA 45-30

Next: at California (12:30 p.m. on FS1)

Comment: After his stellar performance against UCLA, quarterback Bo Nix is ​​now 35-to-1 to win the Heisman Trophy. Those odds seem great, but there are only two players who are less than 10-to-1: Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud and Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker.

2. UCLA (6-1/3-1)

Last week: 2

result: lost at Oregon 45-30

Next: vs. Stanford (7:30 p.m. on ESPN)

Comment: The defense is starting to resemble last year’s version — not because of the coach, which is better, but because of the staff, which is worse. When the starting free safety (Mo Osling III) has more than twice as many tackles as anyone else (17), your front seven has been overloaded.

3. USC (6-1/ 4-1)

Last week: 3

result: DNP

Next: at Arizona (4 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks)

Comment: We’ve revised our outlook for the UCLA game upward. First team to 60 wins.

4. Utah (5-2/3-1)

Last week: 4

result: DNP

Next: at Washington State (Thursday, 7 p.m. on FS1)

Comment: If the Utes play each remaining half like they did in the second half against USC, they could play two halves in Las Vegas on Dec. 2.

5. Oregon State (6-2/3-2)

Last week: 5

result: beat Colorado 42-9

Next: inactive

Comment: In answer to the many questions over the past 24 hours about why the Hotline didn’t include OSU in our latest AP Top 25, here’s the answer: A lack of quality wins out against other teams in the bottom tier of the voting. But it’s close. We thought long and hard about including Beavers.

6. Washington (6-2/3-2)

Last week: 6

result: beat Cal 28-21

Next: inactive

Comment: After a series of terrible performances, the UW defense finally held an opponent under 30 points. Then again, that same opponent (Cal) only scored 13 points against lowly Colorado last week. We need to see more from the Husky before we can say the device is an improvement.

7. Washington State (4-3/1-3)

Last week: 7

result: DNP

Next: vs. Utah (Thursday, 7 p.m. on FS1)

Comment: The Cougars weren’t the same after the four-minute mark in Oregon, especially on offense. And they don’t have enough time to get their mojo back at the start of the season.

8. Arizona State (2-5/1-3)

Last week: 8

result: lost at Stanford 15-14

Next: at Colorado (4:30 p.m. on ESPNU)

Comment: We’ve never viewed interim coach Sean Aguano as a serious candidate for the permanent gig, and his chances are close to zero at this point. On the other hand, Oregon offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham, an ASU graduate, had a pretty good Saturday.

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