Sunday, November 11, 2012
Pac-12 bowl projections: Week 12
By Kevin Gemmell
The following is a reenactment of a Saturday conversation that recently took place between the ESPN.com Pac-12 bloggers.
Fade in, interior, a rental car on a Bay Area freeway around sunset. One blogger has his cell phone on speaker while darting in and out of traffic, scrambling to get from Palo Alto to Berkeley. The other is sitting under an oversized umbrella at a posh Phoenix resort, sipping on a martini while resort employees fan him with palm fronds.
And ... ACTION!
Blogger #1: "What the frack am I supposed to do with the bowl projections this week?," he screams, his venti coffee sloshing about from the start-and-stop traffic.
Blogger #2: "Dunno. (Pauses for long, dramatic sip of martini). Glad I don't have to do them. Have a nice drive. By the way, nice call on Oregon State." Click.
There may have been a little creative license, but you get the picture. The bowl projections are still up in the air as we head into Week 12. The biggest question mark is the Rose Bowl. Where does Oregon end up in the BCS standings? If they are No. 1, the Rose Bowl would get the first replacement pick. And if an undefeated Notre Dame is available, it would be tough to overlook the Irish in lieu of a three-loss Pac-12 team.
We're keeping Oregon in the title game -- which means Oregon runs the table and Stanford and UCLA has at least three losses. So the season finale of Stanford at UCLA could very well determine if a Pac-12 team even plays in the Grand Daddy. We're optimists, so we are going to assume that USC beats Notre Dame -- keeping the Rose Bowl a traditional Pac-B1G affair.
Whether it's Stanford or UCLA remains a coin flip at this point. If the Bruins win out (but lose to Oregon in the conference championship game), they'll be 10-3. If Stanford beats the Bruins, they'll have signature wins over the Beavers (a team that UCLA lost to) and USC and finish at 9-3. It is a painfully even scenario at this point. For now, we'll give the slightest of edges to Stanford in the common-opponents category since they have wins over both of the teams UCLA lost to.
As for the rest of the conference, Arizona and Washington punched their tickets with wins. Arizona State is still sitting on five wins and has lost four in a row. Logic would dictate they'll pick up the sixth win against Washington State this week -- a team that's winless in the conference -- but the Cougars showed some second-half explosiveness against the Bruins.
Utah isn't out of it yet, but they have to win their remaining two games -- home this week to Arizona and then at Colorado.
BCS National Championship Game, Jan. 7: Oregon vs. BCS 1 or 2
Rose Bowl Game, Jan. 1: Stanford vs. Big Ten
Valero Alamo, Dec. 29: UCLA vs. Big 12
Bridgepoint Education Holiday, Dec. 27: Oregon State vs. Big 12
Hyundai Sun, Dec. 31: USC vs. ACC
MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, Dec. 22: Arizona vs. MWC
Kraft Fight Hunger, Dec. 29: Washington vs. Navy
Gildan New Mexico, Dec. 15: Arizona State vs. MWC