Bowl Craziness & Pac-10 Predictions

Greetings, Beaver Nation! <br><br> After a ton of research, not to mention a bunch of unexpected outcomes over the last few days, I thought I would throw in my thoughts about our bowl situation, the Pac-10 in general and what we need to happen to put us in the best possible bowl.

First things first…Aside from the Pac-10 affiliated bowl games, there are a few others that will/should have at-large spots available. They are:

  1. The Motor City Bowl, Dec. 26th in Detroit – there is a spot available since the bowl is contracted to take the #7 team from the Big 10. With Ohio State heading to the Fiesta Bowl, they only have 6 remaining eligible teams.

  2. The Independence Bowl, Dec. 27th in Shreveport – there is a spot available since the bowl is contracted to take the #7 team from the SEC. With Georgia (presumably) heading to the Sugar Bowl (another BCS game), that leaves 6 eligible teams from the SEC. If Georgia loses the SEC title game, they meet their obligations and this bowl gets filled.

  3. The New Orleans Bowl, Dec. 17th OR The Hawaii Bowl, Dec. 25th – Conference USA is contracted to send their 4th and 5th place teams to these games. Currently, they only have 4 that are bowl eligible. Cincy beat UAB on Saturday, which eliminated UAB from bowl contention, but Cincy still needs to beat East Carolina next Saturday to earn the 5th spot. If not, Tulane will most likely head to New Orleans, simply due to geography, and Hawaii will be looking for a replacement.

  4. The Seattle Bowl, Dec. 30th – This bowl is contracted to take the #4 Mountain West team, but only 3 are bowl eligible. Therefore, they signed a 1-year deal with the Pac-10 to take #7 if they are available.

Realistically speaking, there are some 8 bowl eligible teams out there that can (and should) fill the at-large spots in the Motor City, Independence and New Orleans Bowls. In other words, nobody in the Pac-10 will get a sniff from any of them. That leaves The Hawaii and Seattle Bowls left for Pac-10 teams, if necessary.

With that laid out, here are the Pac-10 affiliated bowl games…just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of weeks:

The Rose Bowl, Jan. 1 ’03 – Champion
The Holiday Bowl, Dec. 27th in San Diego – #2
The Sun Bowl, Dec. 31st in El Paso – #3
The Insight Bowl, Dec. 26th in Phoenix – #4
The Las Vegas Bowl, Dec. 25th – #5
The Silicon Valley Classic, Dec. 31st in San Jose – #6

Now, let’s look at how the Pac-10 could finish up after WSU and UCLA play next Saturday:

Option #1
#1 – WSU @ 7-1 (if they beat UCLA)
#2 – USC @ 7-1 (because they lost to WSU)
#3 – ASU @ 5-3
#4 – OSU, UCLA, UW & Cal @ 4-4
#8 – ucks @ 3-5
#9 – UA & Stanford @ 1-7

Option #2
#1 – USC @ 7-1
#2 – WSU @ 6-2 (if they lose to UCLA)
#3 – ASU & UCLA @ 5-3
#5 – OSU, UW & Cal @ 4-4
#8 – ucks @ 3-5
#9 – UA & Stanford @ 1-7

Before we continue, isn’t it FANTASTIC that no matter what happens between WSU and UCLA, the ucks finish 8th!!!

Soooooooooo, what does all this mean? What do we want to have happen? Well…

We need Option #1 for us to have the best chance to get out of Las Vegas or San Jose. Here’s why…

  • WSU beats UCLA, wins the Pac-10 and locks up the Rose Bowl
  • USC, after trashing Neutered Dane, gets a much-deserved at-large BCS bid and heads to the Orange Bowl.
  • The Holiday Bowl, due to a BCS clause in their contract, will get to choose from ANY OF THE REMAINING PAC-10 TEAMS, regardless of their position (since the #2 team will get taken by the BCS).

