I've been meaning to do this article for a few weeks now. However, I must admit, projecting these bowl slots is eminently more difficult with the uncertainty around the College Football Playoffs.
Since humiliating myself with incorrect forecasts has never been an issue for the Gekko, I power on.
My projections are listed in the table below. As you digest them, I think it is worthwhile to consider a few Dots:
- The Pac 12 has seven bowl alliances. However, one of those (the Rose Bowl) is occupied as a rotational site for the playoffs this season. Thus, six bowl games are all that the Pac 12 are guaranteed in this season.
- I do not, at this time, project that the Pac 12 will earn an at-large bid to one of the premium bowls that have such slots available due to the CFP rotation. That is not to say it won't happen. There are plenty of scenarios where a P12 team could end up as an at-large in a bowl such as the Fiesta. If that happens, all the teams below them "move up" a notch.
- The Huskies are going to go down the wire. Given their respective schedules, the Dawgs may end up in this weird scenario where they could end up with two more total wins then Stanford but still get passed over for the last guaranteed P12 Bowl (the Cactus Bowl) by the Cardinal. In that case, I would expect UW to get picked up in a lower-tier at-large bid.
- While an at-large - or even a "no invite" - scenario is very plausible for the Huskies, they could still end up as high as the Las Vegas Bowl. If you want this to happen, then you really need to root for two upper teams (e.g. Oregon and ASU/UCLA) to get premium bowl bids with Stanford losing both of its upcoming road games (Cal and UCLA).
- If UW only notches on win in their remaining two games, I'd have to guess that their odds of getting an invite to a bowl fall to the 50/50 range. It really depends on how the at-large bowl opportunities shape up. The fact that UW fans travel well helps. However, there are a lot of politics that go into the at-large bids.
- By the way, I hope that Larry Scott is working on the bowl lineups either in terms of revising them or in boosting the prominence of the existing ones. It isn't so much the teams as it is a matching of similar, high quality opponents. For example, the San Francisco Bowl - our #4 bowl - is paired against the #5-7 player out of the Big 10. In an average year, that is a mismatch. This year, it pairs a team like ASU against a team like Iowa. Hmmm.
Gekko's Bowl Projections (11/18)
|Rose Bowl (Playoffs)
|Oregon looks like a virtual lock to make the College Football Playoffs with just Colorado and Oregon State standing between them and the P12 Championship game. Them ending up in the Rose Bowl is no lock, but it looks realistic.
|Valero Alamo Bowl
Big 12 vs. Pac-12
|San Antonio, 1/2/15
|I am projecting USC to win the South with a win over UCLA and an ASU loss in the Territorial Cup. I don't see USC hanging with Oregon, though. It's a Sark thing.
|National University Holiday Bowl
Big Ten vs. Pac-12
|San Diego, 12/27/14
|UCLA is going to fall to the Holiday Bowl if they lose to USC. Given their home field attraction and their win over ASU, they'll look good to the Holiday Bowl organizers.
|San Francisco Bowl
Big Ten vs. Pac-12
|Santa Clara, 12/30/14
|If ASU wins out, they could still end up as an at-large to the Fiesta Bowl. However, I'm guessing that they've peaked and that we will see a Territorial Cup loss. With that, they fall into the SF Bowl.
|Hyundai Sun Bowl
ACC vs. Pac-12
|El Paso, 12/27
|This is a tough drop for a team that has played so well against such a difficult schedule, but it is what it is. I'm sure the Utes will take it.
|Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
MWC vs Pac-12
|Zona could end up in the Sun Bowl, but I'm thinking that this is the more likely outcome for Rich Rod's team.
Big 12 vs. Pac-12
|Stanford is not bowl eligible yet, but will likely will be after traveling to Cal this weekend. I see them topping at six wins, but with a W over Washington. As such, they'll likely get the Cactus Bowl bid, even if UW finishes with eight wins on the season.
MWC vs. C-USA
|It is hard to project what at-large bids might be open, but this one looks possible and would be a natural fit for UW to accept. Money won't be an issue for a team desparate for 15 more practices.