We have our first Pac-12 bowl team! Congrats, Washington, which became bowl eligible with its 70-21 annihilation of Oregon. The 6-0 start for the Huskies -- and the way they’ve dominated Stanford and Oregon in consecutive weeks -- clearly indicates a changing of the guard in both the Pac-12 North and the conference overall.
A couple other teams pulled within one game of bowl eligibility, as Arizona State and Utah each picked up win No. 5. Colorado is the only four-win team in the league right now, with five others sitting on three wins. So we definitely have a way to go before these projections can be anything but hypotheticals and educated guesses.
As for the Rose Bowl, we’re going to stay positive in thinking that the league’s runner-up will still get an invite to Pasadena. As a contracted bowl game, if it loses a Pac-12 team to the College Football Playoff, the hope is the Rose Bowl would stay within the conference (anything more than three losses for the Pac-12 runner-up, however, and it becomes dicey).
Best we can tell, the Pac-12 South is still wide open with three teams at the top (Arizona State, Utah and Colorado) with 2-1 league records. USC is half a game behind at 2-2. While the Huskies are in control of the North, the Cougars (3-2 overall, 2-0 Pac-12) have made a move, which could make things interesting come Apple Cup time.
Arizona and Oregon are very much in danger of missing the postseason, with both teams sitting at 2-4 overall. At a minimum, they’ll need to flip those records over the final six games just to be eligible. Given their schedules the rest of the way, it doesn’t look promising.
We’re going with nine Pac-12 bowl teams in this week's projections:
College Football Playoff semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Washington
Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual: Utah
Valero Alamo Bowl: Arizona State
Holiday Bowl: Colorado
Foster Farms Bowl: Washington State
Hyundai Sun Bowl: USC
Las Vegas Bowl: Stanford
Cactus Bowl: UCLA