USC bowl game scenarios: Where will the Trojans go in 2019?

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /

While the USC bowl game destination won’t be locked in until December 8, the Trojans have a clear picture of where they could be going in 2019.

Also. Studs & Duds vs. UCLA

The Trojans finished their regular season with a 7-2 conference record in the Pac-12. That currently stands in third place overall, two games ahead of 4-4 Oregon State and UCLA, neither of whom are bowl eligible yet.

This means USC, Oregon and Utah are guaranteed to be the first three Pac-12 schools assigned to bowl games, in an order decided between now and the December 8th bowl selection show.

It’s clarity that provides rather simple explanations for where and how the Trojans will go bowling. Let’s run through the only three possibilities.

USC goes to the Rose Bowl if…

Because of USC’s 30-23 win over Utah at the Coliseum in September, the Trojans hold a tiebreaker over the No. 6 Utes, should they finish with identical 7-2 records in conference. Kyle Whittingham’s squad —currently 7-1 in Pac-12 play— has one game remaining: a home tilt for their pseudo-rivalry with Colorado. An upset loss puts USC in the Pac-12 Championship Game, where they’d have the opportunity to directly play themselves into the Rose Bowl with a rematch victory over the Oregon Ducks.

USC goes to the Alamo Bowl if…

If both Oregon and Utah are selected for a New Year’s Six Bowl, USC will go to the Alamo by default. The San Antonio bowl wouldn’t be contractually permitted to pick anyone but the Trojans. The most likely Alamo scenario sees 12-1 Utah punching their ticket to the College Football Playoff with a Pac-12 Championship Game win over Oregon, who then head to the Rose Bowl as the conference’s traditional representative. If the Ducks were to prevail in Santa Clara, USC could still head to San Antonio, should the 11-2 Utes be selected as one of the two at-large teams in the NY6’s Cotton Bowl.

USC goes to the Holiday Bowl if…

The Trojans will head to San Diego for the Holiday Bowl if the Pac-12 only has one representative in the New Year’s Six Bowls. Either Utah or Oregon would head to the Alamo Bowl as a NY6 snub, allowing USC to fall in the pecking order. This scenario gets increasingly more likely if Utah loses against Colorado, as they’ll probably get passed over for the Cotton Bowl as a 10-2 non-division champ.