2013 Rose Bowl: USC, Oregon battle in potential Pac-12 Championship Game preview

Jonathan Ferrey

The Trojans host the Ducks on Saturday in what could be a preview of the 2012 Pac-12 Championship Game, for a ticket to the Rose Bowl or (for Oregon) a possible trip to the BCS title game.

The USC Trojans host the Oregon Ducks on Saturday in what was billed as the game of the year for the Pac-12 Conference. With two losses already to their ledger, USC has removed much of a national luster off this weekend's tilt at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, but these two teams could still very likely meet again in four weeks for the conference championship.

Pac-12 North Division Standings
Team Conference Overall Nov. 3
Oregon 5-0 8-0 at USC
Oregon State 4-1 6-1 ASU
Stanford 4-1 6-2 at Colorado
Washington 2-3 4-4 at Cal
California 2-4 3-6 Washington
Washington State 0-5 2-6 at Utah

The Ducks (8-0, 5-0) are in the driver's seat for the north division, but they have several speed bumps ahead. Not only do they have to battle USC on the road on Saturday, but their two closest pursuers, the Stanford Cardinal (6-2, 4-1) and Oregon State Beavers (61-, 4-1), still remain on the schedule. The Cardinal host the Beavers on Nov. 10 to determine who will be most likely to unseat Oregon from the top spot in the north.

The Ducks, currently ranked fourth in the BCS, have their sights set on the BCS Championship Game. But their November schedule is a gauntlet through the next three best teams in the conference, so their road will be anything but easy.

Down south, USC (6-2, 4-2) is one of three teams with two losses, and the Trojans have the advantage of not having to leave Los Angeles for their final four games.

Pac-12 South Division Standings
Team Conference Overall Nov. 3
USC 4-2 6-2 Oregon
UCLA 3-2 6-2 Arizona
Arizona State 3-2 5-3 at Oregon State
Arizona 2-3 5-3 at UCLA
Utah 1-4 3-5 WSU
Colorado 1-4 1-7 Stanford

The Trojans play the other two two-loss teams in the South in the next two weeks, as they host the Arizona State Sun Devils (5-3, 3-2) on Nov. 10, followed by a road contest at the Rose Bowl against the UCLA Bruins (6-2, 3-2) on Nov. 17. The Bruins, who were in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game last year when USC was on probation, will make a return trip to the conference title game if they win out.

The second Pac-12 Championship Game will be played on Friday, Nov. 30, at the site of the division winner with the best conference record. The game will have a 5 p.m. PT kickoff, and will be televised by Fox.

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