There's a lot of chatter on Twitter about Rose Bowl tiebreakers and USC needing Oregon to lose two more games for USC to get into the Rose Bowl. In fact, there is a reasonably plausible scenario under which USC goes to the Rose Bowl in a three-way tie even if Oregon only loses one more game. If Arizona beats Oregon and USC beats Arizona, with each team winning their remaining games, USC, Arizona and Oregon would each finish in a 3-way tie at 7-2. Head-to-head-to-head would leave them tied at 1-1 against each other. Then you start to look at the three teams' records against the other top Pac-10 teams until you eliminate one. You get to Stanford (Oregon's other loss) before you get to Washington* (Arizona and USC's other loss). USC and Arizona are 1-0 against Stanford, and Oregon is 0-1. That would eliminate Oregon. Then you would look at head-to-head records between USC and Arizona. USC would go. That means that if Arizona goes into the final week of the season at 7-1 in the Pac-10, with USC at 6-2 with wins over Stanford and UCLA, then USC v. Arizona on December 5 would be a de facto Pac-10 conference championship game.
Here comes the math:
Rose Bowl Selection Procedures
If a Conference team is ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) ranking system it shall participate in the National Championship Game designated by the BCS. If that is not the case, the following procedures will determine the Pacific-10 Rose Bowl Representative. The Pacific-10 Rose Bowl representative shall be that member's team with the best won-lost percentage record in Conference games. If, however, the records in Conference games of two or more members are identical, determination of the Rose Bowl representative shall be as follows:
a. Two-Team Tie.
The winner of the game between the two teams shall be the representative.
b. Multiple-Team Ties.
(1) When three or more teams are tied in Conference play, if one has defeated all others, it shall be the Rose Bowl representative. If that is not the case, a comparison of the tied teams' records against the other tied teams shall be made and the team having the best record against the other tied teams shall be the Rose Bowl representative. If two or more teams are still tied after this comparison, the appropriate two-team or multiple-team tie-breaking procedures shall be repeated among those teams still under consideration.
(2) If more than two teams are still tied after the process above is completed, each remaining tied team's record against the team occupying the highest position in the final regular season standings shall be compared, with the procedure continuing down through the standings until one team gains an advantage.
When arriving at another group of tied teams while comparing records, each team's collective record against the tied teams as a group shall be used.
If at any point in the process the multiple-team tie is reduced to two teams, the two-team tie-breaking procedure shall be applied.
If more than two teams are still tied after comparing their records all the way through the Conference standings, the team among the tied teams with the highest ranking in the final BCS standings shall be the Rose Bowl representative.
If a tie remains, the teams most recently earning Rose Bowl or Bowl Championship Series automatic selection shall be eliminated.
This scenario fails if Arizona loses to anyone other than USC, or if USC loses another game. But if it plays out like that, USC v. Oregon is no longer the Pac-10 Game of the Year. Oregon @ Arizona on November 21 is the Pac-10 Game of the Year. If Arizona and USC keep winning, Arizona @ USC on December 5 will be the Pac-10 Game of the Year.
* If, however, Washington wins its last three (@ Oregon State, Washington State and Cal) and Stanford loses to both USC and Cal, then both will finish 5-4, so the tiebreaker will continue until you look at BCS standings where USC, which is already ahead of both, would have a clear advantage if they were 10-2 and Oregon and Arizona have dropped to 9-3.