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Pac-12 bowl projections 10/15: Oregon plays Alabama in the Fiesta Bowl

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Stanford is headed to the Alamo Bowl.

Stephen Dunn

Fiesta Bowl - Oregon vs. Alabama

The Ducks got a lot of people back in the boat with their win at UCLA and even though they still have some serious flaws, I think they have the least of any team in the Pac-12 and still have the best balance of scheme, coaching and talent. The Ducks have too many problems to get into the College Football Playoff in my opinion, but I still see them winning the Pac-12. Alabama is similar to the Ducks in my opinion, but much more talented overall. I see them getting close to the Playoff, but just not quite making it and getting into one of the top-tier bowls like this.

Alamo Bowl - Stanford vs. TCU

I am tempted to pick Stanford to win the Pac-12 this year because they are better at one thing than anyone else, defense, but their offense is so bad it is going to cost them a couple more games. Still, the Cardinal are either the first or second best team in the conference and will end up here if they don't win the thing. TCU has looked great the past two weeks, but I think they end up getting eclipsed by Oklahoma in the long run and fall into a still great bowl.

Holiday Bowl - USC vs. Wisconsin

USC got a much needed win at Arizona and if they hadn't blown a Hail Mary against Arizona State would actually be 4-0 in conference play. I think USC's schedule plays well for them from here without Oregon the docket and a win over Stanford already in their pocket. I think the Trojans are in a good spot to be the best Pac-12 team after the impenetrable Oregon/Stanford layer. The Badgers look like they might have a down year with the rest of the Big Ten, but I think they will still end up being one of the best teams in the conference when all is said and done.

San Francisco Bowl - Washington vs. Minnesota

The Huskies really impressed by snuffing out Cal on the road and right now look like the hottest team in the conference outside of Oregon and Stanford. Like Stanford, the Huskies do one thing really well, play defense and that could give them a huge advantage in a conference where no one else can. The Big Ten is kind of a cluster at this point, but Minnesota is quietly playing pretty well.

Sun Bowl - Arizona vs. Georgia Tech

The Wildcats took a big hit against USC, but still have the solid defense and offensive line along with their great playmakers to win the South. I don't quite know if they will get there, but they will be an excellent candidate for a decent borderline bowl like this one. The ACC is a jumble in the middle, so I expect a middle-of-the-road team like Georgia Tech to end up here.

Las Vegas Bowl - UCLA vs. Colorado State

UCLA looks like an utter mess right now, but I expect them to right the ship to an extent and compete for the South title, but probably not win it. They will be a very attractive candidate for a nearby, lesser bowl like the Vegas Bowl. Colorado State looks like they are going to sneak up on everyone and win the Mountain West.

Cactus Bowl - Arizona State vs. Texas

Pretty good testament to how good the Pac-12 is this year that I think Arizona State will end up in the conference's last automatic slot bowl. Texas has a bad record right now, but will recover as their schedule gets easier and get the Big 12's last automatic spot.

Boca Bowl - Utah vs. Ohio

Utah is good, but you are going to have to be really good this season to get an automatic bowl slow in the Pac-12 this season won't be easy. I think Cal, Oregon State and Utah all get bowl eligible, but at-large spots are going to be hard to come by this year with how strong the middle of most conferences this year and with no ineligible teams out there.