Arizona quarterback Matt Scott
Last week, I drove myself crazy in attempting to break down Arizona's potential bowl destinations.
A few hours and a massive headache later, I found I still had very little idea where the Wildcats may be headed. There were just too many games left to be played.
But, a week later, with far fewer plausible scenarios, the picture was less clouded.
If you're looking for the Cliffs Notes version, it goes something like this: If the Wildcats defeat Arizona State, they will more than likely head to Vegas. If they lose, they will likely head to New Mexico.
Read on for the slightly longer version.
What we know: Arizona is one of eight bowl-eligible teams in the Pac-12. Stanford, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, UCLA, USC and Arizona State make up the other seven.
What else we know: The Pac-12 conference has seven bowl tie-ins, as follows:
Rose Bowl: Pac-12 No. 1
Alamo Bowl: Pac-12 No. 2
Holiday Bowl: Pac-12 No. 3
Sun Bowl: Pac-12 No. 4
Vegas Bowl: Pac-12 No. 5
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Pac-12 No. 6
New Mexico Bowl: Pac-12 No. 7
The Wildcats will finish no higher than fifth and no lower than eighth overall in the Pac-12.
Bowls we can safely rule out: Because Arizona cannot finish ahead of Stanford, Oregon, Oregon State or UCLA, they will not be invited to play in the Rose, Alamo or Holiday Bowls. The 'Cats, in all likelihood, will land in one of the four remaining bowls.
Here's what needs to happen for each:
Scenario(s) in which the 'Cats can land in the Hyundai Sun Bowl:
Scenario No. 1: Arizona defeats Arizona State. Washington loses to Washington State. Either Stanford or UCLA heads to the Rose Bowl, while Oregon heads to another BCS bowl. The 'Cats, owning the tiebreaker with both USC and Washington, head to El Paso.
Scenario(s) in which the 'Cats can land in the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl:
Scenario No. 1: Everything in Sun Bowl scenario No. 1 transpires with one exception: Washington defeats Washington State.
Scenario No. 2: Everything in Sun Bowl scenario No. 1 transpires with one exception: Instead of two Pac-12 teams reaching BCS bowls, only one does (the Rose Bowl). Everyone slides down a spot and Arizona heads to Vegas.
Scenario(s) in which the 'Cats can land in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl:
Scenario No. 1: Arizona and Washington win. The Pac-12 gets one BCS bowl. The Wildcats, with the sixth-best record in the Pac-12 and with a victory over USC, take on Navy in San Francisco.
Scenario(s) in which the 'Cats can land in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl:
Scenario No. 1: Arizona loses to Arizona State. The Pac-12 has a representative in the Rose Bowl and another BCS bowl. The 'Cats, with the eighth-best conference record, are selected to play in the Pac-12 No. 7 tie-in bowl.
Scenario(s) in which the 'Cats fail to reach a Pac-12 tie-in bowl:
Scenario No. 1: Arizona loses to Arizona State. The Pac-12 only gets one BCS bowl. Arizona, an 8th-place finisher, does not crack any of the Pac-12's seven bowl tie-ins.