We've looked at where the Pac-12 teams are likely bowl-bound this offseason. Let's now examine the potential matchups they'd face in their bowl games.
The plum matchup is clear. The winner between the Oregon Ducks and the UCLA Bruins in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship game will go onto face the winner between the Wisconsin Badgers and the
Michigan Wolverines Michigan St. Spartans in the Big 10 Championship game on January 2nd in the Rose Bowl.
The second matchup also seems pretty likely. If the Stanford Cardinal hold onto the four spot, they'll clinch the second BCS automatic berth and face the Big 12 representative in the Fiesta Bowl most likely. The most attractive matchup would be against the Oklahoma St. Cowboys presuming they finally win their rivalry game. A #3 vs #4 would be as close as you get to playoff format in the BCS, except it's nothing like a playoff and everyone who knows anything about this cronyist system would agree pretty quickly.
A lot remains to be figured out when it comes to the minor bowl berths though.
Projected team: Washington Huskies
Alamo Bowl opponent: Big 12 No. 3.
There's a lot of uncertainty about who goes in this position. Oklahoma and Kansas State seem like the likeliest possibilities, although there's a chance Texas or Baylor sneak into this discussion if the Big 12 earns a second BCS berth.
Kansas State probably has the Cotton Bowl bid locked up if they don't get into the BCS, so the Sooners probably have the inside track for this game. If Oklahoma wins Bedlam, it could put the Cowboys in the Cotton Bowl and knock the Wildcats one spot back.
Alamo Bowl projection: Oklahoma (75%), Kansas State (25%)
Matchup: Pour out the points in San Antonio!
Projected team: California Golden Bears
Holiday Bowl opponent: Big 12 No. 5
It's a big muddled mess, but the Texas Longhorns aren't in good position to be selected unless they really flail through their season finale at Baylor. Texas (with the largest fanbase among all the big powers) is likely to be picked by the first team that has a good chance to pick them, and the Insight Bowl will likely trump them all with the fourth pick.
In fact, Baylor might be one of the likeliest targets even if they do finish at 9-3 and 4th in the Big 12. Baylor would be a pretty popular target based on the dynamism of a Heisman Trophy candidate like Robert Griffin III. There would be concerns about ticket sales from the Baylor fanbase, which could open the door for a team like Missouri or Texas A&M to this spot too.
Holiday Bowl projection: Baylor the likeliest possiblity. A&M and Missouri dark horses.
Matchup: The Cal defense (which has played well this season) is going to have one of their most difficult tests of the season trying to hold down Griffin.
Projected team: Utah Utes
Sun Bowl opponent: ACC #4
The Virginia Tech-Clemson loser ends up in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Florida State is the likeliest selection for the Champs Sports Bowl, meaning that Georgia Tech, Virginia and Wake Forest fight it out for El Paso.
Sun Bowl projection: Georgia Tech has the strongest group of fans, so Paul Johnson's option offense gets the nod here. Virginia is a sleeper, but I'm pretty sure the Yellow Jackets are locked in here.
Projected team: Arizona St. Sun Devils
Maaco Bowl opponent: MWC #1
TCU or Boise? The Horned Frogs will win the conference, but that doesn't automatically mean they'll be the ones picked here as Boise will finish with a similar record. The Broncos have proven historically to be the better draw, so it could be that Boise ends up here to face the stumbling Sun Devils.
Maaco Bowl projection: Feel slightly better about Boise St picking up the nod here.
Who knows where UCLA goes if they're granted their unlikely bowl waiver, so stay tuned on that.