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What USC’s loss to Utah means for College Football Playoff rankings

The Trojans lost the chance to cement their spot in the playoff.

Caleb Williams of the USC Trojans scrambles against the Utah Utes during the first quarter in the Pac-12 Championship at Allegiant Stadium on December 02, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

The USC Trojans had it on their racket, but a 47-24 loss to the Utah Utes in the Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday night likely eliminated them from the 2022 College Football Playoff.

SC quarterback Caleb Williams was heroic in his performance, but multiple injuries appeared to hamper him all game long. And the Trojans defense, which had been high-risk and high-reward all season, couldn’t do enough to keep the Utes from their second-straight Pac-12 title.

With the loss the No. 4-ranked Trojans will sit at 11-2 this season, with both losses to the No. 11 Utes. It would be one thing if it was close, but after a 17-17 score at halftime, the Utes cruised to victory on both sides of the ball. But their loss was a worse one than the one the No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes suffered last Saturday to the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines.

The loss means it’s likely the final four as of now are No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 TCU... and No. 5 Ohio State. A loss by the Horned Frogs tomorrow might even be enough to get the two-loss-and-no-championship Alabama Crimson Tide into the semifinals as well.

It’s a brutal loss for Lincoln Riley in his first season in Los Angeles, but they’ll have to be content with a quality bowl game and continued improvement.

And likely a returning Heisman Trophy winner in Williams at quarterback in 2023.