Tired of the Sarknado we've been in for the last 24 hours? Let's talk Bowl Season.
Last weekend's college football madness was something to watch, but for as crazy as the national results were, there is really not much tangible effect on our forecasts for the 2013 Pac 12 Bowl Projections. Going into championship week, it is getting a little easier to project things. But, with 9 bowl eligible teams, there are still spots up for grabs.
Here are our latest projections. For reference, here are our projections from last week.
|Bowl||Matchup||Pac 12 Representative||Possible Opponent|
|Pac 12 #1 vs
Big 10 #1
|Pac 12 #2 vs
Big 12 #3
|Pac 12 #3 vs
Big 12 #5
|Pac 12 #4 vs
|Las Vegas Bowl
|Pac 12 #5 vs
|Fight Hunger Bowl
|Pac 12 #6 vs
|New Mexico Bowl
|Pac 12 #7 vs
|Arizona||San Diego St
Rose Bowl: Stanford
Prior to last week, I liked ASU to beat Stanford in the Pac 12 championship game given how hot ASU is and how hard it is for any team to beat another twice in the same season. However, the news of Marion Grice being out tips the scale for me no matter how good D.J Foster is. I'm going to go with Stanford here. Their opponent is now almost certainly not going to be Ohio State. I like Michigan State to beat OSU in the Big 10 championship and to represent them against Stanford.
Alamo Bowl: Oregon
I'm moving Oregon up to the spot I had ASU occupying last week. Oregon's last minute touchdown drive was a reminder of how exciting they can be and, frankly, they may be the sexier pick if Marion Grice can't go for ASU. I have to think that Oklahoma is the likely opponent which would create one of the most attractive bowl games of the season.
Holiday Bowl: Arizona State
ASU falling here makes sense and would be a good trip for them. Even short-handed, the Sun Devils should be able to whip whomever the Big 12 sends - most likely Kansas State. It would be a great way to close the season and buoy the Sun Devils' ranking going into next season, no matter how many seniors they graduate (a lot).
Sun Bowl: UCLA
By way of their thrashing of the Trojans last weekend, the Bruins "upgraded" their bowl from Las Vegas to El Paso. Gee, have fun with that. The Bruins are a near certainty in this spot, but their opponent can be one of several teams from the middle of the ACC. My prediction is Virginia Tech ... but I really am just sticking my finger in the air.
Las Vegas Bowl: USC
Losing to your rival hurts, but your consolation prize is a very winnable game in Las Vegas in what is almost certainly Ed Orgeron's last game as USC's head coach. Because Fresno State lost last weekend, they are out of the BCS discussion and are now a legitimate contender to play opposite of USC. This should be a fun one.
Fight Hunger Bowl: Washington vs BYU
While there may not be anything more than a coaching skeleton crew to take them there, UW to San Francisco is still basically a fait accompli. Since BYU has already accepted an invite to this game, we can begin speculating on the matchup a little early. I won't be going, but I'm a former San Francisco resident and I envy all of you able to make that trip. I would have to say, though, that the odds of BYU beating the Huskies spiked considerably following yesterday's news.
New Mexico Bowl: Arizona
Truthfully, this is a toss-up between Arizona and WSU. I know the Cougs are hoping that the organizers won't want Arizona two years in a row. However, UA gave New Mexico its most memorable game ever last season and I think it is a natural pairing that is quite attractive. Still, who knows? With either Boise State or San Diego St as the opponent, it ought to be another good one.
At-Large Bids: Washington St & Oregon St
Both of these teams remain bowl eligible, but the events of last Saturday really didn't do either of them many favors. The bottom line here, if you assume that the SEC sends two teams to BCS bowls, is that the Independence Bowl and Heart of Dallas Bowl will each have openings. There are other scenarios where another could open, but I'm guessing these will be the two bowls looking at the Pac 12 eligible teams. WSU has to be considered the more attractive option, no matter how strong OSU looked in the Civil War. However, beauty is always in they eye of the beholder and, frankly, there are a lot relationship factors that play into the politics of bowls that I couldn't possibly project.
Thus, I'll stop by saying only that I am no longer confident that both Pac 12 eligible teams will find a home in the post-season. That would be a shame if it were to come to pass and would reflect poorly on Larry Scott and his efforts to promote what is probably the best conference in CFB this season.