If you want to know how crazy the PAC-12 is right now as far as bowl projections are concerned, just look to some of the major media outlets and see who they are forecasting. Here’s a sampling:
Stewart Mandel @ CNNSI: Washington
Jerry Palm @ CBS Sports: Stanford
Mark Schlabach @ ESPN: Washington
Brad Edwards @ ESPN: Washington
College Football News: Oregon State
Stanford and Oregon State were the eye-poppers this week. Both teams have two losses. Stanford is currently 13th in the BCS while Oregon State is 16th. I don’t see these two teams slipping to the 6th-pick bowl game unless they lose out. Then again, Stanford has to go on the road to #2 Oregon and #17 UCLA to finish the season. Could a 4-loss Cardinal slide to the Kraft Bowl? Oregon State still has a home game against Cal and a trip to Oregon (and the make-up game with Nicholls State). If they somehow lose to Cal this weekend, they will (probably) end the season losing 4 of their final 5 conference games. Again, is that enough to make them unattractive enough to fall to the 6th bowl? Only time will tell.
In the interim, let’s look at the four teams we identified last week as the most probable opponents.
Washington (6-4, 4-3)
Sagarin #34 (up from #46)
Last Week: Won 34-15 vs. Utah
Nov 17: @ Colorado
Nov 23: @ Washington State
Washington became bowl eligible at home with a win over the Utes. With the remaining schedule pointing to an 8-win season, they may be playing themselves up from the 6th bowl if the aforementioned Stanford and Oregon State losses come to pass. But given that the PAC-12 won’t be fielding a 2nd BCS team, Washington remains a popular pick for the Kraft Bowl this week.
Arizona (6-4, 3-4)
Sagarin #28 (no change)
Last Week: Won 56-31 vs. Colorado
Nov 17: @ Utah
Nov 23: vs. Arizona State
Arizona was the other possible opponent to lock up bowl eligibility this weekend, sending the Buffs to their 6th-consecutive loss. Of note from this game: Arizona RB Ka’Deem Carey rushed for 366 yards and 5 TDs. That set a new PAC-12 record and was accomplished on just 25 carries.
Arizona State (5-5, 3-4)
Sagarin #21 (down from #18)
Last Week: Lost 38-17 at USC
Nov 17: vs. Washington State
Nov 23: @ Arizona
The loss to USC was expected. Arizona State was tied at the half and took a lead with a field goal on their opening possession of the 2nd half. USC locked down the offense after that, yielding just 51 yards to ASU the rest of the way.
Utah (4-6, 2-5)
Sagarin #38 (down from #31)
Last Week: Lost 34-15 at Washington
Nov 17: vs. Arizona
Nov 23: @ Colorado
Utah’s margin of error is gone – they have to win out to make a bowl. Utah certainly didn’t play like a bowl team. They gained just 188 yards to go with a paltry 9 first downs. Oh, and they became the first D-1A team to give up more than 21 points to the Huskies.
I’m going to stick with my Arizona State call. though I’m starting to want Washington more.