Week 15: Buffs need win, USC loss to reach Pac-12 title game

A weekend devoid of drama appears to be setting up in college football unless you’re Colorado.

Southern California (4-0, 4-0) can lock up a spot in the Pac-12 championship game if it beats crosstown rival UCLA on Saturday even if Colorado beats Utah to remain undefeated in the Pac-12 South.

Colorado (4-0, 3-0) has had two games canceled by COVID-19; the Trojans lost one game to the virus, the one against the Buffaloes.

If CU and USC win this weekend, the Trojans would go to the title game based on the tiebreaker that gives the nod to the team with the higher College Football Playoff ranking. The Trojans are No. 15 and the Buffs are No. 21.

So if you’re a Colorado fan, you’re cheering hard for the Buffs in the morning and, if they win, for the Bruins at night.

Top-ranked Alabama is the only team among the top four in the CFP rankings playing this week, and the Crimson Tide are a 31-point favorite at Arkansas.

Notre Dame and Clemson are idle until they meet next Saturday in the Atlantic Coast Championship game.

Ohio State had its game against Michigan canceled because of COVID-19 issues in the Wolverines program. The No. 5 team in the CFP rankings, Texas A&M, also will be off after having its game against Mississippi called off.

BEST GAME

No. 25 Wisconsin at No. 19 Iowa

The Hawkeyes (5-2, 5-2 Big Ten) are averaging better than 37 points during their five-game win streak, their longest since the magical 2015 season that saw them go 12-0 in the regular season.

Wisconsin (2-2, 2-2) has had a bumpy ride. Graham Mertz had one of the best starting debuts in FBS history against Illinois but hasn’t come close to duplicating that 20-for-21 performance.

The Badgers, ranked as high as No. 9 before having three games in five weeks canceled because of COVID-19, have scored a combined 13 points in losing their last two.

HEISMAN WATCH

Alabama’s Mac Jones overtook Florida’s Kyle Trask as the favorite with a stellar performance against LSU. That’s according to oddsmakers.

Jones closes the regular season at Arkansas after throwing for 385 yards and four touchdowns in the Crimson Tide’s 55-17 win.

Trask gets his turn against LSU Saturday. Don’t discount the possibility of Trask going over 400 yards passing for the fourth time this season against beleaguered defensive coordinator Bo Pelini’s unit.

Two other Heisman contenders, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Notre Dame’s Ian Book, are idle until they square off in the ACC championship game next week.

NUMBERS TO KNOW

0: Second-half points allowed by Colorado in back-to-back games against San Diego State and Arizona, the first time in 18 years the Buffaloes had blanked opponents after half in consecutive games.

6: Fourth-quarter comebacks for wins in Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer’s career.

7: Consecutive weeks Indiana has been ranked in the Top 25, matching the school regular-season record set by the 1945 team.

10: Miami scoring drives of 80 yards or longer the last four games. The Hurricanes had two such drives in their first five games.

1943: The last time the Army-Navy game was played at a home site. The teams meet Saturday in West Point, New York. The game was moved out of Philadelphia because COVID-19 attendance limits in Pennsylvania would prevent the Brigade of Midshipmen and Corps of Cadets from attending.

UNDER THE RADAR

San Jose State vs. Nevada, at Las Vegas.

The winner clinches a spot in the Mountain West championship game, with the loser advancing depending on the outcome of the Wyoming-Boise State game.

The Spartans (5-0) can become the first San Jose State team to go 6-0 since the 13-0 campaign in 1939. Nevada (6-1) is led by sophomore Carson Strong, who has thrown for 330 yards per game with 21 touchdowns against four interceptions.

This was supposed to be a home game for San Jose State. It was moved to Vegas because of COVID-19 protocols in Santa Clara County.

HOT SEAT COACH

Eastern Michigan’s Chris Creighton did an admirable job reviving a moribund program, getting the Eagles to a bowl in his third season.

Things have gotten stale in Ypsilanti. The Eagles are 1-4, and Creighton is 29-51 in seven years. His contract runs through 2022, and he might be safe for now because any MAC program will hesitate to pay a buyout during these economic times.

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