Pac-12 bowl projections 10/30: Stanford Rose Bowl bound?

Christian Petersen

Oregon and Stanford look poised for BCS bowls yet again.

BCS Championship Game - Alabama vs. Oregon

It seems like right now that at least three teams are going to go undefeated and the BCS is once again going to be a disaster, but that always seems to be the case each year in October and then teams start getting upset in November. Of the undefeated teams, I think the Ducks and Crimson Tide are the most talented, well-coached, battle-tested and play in the best conferences, but can they both escape November unscathed? Probably not, but right now they seem like the two that have the best chance.

With that said, it's very possible that these two teams could end up here with one or both teams having a loss. November is crazy every year, don't forget that.

Rose Bowl - Stanford vs. Ohio State

The Cardinal have finally looked how they should on defense the past two week and I could see them only losing one more game the rest of the way, probably against Oregon, and if that is the case, I think they will sneak into a BCS bowl if Oregon makes it into the BCS Championship Game. They will also benefit from a lack of good secondary options from the Big Ten and Big 12.

Also, I think there is a very good chance that Ohio State could run the table and still end up shut out of the BCS Championship Game if two of the Alabama/Oregon/Florida State pack go undefeated.

Alamo Bowl - Arizona State vs. Oklahoma State

It starts to get really murky after Oregon and Stanford, as I feel there are about four or five teams that really aren't that much better than each other and it all depends on how they play week-to-week. Right now, I think Arizona State is the best of those teams. The Sun Devils are balanced, talented and fast on offense and have a defense that, when healthy, can be scary with their pass-rushing ability.

Even though I think it is a weak conference this year, I think the Big 12 gets Oklahoma and Baylor in the BCS due to a lack of non-BCS and Big Ten teams worthy of getting in, so it pushes up Big 12 teams a spot in each obligated bowl team. I could easily see Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State or Texas Tech here, but I think this is about where the Cowboys fall in the hierarchy of that pack right now.

Holiday Bowl - Oregon State vs. Kansas State

The Beavers are still a little bit questionable as they still haven't beaten a Pac-12 team that I think will make it to a bowl, but college football is all about putting points on the board right now, and other than Oregon, the Beavers are better than anyone else in the conference at doing that. They will lose a game or two to one of the other "second pack" Pac-12 teams, but will be an attractive choice with Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks being arguably the nation's best QB/WR combo.

The Big 12 falls off a cliff after Texas Tech so I think the Big 12 opponent that gets into this bowl will probably be 6-6. Of the Big 12 teams in the bottom half of the standings fighting for bowl eligibility, I think the Wildcats have the best chance to get there.

Sun Bowl - UCLA vs. Duke

The Bruins are a hard team to figure out right now after their offense and Brett Hundley really struggled at Stanford and Oregon. Still, I think they could easily win the South and it's really going to come down to whether or not they can beat the Sun Devils in the Rose Bowl in November. Right now, I don't think they can do that and they will slip out of the Alamo/Holiday sweet spot because of it.

The ACC is kind of a really big jumble right now after you get past the Florida State/Miami/Clemson crust, and I think they will likely get Florida State and Clemson both into the BCS which will push some of their weaker teams into better bowl games like this one.

Las Vegas Bowl - USC vs. Boise State

For all the negativity around the program right now, don't forget that the Trojans can actually be really good on defense and I wouldn't be that surprised if they end up shocking everyone and winning the South and/or upsetting UCLA. I think they have already dug themselves too big of a hole to come out of though, so they will end up in a lower-tier bowl. Also, I think they will get past up by bowl selection committees that will be wary of the enthusiasm of their fanbase after a tough season.

I have a feeling that the Las Vegas Bowl might be getting fatigued with Boise State, but I think they will slip in by beating Fresno State in a rematch in the Mountain West Championship Game. However, I don't think they can complain too much about getting a team that plays really well in bowls, draws well and has a bit of a national following.

Fight Hunger Bowl - Washington vs. BYU

This will not be an ideal destination for the Huskies in Steve Sarkisian's fifth-year as coach, but it will be the result of losing their three games against their upper-middle conference brethren in Arizona State, UCLA and Oregon State, who they all get on the road. This bowl game will be huge for them though as I think they will come in with seven wins and absolutely need to win to avoid winning seven games for the third year in-a-row.

It looks like the Cougars are slotted for the this bowl and I think they will end the season at 8-4 and be a strong opponent for the Huskies for being in such a lower-tier bowl.

New Mexico Bowl - Arizona vs. San Jose State

Of the three Pac-12 teams that I think will have to scratch and claw to make a bowl game - Arizona, Utah and Washington State, Arizona is the only one that I see for sure getting bowl eligible leaving them as the only choice for the New Mexico Bowl.

The Mountain West is very interesting after Fresno State and Boise State as I could see about four or five different teams ending up here, but for the moment, it seems to be where San Jose State lines up.

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