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WSU just beat Utah and took over first place in the Pac-12 North standings. The 33-25 victory was thanks to a defense that simply wouldn’t let the Utah Utes really get moving early in the game. Now the #Washington State Cougars are 9-2 on the season and just one win away from playing in the Pac-12 Championship Game this year.

On Friday night (Nov. 10), Stanford beat Washington [VIDEO], basically knocking the Pac-12 out of the running for a spot in the College Football Playoff. What it also did, though, was open up an opportunity for WSU to take over the Pac-12 North. With the victory on Saturday night (Nov. 11) against Utah, WSU coach #Mike Leach was able to take his team right to the top.

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Now the school gets to enjoy first place for at least the next 12 days.

The new-look Pac-12 standings

The Washington State Cougars are now 9-2 overall and 6-2 against Pac-12 opponents. Stanford (7-3, 6-2) has the same number of conference wins, but WSU won that head-to-head game. This gives WSU the tiebreaker and puts them on course to play USC for the Pac-12 Championship. The Washington Huskies fell to third place in the North (8-2, 5-2) with two games left on their schedule.

A big game between Washington and Utah will take place next week, as Utah still needs to get another victory to even be bowl eligible. For Washington, it is a chance to stay in the running for the Pac-12 North, but a loss would officially eliminate them. A loss to Utah would leave no opportunity to catch Stanford, even though UW could still find a way to tie WSU in the final standings.

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Apple Cup becomes very important

When WSU beat USC earlier in the regular season, it started to show that the Cougars might be a real threat to win the conference this year. Now that they are first place in the Pac-12 North, the team gets to enjoy a bye week to rest up and prepare for the Apple Cup. In two weeks, the Washington State Cougars are on the road for a season-ending game against the Washington Huskies. It raises the stakes on a game that was already deemed to be extremely important by the students at both schools.

Beating the Huskies would put WSU in the conference championship game for a rematch with the USC Trojans. That would put the team at 10-2 with a shot at improving to 11-2 and getting a really nice bowl game invite. For head coach Mike Leach, senior quarterback Luke Falk, and all of the faithful WSU fans, that would certainly be a huge reward to end the college football season. #Pac 12