Pac-12 Football: Bowl Projections
This is going to be an interesting week for Pac-12 fans.
What if UCLA and Nebraska both win their respective conference championships? We would have a rematch of UCLA and Nebraska only this time it would be played in the Rose Bowl game.
While I don't think UCLA wins the Pac-12 Championship, I do think the game will be a lot closer than last week's contest.
This season the Pac-12 will have eight teams in bowls with a conference first.
On to the bowl projections.
Note: These bowl projections are based on Stanford winning the Pac-12 Championship this Friday.
New Mexico: Nevada vs. Arizona
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The Arizona Wildcats finished their season 7-5, but because they had a losing conference record, they should be the last team selected by bowl officials.
The Wildcats will face the Nevada Wolfpack, and this game will actually be one of the better contests among the pre-New Year's bowls.
Kraft Fight Hunger: Arizona State vs. Navy
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The Arizona State Sun Devils finished 7-5 overall and 5-4 in the conference, a very respectable record and probably deserving of a higher level opponent than this year's Navy—no disrespect to Navy.
The bowl is in a beautiful venue (AT&T Park in San Francisco) and spending New Year's Eve in San Francisco is certainly a good time, but I wonder how many Sun Devil fans will be fired up enough to spend thousands of dollars in a down economy to watch their team play Navy?
Maaco Las Vegas: Washington vs. Boise State
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Washington dropped its final game of the regular season to Washington State in last Saturday's Apple Cup, losing 31-28 in overtime. Instead of 8-4 the Huskies are now 7-5, and my best guess is that they land in Las Vegas on December 22.
The Huskies will probably face Boise State—since the Broncos are a long shot for a BCS Bowl invite—but Fresno State is also a possibility.
It's not the Holiday Bowl for Washington, but it is Vegas—I doubt Husky fans are going to be too upset.
Sun: USC vs. Georgia Tech
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USC gets tabbed for the Sun Bowl as the best possible selection among the 7-5 teams.
Unfortunately, USC fans don't travel well for a team that drops its final two games of the season, especially when those two teams are rivals UCLA and Notre Dame.
The Trojans will face the loser of the ACC Championship game and that will probably be 6-7 Georgia Tech, which will need a waiver to play in this bowl.
Holiday: Oregon State vs. West Virginia
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The Holiday Bowl is one of the nicest Pac-12 bowl tie-ins, and Oregon State gets to spend some time in sunny San Diego for the holidays.
There is a slight possibility of either USC or UCLA getting this spot, but I don't think the city of San Diego wants fans to drive down to the bowl, watch the game and then drive back home; San Diego wants fans to make a weekend out of their bowl experience by spending money at hotels, restaurants and shops.
Oregon State fits that model fanbase ideally.
The Beavers, after playing the Oregon Ducks in their annual Civil War rivalry game, will be facing another prolific offense in the West Virginia Mountaineers.
Fasten your seat belts.
Alamo: UCLA vs. Oklahoma State
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If UCLA beats Stanford this Friday, the Bruins are headed to the Rose Bowl game on January 1.
With that being said, I don't think UCLA beats Stanford.
Although UCLA would be crushed over not playing in the Rose Bowl game, the team does play in the Rose Bowl for half of the regular season so maybe going to the Alamo Bowl isn't such a bad consolation prize?
San Antonio is a blast, and the Bruins' opponent in the Alamo Bowl, most likely Oklahoma State, would provide a great contest.
Fiesta: Oregon vs. Kansas State
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No. 5 Oregon is an at-large team that is the object of every BCS Bowl's desire. The Fiesta, Sugar and Orange, after filling their respective conference tie-in champions, have Oregon, the Big East champ, and possibly Kent State as their at-large choices.
The Ducks are flashy and exciting, and their fans travel extremely well. The Fiesta Bowl gets the first selection of the at-large teams, and you can circle the Oregon Ducks as their pick to (probably) play Kansas State.
This is a total win-win for the Fiesta Bowl.
Rose: Stanford vs. Nebraska
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If the Stanford Cardinal can beat the UCLA Bruins for the second time in six days, Stanford is in the Rose Bowl.
The last time the Cardinal played in the Rose Bowl game was in 2000, so this is a pretty big deal for a once-down-but-now-resurgent football program.
The winner of the Big Ten Championship game between Nebraska and Wisconsin will be Stanford's opponent, and I've got Nebraska as the winner.
Nebraska fans travel extremely well, and the stadium will be completely filled with red-clad fans from both sides.
How fitting for the Rose Bowl.