UCLA's Bowl Projections

We take a look at what UCLA needs to do to ensure a bowl this season and where they project to go and who they project to play...

With UCLA's win on Saturday against Colorado, the Bruins became bowl eligible for the 10th time in the past 12 seasons, winning their sixth game of the 2011 campaign.

Now 6-5, UCLA is poised to make a bowl for just the second time in four years under Rick Neuheisel.

However, they're not entirely in the clear for a bowl game. A loss against USC in the Crosstown Rivalry game on Saturday, plus a Utah loss against Colorado, and UCLA would make the Pac-12 title game with a 6-6 record. A loss there would make the Bruins 6-7, and reportedly ineligible for postseason play. Though it's likely UCLA would appeal and petition to get into a bowl, a 6-7 record is no guarantee.

There are two simple ways for UCLA to ensure they don't have to worry about appeals and petitions for a bowl game: 1) Beat USC on Saturday or 2) Utah defeats Colorado.

A win over the Trojans makes UCLA 7-5, and even if they lost in the conference championship, would be 7-6, and eligible for a bowl. Obviously, a win over USC and a win in the Pac-12 title game would give UCLA a spot in the Rose Bowl.

But if they lose, there is still a chance for them.

A Utah win over Colorado ensures that if UCLA loses on Saturday to USC, the Bruins wouldn't be able to make the Pac-12 title game. A Utah win, with a Bruin and Arizona State loss puts the Utes in the conference championship. A Utah win with a Bruin loss and Arizona State win puts the Sun Devils in the title game by virtue of the tiebreaker. A Utah loss means that no matter what Arizona State does in their game, UCLA would earn the South's bid, and risk that at 6-6, a loss in the conference championship game puts them on the wrong side of .500.

Confusing yet?

Obviously, UCLA wants to get into a bowl in the front door, and that would be by taking matters into their own hands and winning on Saturday night. And a win by Utah, who plays Colorado at 12:30, ensures that no matter what.

It's now the time of year that bowl projections are coming out in the media, and here is where UCLA is being projected to go.

College Football News/FoxSports.com:
Holiday Bowl vs. Missouri

Sports Illustrated:
Sun Bowl vs. Clemson

CBS Sportsline:
Maaco Bowl vs. TCU

SB Nation:
Kraft Fight Hunger vs. Iowa State

ESPN:
Sun Bowl vs. Virginia
OR
Maaco Bowl vs. TCU

NBC Sports:
Maaco Bowl vs. TCU

So three projections to the Maaco Las Vegas Bowl (which UCLA has played three times in since 2002, including in 2007, after Karl Dorrell was fired), two projections to the Sun Bowl (which UCLA last played in 2005), one to the Holiday Bowl, which UCLA has never played in and one to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (formerly the Emerald Bowl), which UCLA played in 2006.


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