I need to get this off my chest. Yes, the USC Trojans should not have lost to the Utah Utes early in the season in the waning minutes of the game. Had they played a complete game that night in Utah, they would have finished the season 8-1 in the Pac-12, 10-2 overall and would own all tiebreakers except with the Stanford Cardinals who do not matter in this year's equation following their fade down the stretch.
The Colorado Buffaloes, who are also in the Pac-12 South, finished 8-1 (10-2 overall with their only conference loss being to USC) in conference ahead of USC's 7-2 record. Had Colorado finished the season tied with USC, the Trojans would have gone to tonight's Pac-12 Championship Game ahead of them due to the tiebreaker. The Pac-12 North is represented by the Washington Huskies who finished 8-1 in conference (11-1 overall with their own loss being to USC at home) and who are ranked #4 in the land.
Tonight, the Washington Huskies played an imperfect game again an inferior opponent in the Colorado Buffaloes and won 41-10 in Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, in the first Pac-12 Championship game not won by the Oregon Ducks or Standford since the games inception several years ago. Few people in college football feel that there are many teams playing better football than USC who down the stretch played up to their talent level and commensurate capabilities, blowing out all opponents over a 7-game winning streak apart from a 26-13 victory over Washington in the Huskies' raucous house that did not feel or look as close a game as the final score indicates.
Watching tonight's game and thinking about how USC is now playing, one is left with but one conclusion: had they been in tonight's game in place of Colorado, Washington would have experienced a nightmare night in Santa Clara, CA. The areas in which Washington looked weak, USC would have exploited even worse and the areas in which Washington looked good tonight were the very areas USC embarrassed them a few weeks ago in the new Husky Stadium.
Given the new college football playoff system and Washington's #4 ranking, if they hold onto that ranking after tonight's game, they go into the new playoff featuring the top four teams in the country. Given Colorado's destruction at the hands of Washington tonight, if the Buffaloes fall out of the #8 spot far enough for #11 USC to rank ahead of them, then the Rose Bowl selection committee could select the Trojans to represent the Pac-12 in that iconic matchup against whomever the Big Ten sends to "The Granddaddy of Them All" on January 2, 2017.
USC ought to play in the Rose Bowl or else something is quite wrong with the current system which already is almost managing to exclude them from any meaningful post-season games aside from perhaps an upper middling bowl game in late December.