The commencement of Duck week comes exactly a day after the Huskies locked up Bowl Eligibility for the second straight season. While this may seem trite to the typical Duck fan, the accomplishment of this milestone so early in the season is a meaningful step in our climb back to respectability and, let's be honest, a strong UW program is just what both the Oregon Ducks and the Pac 12 North need in order to be relevant on a national scale.
The achievement of this milestone got me thinking about where the Dawgs might be playing during the holidays this year. There are, of course, a number of possible destinations. My thoughts on these possible outcomes and a scenario that would screw Oregon in a ways that they might never recover from ... after the jump.
The Bowl order for the Pac 12 is as follows:
- Rose Bowl (or a BCS equivalent)
- Alamo Bowl
- Holiday Bowl
- Sun Bowl
- Maaco Las Vegas Bowl
- Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl
- New Mexico Bowl
The Dawgs currently sit tied with ASU for third in race behind Stanford and Oregon. With USC not bowl eligible, there are no real competitors outside of ASU as a threat to overtake UW from behind. So let's focus on the first four bowls and where UW might land.
Scenario 1: Huskies to the Rose Bowl (vs. Big 10 or BCS Qualifier)
First, let's make this clear: UW cannot outright win the P12N. It's just not gonna happen.
UW can get to the Rose Bowl. In fact, if UW can somehow find a way to beat Oregon on Saturday and Stanford wins out, the overwhelming odds are that Stanford will go to the National Championship game and, by default, UW will be in the driver's seat to go to the Rose Bowl. That's right. We would control our own destiny in punching a ticket to the Rose Bowl. In fact, we could lose @ USC and still be guaranteed a Rose Bowl under these circumstances. Since Oregon losing to Stanford is a 50/50 proposition, a victory over them this weekend would truly position us to be a very viable possibility as a Rose Bowl team.
If you dream about this scenario, here is what has to happen: UW beats Oregon, Stanford wins out, Oklahoma St loses somewhere along the line (to Oklahoma maybe? to Kansas St?) and UW finds a way to win at least two of its final three versus Ore St, USC and WSU. Even then, it is possible that another team to could leapfrog Stanford, but not likely.
Take a moment to consider this dream, Dawg Fans. The damage to the Duck psyche would be significant if we could pull this off. We'd beat them (dagger 1), we'd squash their Rose Bowl hopes (dagger 2), we'd finish with a better conference record than them (dagger 3), and we'd get a chance to post yet another RB victory in our record book while the number of Duck fans still breathing who witnessed their last RB victory dwindles down to less than a dozen (possible dagger 4). This scenario is a Husky Fan's sweet dream come true and would ensure instant canonization of Sark. Hell, even Nick Holt would get a contract extension.
Scenario 2: Huskies to the Alamo Bowl (vs. Big 12)
The Dawgs going to the Alamo Bowl is not very likely. If you assume that Stanford stays ahead of UW, we'd have to beat out both Oregon and ASU to get to the Alamo Bowl. If Stanford goes to the Natty, then we go to the Alamo if three of our last four games and ASU loses twice along the way. Probably not likely.
Scenario 3: Huskies to the Holiday Bowl (vs Big 12)
This scenario is almost as unlikely as the Alamo Bowl given that it is pretty much the same as the Alamo Bowl scenario minus Stanford going to the National Championship game. If you want to go to this Bowl, we have to lose one fewer games in the remaining four than ASU does. If we somehow beat Oregon, the odds of us going to the Holiday jump dramatically.
Scenario 4: Huskies to the Sun Bowl (vs. ACC)
This is the easiest situation to imagine. Even if we lose two of our last four (or even three of our last four), this is our most likely destination given that the only other real bowl contender in the Pac 12 is UCLA. Either Or St or WSU could make a late charge at this slot, but both have a big hill to climb to make it happen.
Scenario 5: Huskies to the Las Vegas Bowl (vs. Moutain West)
I love the Las Vegas Bowl and I'm already planning on being in Vegas during the Holidays ... so I'd be ecstatic over this. That said, most Dawg fans would consider this a major disappointment. To land in the Holiday Bowl, we likely will have had to have lost three of our final four games and watched UCLA jump us in the standings (or Or St or WSU - depending on which of those two beats us). The odds of this happening are dependent on one of three pretty bad teams getting relatively hot to close out the season. UCLA has the only real shot at this, but they've got ASU and USC still on their slate. ORST has Oregon, Stanford and UW all left to play ... so forget that. WSU has only one conference win, but the easiest remaining schedule of the group.
All in all, yeah, this is probably not gonna happen.
So, where do DawgFans want to spend the Holidays?