Pac-10 bowl season overview

January, 11, 2010
1/11/10
10:50
AM ET
Only one coach at 2010 Pac-10 media day will be able to say he led a bowl winner the previous season.

Unless, of course, UCLA's Rick Neuheisel joins now-former USC coach Pete Carroll and opts to bolt for another job. Then there will be none.

Ah, there are many ways to slice and dice a 2-5 bowl season. None is very tasty.

Things started badly: Oregon State got thumped 44-20 by BYU in a frigid, windy MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. Then California meandered through a 37-27 defeat to Utah in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.

Hey, 0-2 vs. the Mountain West.

Things appeared to reverse course with victories by the LA schools, with both USC and UCLA winning with dominant second halves. The Trojans bested Boston College 24-13 in the Emerald Bowl, while UCLA held Temple to 41 yards after halftime of a 30-21 win in the EagleBank Bowl.

But that was the end of the, er, glory.

Arizona got throttled 33-0 by Nebraska in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl, an inexplicably bad performance. Stanford, playing without starting quarterback Andrew Luck, who injured a finger during the regular-season finale vs. Notre Dame, fell to Oklahoma 31-27 in the Brut Sun Bowl.

And, finally, Oregon went down 26-17 to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Citi, with Buckeyes quarterback Terrelle Pryor turning in the game of his life while the Ducks' offense sputtered.

It was a very bad end to what had been a good regular season.

The Pac-10, discussed much of the year as perhaps the nation's best, or at least, deepest conference, led all conferences with five teams ranked in the final BCS standings. But only two -- No. 11 Oregon and No. 22 USC -- ended up ranked in the final polls.

The bowl season also left a large crack in what had been a 21-9 record vs. the nation's toughest nonconference schedule.

Still, this was only the second time the conference had seven bowl teams (2002 was the other). The Pac-10 never previously had boasted six teams with eight or more wins, and seven teams finished with winning records.

And the conference, with eight returning starting quarterbacks, looks to be even deeper in 2010.

So perhaps these postseason woes will prelude a breakthrough next year: Two BCS bowl teams.

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