These bowl projections don't match up with how I penciled out the rest of the regular season. My perhaps pessimistic projections see more 5-7 than 6-6, which likely means open bowl slots.
So I'm leaning on the conference's unpredictability to provide a boost to teams that could go either way toward bowl eligibility. Stanford, Arizona, USC and, heck, maybe even Oregon, are going to lose to someone in a "We didn't see that coming" game. That probably is where an elusive sixth win will appear.
Two games among the muddled middle seem critical to me, with unpredictable Cal being the linchpin: First, the Bears visit Oregon State on Saturday. The guess here is the winner is a sure-thing bowl team.
Second, Washington visits Cal on Nov. 27. It's hard to win in Berkeley, but the Huskies might need that one to get to six wins.
And by the way, Stanford and Arizona fans: You are now also TCU and Boise State fans. If a non-AQ team were to play Oregon for the national championship, then the Rose Bowl could stick to its traditional Pac-10-Big Ten matchup. If the No. 2 Pac-10 team is BCS-bowl eligible, then it likely goes to the Rose Bowl in that scenario.
So here we go.
Tostitos BCS National Championship Game: Oregon vs. BCS team
Rose Bowl Game: No Pac-10 team
Valero Alamo: Stanford vs. Big 12
Bridgepoint Education Holiday: Arizona vs. Big 12
Hyundai Sun: California vs. ACC
MAACO Las Vegas: Washington vs. Mountain West
Kraft Fight Hunger: Oregon State vs. WAC