Here are 10 things to keep an eye on in Week 11 in the Pac-12.
North Division on the line: Oregon travels to Stanford this week and the Ducks must win to keep their hopes alive of repeating as division champs. A Stanford victory locks up the North for the Cardinal, who won the division in 2012 and 2013. An Oregon win doesn’t guarantee the division. The Ducks still need California to knock off the Cardinal so both teams will have two conference losses and the Ducks would own the head-to-head. They would also need Washington State to lose at least one more time.
South Division scenarios: If Utah wins out (at Arizona, vs. UCLA, at Colorado) then it will win the division. If UCLA wins out (vs. Washington State, at Utah, at USC) then the Bruins will win the division. USC also has a clinching scenario. The Trojans must win out (at Colorado, at Oregon, vs. UCLA) and Utah must lose at least one more game. If both teams finish the season with two conference losses, USC would have the tie breaker.
Bowling shoes: Stanford, Washington State, Oregon, Utah, UCLA and USC have already clinched bowl eligibility. California (5-4) and Arizona (5-5) can check it off the list this week with wins. The Golden Bears host Oregon State and the Wildcats have Utah coming to town.
Other Bowl hopefuls: Saturday’s showdown in Tempe between Washington and Arizona State could be a huge swing game for each team as they try to qualify for the postseason. Both teams are sitting on four wins with three to play. Keep an eye on Washington freshman quarterback Jake Browning, who has thrown just two interceptions in his last four games. Another true freshman, Arizona State safety Kareem Orr, has four picks on the year, becoming the school’s first true freshman to record four interceptions since David Fulcher in 1983. It's worth noting that Colorado (4-6) must win its remaining three games to qualify for a bowl game. Because of their 13-game schedule, the Buffaloes need to get to seven wins.
Strength vs. strength: The Wildcats have the league’s second-best rushing offense, averaging 244.5 yards per game. Utah counters with the league’s top rush defense, allowing 114.2 yards per game. In their eight wins this season, the Utes have allowed just three rushing touchdowns.
Strength vs. strength II: Washington State has the nation’s No. 2 passing offense, averaging 417.3 yards per game. It’s completion percentage of 69.3 (note: Luke Falk is completing 70.2 percent) is sixth in FBS. They are facing a UCLA defensive backfield that is tops in the league. The Bruins' pass defense ranks first in the Pac-12 in pass yards per game (199.4), yards per attempt (5.5) and completions of 20-plus yards (18) and it is second in opponent completion percentage (55.2).
Last chance for Buffs: Colorado snapped its conference losing streak last month when it topped Oregon State. But that was in Corvallis. The Buffs have lost nine straight conference games at home -- the second-longest active streak in FBS behind Georgia State (10). The fact that the Trojans have scored at least 40 points against Colorado in each of their last five meetings doesn't bode well, either.
For the win? Not only has the winner of the Stanford-Oregon game gone on to win the North Division, the winner of this game has also won the Pac-12 title every year since expansion. Since the league split in 2011, no South Division team has won the conference title.
Back attack: The Stanford-Oregon showdown also features two of the most exciting running backs in the country. Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey leads the FBS with 241.6 all-purpose yards per game. He’s on pace to have the sixth best all-purpose season in FBS history. Oregon counters with breakaway threat Royce Freeman. Not only is Freeman fifth in the FBS in rushing yards per game (143) he’s also first among all Power 5 backs with 44 rushes of 10 yards or more. He only had 38 all of last season.
Scoring machine: The last couple of weeks, UCLA kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn has been closing in on the Pac-12’s all-time scoring record. With 389 career points, he’s just one point shy of matching John Lee’s mark of 390 (UCLA, 1982-1985). Assuming Washington State doesn’t pitch a shutout (the Cougars are allowing 30.1 points per game) then he’ll at the very least tie the record with a PAT. Anything after that will set the new standard.