It’s been a blast, but the 2013 Pac-12 unfortunately had to end on Saturday night in Tempe. With Stanford’s win over Arizona State, the conference was decided, but there’s still more to be figured out and dozens of bowl games to send out invites. Fortunately for the Pac-12, the bowl bids appear to be pretty straight forward. Here’s what we can project at the moment:
Rose Bowl: Stanford vs. Michigan State- After the Cardinal and Spartans won their respective conference championship games on Saturday night, the Rose Bowl is now a certainty. It’ll be hard-fought defensive struggle with two of the nation’s best defenses and hot shot defensive coordinators, in Derek Mason and Pat Narduzzi.
Alamo Bowl: Oregon vs. Texas- At the moment, it looks like the Pac-12 is only going to get one team into the BCS, though consider the Ducks to be on the bubble. The problem for Mark Helfrich’s team is that the Fiesta Bowl gets the last pick in the BCS draw, which is expected to be the obligated selection of UCF, who hold the AAC’s automatic bid. That means the Sugar Bowl will have to decide between Oklahoma or Oregon, to play against Alabama. While Oregon-Bama would be a dream matchup for many, bowls care more about selling tickets than savory matchups. Oklahoma is closer and travels extremely well, so the Sooners will likely be headed to Bourbon street, while the Ducks will be sent paddling down the Riverwalk in San Antonio. For their opponent, the Big 12’s third selection goes to the Alamo, and it’s expected that the Cotton Bowl will take the 10-2 Oklahoma State Cowboys, as opposed to the 8-4 Texas Longhorns. Though, should the ‘Horns get the nod in Dallas, the Pokes will slide down to play Oregon.
Holiday Bowl: Arizona State vs. Texas Tech- The Pac-12’s third selection gets a trip to San Diego, and that will be the Arizona State Sun Devils, who currently sit at 10-3 after losing Saturday’s Pac-12 Championship Game. With a 8-1 conference record, the Holiday will be unable to sandbag and select either UCLA or USC due to a one-game pass rule in the standings. So, lock it up for the Sun Devils. From the Big 12, it’ll be Texas Tech or Kansas State. While K-State would be the better game, they’re projected to be picked by the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, allowing Texas Tech to fall to the Holiday and be an underdog.
Sun Bowl: UCLA vs. Virginia Tech- Even UCLA holds a tiebreaker advantage over USC in the official standings, the Sun Bowl technically will get the option to select UCLA or USC, or even pass and flirt with Washington. But nonetheless, ink in the Bruins in El Paso. The Sun Bowl committee likely doesn’t want USC back following last year’s PR debacle, so if Oregon were to get the BCS nod and slide everyone up a peg, look for Washington to jump the Trojans here. But for now, it looks the 9-3 Bruins will get to play against the 4th pick out of the ACC, which will be the Virginia Tech Hokies. Jim Mora’s bunch should roll.
Las Vegas Bowl: USC vs. Fresno State- Fresno State locked up a Vegas trip on Saturday night when they won the Mountain West Championship Game, and all signs point to USC getting the nod opposite of the Bulldogs. Even Utah State head coach Matt Wells acknowledged in a post game press conference on Saturday that he was looking forward to the USC-Fresno matchup. It should be interesting, considering that the Trojans open up the 2014 season by hosting Fresno State at the Coliseum.
Kraft Fight Bowl: Washington vs. BYU- It’s been weeks since the independent BYU Cougars accepted their bid to San Francisco, and they’ll finally find out their opponent: Washington, as long as Oregon stays out of the BCS. It’ll be an interesting matchup, with the Huskies being coached by former Rose Bowl hero Marcus Tuiasosopo, following Steve Sarkisian’s move to USC.
New Mexico Bowl: Arizona vs. Boise State- Next up with a 4-5 conference record is Arizona. The New Mexico Bowl will have the option to take Oregon State or Washington State. in addition to Arizona, but location is key, as the Wildcats are the mostly likely to travel down to Albuquerque. Out of the MWC, they’re projected to face Boise State, though don’t be surprised if UNLV, San Jose State or Colorado State eek out a bid here, allowing the Broncos to play at home in the Famous Potato Bowl.