Boom goes the bowl projections.
There are two schools of thought regarding bowl projections this week: (1) the optimist’s outlook, which believes the resume of an undefeated Oregon stands on its own and the computers will work themselves out if/when the Ducks are 13-0 and reward them with a berth in the national championship game. Or (2) the pessimist’s outlook, which curses USC and Oregon State for losing on Saturday (to good teams, but unranked teams nevertheless) -- and therefore minimizing Oregon’s already shaky computer-generated credentials.
We at the Pac-12 blog prefer the optimist’s approach. And we certainly never, ever curse.
So for now, we’re going to stick with the projection of Oregon in the national championship game with a perfect record and a two-loss Oregon State team in the Rose Bowl. Wishful thinking? Maybe. But that’s the best scenario in which two Pac-12 teams go to BCS games.
Remember, should Oregon go to the title game, the No. 2 team in the Pac-12 would have to be ranked in the top 14 to qualify for a BCS game. So what does that mean for teams such as USC and Oregon State or even a UCLA or Stanford? Simple: win. All of them have back-loaded games against ranked teams (actually, each other) that could propel them into the top 14.
Saturday’s UCLA-Arizona game is a lot more intriguing this week than it was last week -- especially since both have now returned to the Top 25.
The conference now has five bowl-eligible teams with Stanford and UCLA picking up their sixth wins, joining Oregon, Oregon State and USC as postseason qualifiers. The Arizona schools are on the precipice with five wins. Washington got back to .500 and needs two out of its next four (all against unranked teams, but three of four are on the road). And is Utah going to make another run? Cal and Washington State aren’t statistically eliminated yet, but come on. Buh-bye. Colorado is the only team we can officially rule out.
BCS National Championship Game, Jan. 7: Oregon vs. BCS 1 or 2
Rose Bowl Game, Jan. 1: Oregon State vs. Big Ten
Valero Alamo, Dec. 29: Stanford vs. Big 12
Bridgepoint Education Holiday, Dec. 27: Arizona vs. Big 12
Hyundai Sun, Dec. 31: USC vs. ACC
MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, Dec. 22: UCLA vs. MWC
Kraft Fight Hunger, Dec. 29: Washington vs. Navy
Gildan New Mexico, Dec. 15: Arizona State vs. MWC