This is our best shot at the Holiday Bowl, even though ASU has one more Pac-10 win than we do and they beat us. Here’s why I think The Holiday Bowl takes us over the Sun Devils, Bruins and Huskies:

  • Even though we lost to each one of them (bummer), we would still have a better overall record (8-4) than the Huskies and Bruins (7-5 each) and one less loss than ASU (8-5). The Holiday Bowl wants at least an 8-win team on the marquee, especially with a 9 or 10 win team from the Big 12 showing up (probably Texas or Kansas State).
    v We have gotten stronger at the end of the year and are playing the best overall football, with the Huskies coming in a close second. The Holiday Bowl will pick the team that has the best chance of making it a great game. Potential blowouts don’t draw the fans and their money.
  • Beaver Nation travels. After 40,000 went to Tempe, they HAVE to know we’ll help fill up Qualcomm Park (or whatever they call it). Hell, we brought 4,000 to Stanford for goodness sake! The bottom line for ANY bowl is about making money. They won’t choose the Bruins. UCLA is just a short road trip away, so little (if any) hotel, restaurant and Sea World biz for San Diego if they do. So sorry, FUCLA. Furthermore, ASU fans don’t travel that well, at least not to a “second tier” game. The “x” factor in this is UW, since The Holiday Bowl folks may like their “name” more than ours and they travel and spend money very well.
  • We have the Pac-10 conference rushing champion and future Heisman candidate in Mr. Jackson. The Holiday Bowl folks will definitely want a marquee OFFENSIVE player to tout, especially if Texas comes to town with Chris Simms. ASU has Suggs…on DEFENSE. The Huskies have Cody Pickett, but he’s not as strong a TV draw as Jackson.

The next to pick will be the Sun Bowl. If ASU gets passed over for the Holiday Bowl, they’ll scarf them up but quick. The proximity to Tempe is just too tasty, regardless of how well we travel. Besides, who wants to spend New Years Eve in El Paso? Yuck!!!

After the Sun comes the Insight Bowl in Phoenix…after what we did for Tempe and the Fiesta, can you see them taking a chance on anybody else but us??? In other words, if we don’t get the Holiday nod, this is where we go.

With that said, here is my BEST CASE (wish) scenario for how the bowls play out for the Pac-10, assuming UCLA cooperates by losing to WSU:

Cougs – Rose Bowl
Trojans – Orange Bowl
Beavs – Holiday Bowl
Sun Devils – Sun Bowl
Bruins – Insight Bowl
Huskies – Las Vegas Bowl
Ucks – Silicon Valley Classic

If The Holiday Bowl screws up and selects ASU anyway, here’s how I think it ends up:

Cougs – Rose Bowl
Trojans – Orange Bowl
Sun Devils – Holiday Bowl
Beavs – Sun Bowl*
Bruins – Insight Bowl
Huskies – Las Vegas Bowl
Ucks – Silicon Valley Classic

*We could easily be swapping places with the Bruins here, but we still won’t drop any further than Phoenix.

However, if UCLA doesn’t cooperate and beats WSU, here’s how it WILL play out:

Trojans – Rose Bowl
Cougs – Holiday Bowl (clear second place with NO chance for BCS at-large)
Sun Devils – Sun Bowl (tied for third, but will get picked due to geography)
Bruins – Insight Bowl
Huskies – Las Vegas Bowl (they’ll like the Husky “name” more than ours)
Beavs – Silicon Valley Classic
Ucks – Seattle Bowl

That’s it. We’ll know as early as Saturday after the WSU-UCLA game (if the Cougs “coug it”) or no later than Tuesday, December 10th. The BCS announces its selections on Sunday, December 8th. If WSU beats UCLA, then we’ll have to wait to see if USC gets a BCS at-large to the Orange.

By the way, I like WSU by a field goal in the Pac-10 finale. Gesser is off the crutches with a full week left to keep healing. Look for him to take the needle, load up with painkillers and tough it out. The Cougs MUST have him on the field if they want to win this game. He’ll be there.

GO COUGS!!!

It’s a great day to be a Beaver!


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