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, 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. 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.

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.