Pac-12 bowl projections: Utah to the Rose Bowl, OSU and WSU climb in



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

Before we get to the breakdown, here's a quick countdown of wins needed to become bowl eligible:

— Bowl berth secure: Oregon, Utah and Arizona State

— Must win one of three games: Oregon State, UCLA and Washington State

— Must win two of three games: USC and Washington

— Must win three of three games: Cal, Colorado and Stanford

— Ineligible: Arizona

Here we go …

Rose Bowl (vs. Big Ten)

Team: Utah (6-3/5-1)

Home games (two): Oregon, Colorado

Road games (one): Arizona

Comment: Our current pick to win the conference title in what will be a rematch of the duel in Salt Lake City on Nov. 20. We suspect the Ducks get that one, and the Utes return the favor in Las Vegas.

Alamo Bowl (vs. Big 12)

Team: Oregon (8-1/5-1)

Home games (two): Washington State, Oregon State

Road games (one): Utah

Comment: From playoff contender one day to conference runner-up the next, the groundwork will be in place for an Alamo letdown.

Las Vegas Bowl (vs. Big Ten)

Team: Washington State (5-4/4-2)

Home games (one): Arizona

Road games (two): Oregon, Washington

Comment: If the Cougars get to six conference wins and end up in Vegas, could Nick Rolovich and Jake Dickert share the Pac-12 Coach of the Year award?

(Kidding!)

Holiday Bowl (vs. ACC)

Team: Arizona State (6-3/4-2)

Home games (one): Arizona

Road games (two): Washington, Oregon State

Comment: We won't discount the possibility of a 9-3 finish for the Sun Devils. Nor will we ignore the potential for a 6-6 finish.

Sun Bowl (vs. ACC)

Team: UCLA (5-4/3-3)

Home games (two): Colorado, Cal

Road games (one): USC

Comment: Given the state of affairs at USC (two quarterbacks) and Cal (no quarterbacks, at least as of this moment), we see at least two wins for the Bruins, who haven't been to El Paso in almost a decade.

LA Bowl (vs. Mountain West)

Team: Oregon State (5-4/3-3)

Home games (two): Stanford, Arizona State

Road games (one): Oregon

Comment: Our view: Jonathan Smith opted to change defensive coordinators in a last-gasp attempt to avert a collapse. Because if OSU loses this week, it's panic time.

ESPN Bowl (Gasparilla, First Responders, Armed Forces)

Team: USC (4-5/3-4)

Home games (two): UCLA, Brigham Young

Road games (one): Cal

Comment: Which is worse for USC fans: Not qualifying for a bowl, or qualifying for the Gasparilla?

Non-qualifier

Team: Arizona (1-8/1-5)

Home games (one): Utah

Road games (two): Washington State, ASU

Comment: The end of the losing streak is a relief, sure. But let's not overlook a larger issue: The Wildcats will miss the postseason for the fourth consecutive year — after being bowl eligible for eight of the previous 10.

Non-qualifier

Team: Cal (3-6/2-4)

Home games (one): USC

Road games (two): Stanford, UCLA

Comment: Given the way the Bears were playing before the COVID issues, we give them a chance to win all three … if they get quarterback Chase Garbers and the linemen back.

Non-qualifier

Team: Colorado (3-6/2-4)

Home games (one): Washington

Road games (two): UCLA, Utah

Comment: One of the three remaining games is highly winnable; one feels like a slight stretch but isn't beyond CU's capability; and one is a wipeout waiting to happen.

Non-qualifier

Team: Stanford (3-6/2-5)

Home games (two): Cal, Notre Dame

Road games (one): Oregon State

Comment: David Shaw has posted one sub-.500 season at Stanford, in 2019, when the Cardinal was 4-8. Not sure he's going to even get to four this year.

Non-qualifier

Team: Washington (4-5/3-3)

Home games (three): ASU, Washington State

Road games (one): Colorado

Comment: Which is the toughest for UW fans to swallow: Losing the Apple Cup, not qualifying for a bowl game, watching Washington State qualify for a bowl game … or anything good happening to Oregon?


Jon Wilner's Pac-12 Hotline is brought to KSL.com through a partnership with the Bay Area News Group.


Jon Wilner has been covering college sports for decades and is an AP Top 25 football and basketball voter as well as a Heisman Trophy voter. He was named Beat Writer of the Year in 2013 by the Football Writers Association of America for his coverage of the Pac-12, won first place for feature writing in 2016 in the Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest and is a five-time APSE honoree. You can follow him on Twitter @WilnerHotline or send an email at jwilner@bayareanewsgroup.com.

Pac-12 Hotline: Subscribe to the Pac-12 Hotline Newsletter. Pac-12 Hotline is not endorsed or sponsored by the Pac-12 Conference, and the views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Conference.

Jon Wilner

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