At the moment, all signs point to USC playing in the Las Vegas Bowl against the 11-1 Fresno State Bulldogs. But with the Oregon Ducks sitting on the BCS bubble along with the Oklahoma Sooners, a Sugar Bowl selection of the Ducks could cause a chain reaction among the Pac-12’s bowl bids.
Should Oregon go to the BCS, all of the Pac-12 teams would slide up one spot. On the surface, that would mean that USC would go from a Las Vegas Bowl projection, to a Sun Bowl bid.
But of course, bowl selection is very much subject to the discretion of the bowls themselves, and not solely based on standings.
Following USC’s flurry of mishaps last year that included being late for the bowl’s reception dinner and multiple disrespectful tweets about the fine city of El Paso, it doesn’t look like the Sun Bowl wants the Trojans back anytime soon.
With that in mind, should Oregon go to the BCS, the most likely scenario is that the Sun Bowl would pass on USC and take Washington instead.
The Huskies finished one game behind the Trojans in the standings, making it a permissible move for the Sun. If that happened, USC would remain on course for a battle with Fresno State in Vegas.
The only other different scenario would be if the Holiday Bowl were to select USC over UCLA. Both teams had identical records at 6-3 in conference, and the Bruins just played at the Holiday Bowl last year, while the Trojans have never headed south for a bowl.
Could the Holiday decide that having USC for the first time would be more valuable than a repeat of UCLA? Perhaps, but don’t bet the house on it.
And again, that scenario would only be possible if Oregon would go to the BCS, as Arizona State would then take Oregon’s projected spot in the Alamo to face Texas.
So, yes, the Trojans could play in the Sun Bowl. But for a bowl badly needing some good publicity, the Sun Bowl doesn’t look likely to invite USC.