Another week, another shakeup. And the Pac-12 now has nine bowl-eligible teams -- welcome Washington State.
We continue to believe all nine will get bowl berths, even with two more teams than the Pac-12 has bowl contracts.
Some of you have noticed inconsistency with these Sunday evening projections and then Kevin's and my predictions on Thursday. It's pretty simple. Our thinking of the impending week's matchups often changes by Thursday when we do predictions. We also might find out that, say, Utah has lost its starting QB for the season, so we both pick the Cougars to beat the Utes, even though we didn't project the Cougs to earn bowl eligibility the previous Sunday.
So obviously, predictions are part of this. And those might change during the week. We certainly feel more informed on Thursday than today.
We have Stanford beating Arizona State in the Pac-12 championship game, though we are given a long pause by the fact that Arizona State will host the Pac-12 title game if it beats Arizona on Saturday.
We then have the Valero Alamo Bowl going with the Oregon brand over the Sun Devils.
Next, we project a UCLA win over USC, but I'm not sure that will change the bowl pecking order. The Hyundai Sun Bowl probably doesn't want a repeat visit from USC, though the Ed Orgeron story -- with a victory over the Bruins -- might be hard to resist.
That's also our thinking for Washington State going to the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. Arizona went there last season, and the Cougars beat the Wildcats. And the Cougs will be enthusiastic about getting invited, much more so than other Pac-12 possibilities.
As for the Wildcats and Oregon State, they both obviously could increase their stock by winning rivalry games this weekend. The Wildcats seem almost certain to get, at least, an at-large berth because RB Ka'Deem Carey is certain to be a two-time first-team All-American.
Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio (Jan. 1, 2014): Stanford vs. Big Ten
Valero Alamo Bowl (Dec. 30): Oregon vs. Big 12
National University Holiday Bowl (Dec. 30): Arizona State vs. Big 12
Hyundai Sun Bowl (Dec. 31): UCLA vs. ACC
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl (Dec. 21): USC vs. MWC
Fight Hunger Bowl (Dec. 27): Washington vs. BYU
Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Dec. 21): Washington State vs. MWC
Heart of Dallas Bowl (Jan. 1, 2014): Arizona vs. Conference USA
Little Caesars (Dec. 26): Oregon State vs. American