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Colorado's Lopsided Loss to Washington Could Send USC to the Rose Bowl

The USC Trojans could still have a chance at playing in the Rose Bowl after the Colorado Buffaloes were blown out by the Washington Huskies, 41-10, in the Pac 12 Championship Game.

Everything's coming up roses.

Or at least it could for the USC Trojans football team who entering Friday looked like a long shot for a chance at the Rose Bowl.

The No. 11 ranked Trojans were behind both No. 4 Washington and No. 8 Colorado as they had to watch from home as both Division champions slugged it out in the Pac-12 championship game at Levy's Stadium in Santa Clara.

Before the game began, USC's slim chances of making the Rose Bowl hinged on the fact that they would have to jump No. 8 Colorado in the final College Football Playoff Committee polls released next Tuesday.

Standing between USC and Colorado are Big 12 rivals Oklahoma and Oklahoma State who will duke it out against each other in the Big 12 Conference championship game on Saturday.

Therefore, it stands to reason that the loser of that matchup could fall below the Trojans in the rankings and the winner could leap ahead of Colorado. That would put Colorado and USC adjacent to each other at No. 9 and No.10 respectively.

The final piece of the puzzle would be a blowout victory by Washington in the Pac 12 championship game that would cement their position as one of the four best team's in the country, and expose Colorado as overrated at their current ranking.

Thankfully for the Trojans, that's exactly what they got as the Huskies blew out the Buffaloes, 41-10, on Friday, forcing the College Football committee to have to decide who is better? Colorado or USC?

It's safe to assume that by virtue of their victory, Washington will advance to the four-team playoff where they will likely play Alabama in the semifinal. That leaves the second best team in the Pac 12 with a Rose Bowl berth, a decision that will be determined on which team is ranked higher come Tuesday.

Will the committee choose the South Division champion Colorado Buffaloes who essentially are considered the runner-up in the division? Or will they select the Trojans who will have the same number of losses as the Buffs, but beat both Colorado and Washington head-to-head this season. 

Colorado's lopsided victory to Washington may be the final straw that tips the scale to the Trojans side. Had the game been close, the decision would have been easy, but with Washington winning in convincing fashion, everything is now much more complex.

The Trojans have the second longest winning streak in the country at eight games, behind only undefeated Alabama and Western Michigan. They have two top-10 wins against No. 4 Washington and No. 8 Colorado, but many of their other victories were against ranked opponents at the time, or teams who at one point or another were ranked in the AP Top 25.

There three losses came at the hands of No. 1 Alabama, No. 18 Stanford and No. 20 Utah, all respectable teams. USC will also likely leapfrog Colorado in the AP and Coaches poll on Monday, two factors that could benefit the Trojans when the committee makes their final decision.

Colorado will have a similar body of work to build their case for the committee. They will have one more win than the Trojans (9), and will have wins against Stanford and Utah. Their three losses will all come against likely top-10 teams once the final rankings are released in No. 4 Washington, No. 5 Michigan and USC. 

Ironically, the final decision for the committee could come down to that head-to-head matchup between the two teams at the Coliseum on October 8th that the Trojans won 21-17.

For those that don't remember, that game ended with USC wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster running toward a wide-open end zone, but instead falling on the ground at the 14-yard line to secure the victory for the Trojans.

It was a decision that Trojans head coach Clay Helton praised after the game, but could ultimately cost USC important style points now that a Rose Bowl berth is on the line.

The final rankings produced by the College Football Playoff committee will be released on Tuesday. If the Trojans do not finish ahead of Colorado they will likely play in the Alamo Bowl against the loser of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

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