The season is winding to a close, and the Pac-10, believe it or not, looks really strong. Oregon, USC, and Arizona are ranked, and Stanford and Oregon State both have votes for the top 25.
Cal is doing well at the moment, and Washington is just hangin' in there.
Bowl predictions are flying all over the place. What about the Pac-10? Where will Oregon, USC, and the rest of them end up?
Let's take a look at the Pac-10 picture at the end of this year.
1. Oregon Ducks—10-2 (8-1)
2. USC Trojans—10-2 (7-2)
3. Oregon State Beavers—8-4 (6-3)
4. Arizona Wildcats—8-4 (6-3)
5. Stanford Cardinal—7-5 (6-3)
6. Cal Golden Bears—7-5 (4-5)
7. Washington Huskies—4-8 (3-6)
8. UCLA Bruins—5-7 (2-7)
9. Arizona State Sun Devils—4-8 (2-7)
10. Washington State Cougars—1-11 (0-9)
To summarize, Oregon dominates. There will be some good games against Arizona and Oregon State in the Civil War. But nothing can stop Oregon's high-paced offense and surprisingly outstanding defense.
USC suffered a brutal loss to Oregon. The worst Pete Carol has ever suffered. I haven't ever seen him drop an F-bomb on TV before...
The Trojans will be bloodthirsty and seeking to pound out the rest of the opposition. Expect them to stay second the rest of the year.
Oregon State will surprise some teams...they nearly took down USC, and beating Cal, they rank higher than them in the conference.
Arizona hasn't faced USC, Oregon, or Cal yet. It's a tough final stretch. The top 25 was a nice little surprise, but they aren't that good. Let's get over that.
Cal and Stanford are both above average and will make bowl games, but neither are big factors in the Pac-10 and both will lose multiple times before season's end.
Washington is ok...just ok. They did a number on USC but won't impress much anymore. Jake Locker can only do so much. Once teams figure him out, it's over for the Huskies. I don't see them in a bowl game at this point.
UCLA has a tough final stretch of the season, and will remain a bottom dweller for the remainder of the season.
Arizona State and Washington State are true embarrassments to the Pac-10 as a conference. Both disappoint, and can be marked as easy wins for the rest of the Pac.
Where does that leave them as far as bowl games go?
First, here's a list of the bowls and requirements to go to a bowl game.
And now for my Pac-10 predictions:
Rose Bowl (Pac 10 Champ vs. Big 10 Champ) —Oregon vs. Ohio State (ALT: Iowa)
Holiday Bowl (Pac 10 two vs. Big 12 three) —USC vs. Kansas State (ALT: Oklahoma State)
Sun Bowl (Pac 10 three vs. Big 12 five, Big East two, or Notre Dame) —Arizona vs. Nebraska (Big 12), Pittsburgh (Big East), or Notre Dame
Emerald Bowl (Pac 10 four vs. ACC five, six, or seven) —Oregon State vs. Virginia Tech (ALT: Duke)
Las Vegas Bowl (Pac 10 five vs. MWC Champ) —Stanford vs. Utah (or TCU if no BCS bid)
Poinsettia Bowl (Pac 10 six vs. MWC two) —California vs. BYU (or Utah if TCU doesn't receive a BCS bid.)
Not bowl eligible: Washington, UCLA, Arizona State, and Washington State.
The Pac 10 is a hard conference this year. Not up there with the SEC, but very close. Washington could go to a bowl game if Oregon climbs their way back up to the BCS, but it's not likely to happen.
The Rose Bowl is always the best game to watch. I feel Oregon will have a challenge in Ohio State. But keep in mind, Iowa and Penn State are right there. Oregon can beat any one of the three teams, mark my words.
Oregon by three over Ohio State
For the Holiday Bowl, USC is the clear choice as they should finish second in the conference. There is a slight chance they get an at large bid for a BCS bowl, but not likely.
USC will square off against the third place finish in the Big 12, really an unfair matchup as this most likely means Kansas State. Possibly Oklahoma State depending on how the two finish. USC should easily win either of those two.
USC by 24 over Kansas State; seven over Oklahoma State
Oregon State is the third best in the conference, no question. However, they cannot go to the Sun Bowl two times in a row. Bummer.
That puts fourth ranked Arizona headed here. Arizona is doing good, and while they'll lose before the year's out, they can still make a good bowl.
In the Sun Bowl they'll play either the Big 12 five team—Nebraska (possibly Texas Tech), the number two Big East team—Pittsburgh, unless Cincinnati falls apart, or Notre Dame.
Most likely it is to be Pitt or Nebraska. Arizona would manhandle Nebraska, and probably get manhandled by Pittsburgh.
Arizona by 22 over Nebraska, Pitt by 15
OSU is the favorite, due to them being ineligible for the Sun Bowl, therefore headed to the Emerald Bowl.
There they play either the ACC fifth, sixth, or seventh ranked teams. Taking the top two from each division away from the ACC, that leaves us with (in order) Miami, Virginia Tech, or Duke.
Personally, I think Oregon State is underrated, and would beat all three of these teams. But Duke is an underrated team as well, and could surprise some people this by the end of the year.
OSU over Virginia Tech by five, 16 over Duke
Las Vegas Bowl
The Las Vegas Bowl is the most interesting to me. Here we have a mediocre Pac 10 team going to play the MWC champions. Normally fairly even. This year, the Pac 10 team looks to be on the downside.
Stanford is the choice at this point for the Vegas bid. TCU will most likely be the BCS buster, but in the case they aren't, they play the Cardinal. A sure loss for Stanford.
Even if they do get a bid, it still means Stanford takes on high flying Utah, who's only loss came at the hands of Oregon. Both teams, I feel, would crush the Cardinal.
TCU by 21, Utah by 18
Last and least, we have the Poinsettia Bowl. The sixth ranked Pac 10 team faces off the second ranked Mountain West team. Again, this could go several ways.
Cal is the most likely choice from the Pac 10. The Huskies will just have to wait another year unless they pull out some upsets.
On the opposite end of the Golden Bears, will be the BYU Cougars, assuming TCU gets that bid. In the event that they don't, that pushes Utah down to the Poinsettia Bowl. Either one will beat Cal.
BYU by 16, Utah by 28
NOTE : All predictions are based on my stat collection of each team, thus generating a prediction of each game.
This article will no doubt raise some questions, and everyone has their own opinion. Feel free to let me know what you think will go down in the Pac-10 postseason play!