Looking at an outsider's early Pac-12 bowl projections

Is it too early for bowl projections on July 8? Our friends at Athlon Sports don't think so. They've mapped out a forecast of December and January in college football, and nine Pac-12 teams are in on the fun. The link above leads to the full page. Here is the dedicated Pac-12 preview, including a USC-Oregon title game prediction. We'll put all of the league's bowl game projections in one spot below.

Be warned: Athlon's projections do not include a Pac-12 team in the College Football Playoff (Ohio State, Auburn, Alabama, and Baylor are the teams they chose). We certainly don't agree on that front, but their overview is a launching point for some fun offseason discussion nonetheless:

Rose: USC vs. Michigan State

Fiesta: Oregon vs. Boise State

Alamo: Arizona State vs. Oklahoma

Holiday: Stanford vs. Penn State

Sun: Arizona vs. Georgia Tech

Foster Farms: UCLA vs. Minnesota

Las Vegas: Cal vs. Utah State

Cactus: Utah vs. Kansas State

Poinsettia: Washington vs. Colorado State

Our thoughts: It's usually interesting to get a gauge on the outsider's take of the Pac-12, and Athlon's set of projections views the conference as one rife with parity. Nine bowl eligible teams without a single one in the playoff would signify one phenomenon: Pac-12 self-cannibalization. Oregon was the league's unquestioned dominant force last season, but if the Ducks lose that designation and no team replaces them in 2015, it is theoretically possible that the league pummels its own way out of the playoff.

The projections above also exclude Washington State, Oregon State, and Colorado from bowl season. They do include Washington, a team that's lost more on both sides of the ball than anyone else in the conference. It's obviously too early to know how matters will shake out, but we wouldn't be surprised if the Cougars -- armed with considerable returning offensive talent and a new defensive coordinator -- return to bowl territory after last year's hiatus.