Pac-12 Bowl Projections Through Week 10: Is USC Headed North?


With their sixth win of the year on Saturday against Washington State, the USC Trojans are bowl eligible for the 12th consecutive year in which they were permitted to be.

Where could they end up going? Perhaps within driving distance, against a somewhat familiar foe.

Here’s how the Pac-12 bowl season could look, based on end of the year projections.

Pac-12 Bowl Projections:

USC vs. Penn State in San Francisco Bowl

Talk about a matchup of low numbers, the Trojans and Nittany Lions would be a royal rumble of sanction storylines. PSU is currently 4-4 and not bowl eligible, but they have winnable games upcoming in Temple, Indiana and Illinois.

Also, the Trojans have the ability to move up should they win their final two games against the UC system. Finishing 7-2 in the conference could slide them up as high as the Alamo Bowl, with the Holiday Bowl being the other likely suitor. A pair of loses to Cal and UCLA could put the Trojans back in Vegas or at worst Tempe. Let’s be serious, there’s no way the Sun Bowl invites the Trojans.

More Pac-12  bowl notes:

  • Arizona State going to a New Year’s Six bowl is dependent on a few things, like a win over Notre Dame or perhaps winning the Pac-12 title. If the Fiesta Bowl has it’s chance, look for them to snag the Sun Devils, as they’ve had trouble selling tickets in the past.
  • While the Alamo Bowl gets to select a Pac-12 team before the Holiday Bowl, we’re projecting UCLA to San Antonio over Utah for two reasons. First, the Bruins traveled moderately well to Texas earlier this season to take on the Longhorns, and would be a high-profile opponent for what could be Oklahoma. Secondly, the Holiday Bowl hosted UCLA two years ago and Larry Scott has made it clear that he would like the Pac-12 bowl affiliations to allow for some rotation. Utah going to the Holiday Bowl would be a win-win for everyone, as it’s more of a boost to San Diego tourism than UCLA would be, given the driving distance.
  • The Las Vegas Bowl could come down to whoever has a better record between Stanford or Washington. Plus, whether or not UNLV would be up for hosting Washington twice in three years, against what could be the same opponent: Boise State. The Huskies probably have to beat either UCLA or Arizona to finish ahead of Stanford, and hope the Bruins beat the Cardinal.
  • The Cal Bears are currently 5-4 overall and need one more win to become bowl eligible. Though a difficult schedule against USC, Stanford and BYU remains, it’s not out of the question that they get a win there. Should they become eligible and the Pac-12 max out on bowls, the Big 12’s bowl allotment might need a fill in.
  • Both Oklahoma State and Texas are in serious jeopardy of not being bowl eligible and there’s the possibility of a Big 12 team like TCU or Kansas State being selected for the playoff. In such a scenario, both the Cactus Bowl and the Liberty Bowl could be in limbo. Cal would be an option if eligible, but there’s two concerns: (1) the Cactus Bowl has a Pac-12 tie-in and isn’t going to host two teams from the same conference, (2) Memphis would be an overwhelming at-large favorite for the Liberty Bowl if they were available.

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