The Pac-12 Championship Game is in two weeks but this week is the semifinals. Both divisions could be wrapped up on Saturday as the four remaining contenders pair up on the field.
In the middle of the Pac, three teams are jockeying for bowl position, another team is trying to get bowl eligible and one team needs to beat the Arizona Wildcats to keep its postseason hopes alive.
TWit-Pac has mini-previews, a bowl draft, stats and more, but the TV schedule comes first (all times Arizona/Mountain):
|Sat Nov 17||Washington||Colorado||11:30 a.m.||FX|
What did FX do to get stuck with Colorado for the third straight week?
There is minimal suspense with the bowl bubble so we are introducing the bowl mock draft. Here are the Pac-12’s tie-ins:
|Pac Pick||Bowl||Date||Time (Local)|
|–||BCS Championship||Mon. Jan. 7||8 p.m. EST|
|1||Rose||Tue. Jan. 1||2 p.m. PST|
|2||Alamo||Sat. Dec. 29||5:45 p.m. CST|
|3||Holiday||Thu. Dec. 27||6:45 p.m. PST|
|4||Sun||Mon. Dec. 31||12 p.m. MST|
|5||Las Vegas||Sat. Dec. 22||12:30 p.m. PST|
|6||Fight Hunger||Sat. Dec. 29||1 p.m. PST|
|7||New Mexico||Sat. Dec. 15||11 a.m. MST|
Here’s how I see the Pac’s bowl partners selecting teams if the season ended today:
BCS Championship Game – Oregon (10-0)
With Alabama losing, the computers finally like the Ducks enough to get them into the top two.
Rose Bowl – Stanford (8-2)
There’s a lot of talk about Notre Dame getting invited to Pasadena but I believe the Rose Bowl will take the second-place Pac-12 team if one is eligible and Stanford is currently in the top 14 of the BCS standings.
Alamo Bowl – UCLA (8-2)
The San Antonians would be tempted to take USC but UCLA’s record and first-place standing win out today. The Bruins already have two more wins than last year’s Pac-12 South champs.
Holiday Bowl – USC (7-3)
USC’s prestige factor trumps its record. The positive is everyone gets to snicker about the Sports Illustrated cover jinx.
Sun Bowl – Oregon State (7-2)
The folks in El Paso would be very happy to land a two-loss team.
Las Vegas Bowl – ARIZONA (6-4)
The Cheap Seats don’t bother with corporate sponsorships. The UA’s location and head-to-head thrashing make the Wildcats more attractive than Washington.
Fight Hunger – Washington (6-4)
The only eligible Pac-12 team left.
New Mexico – none
Albuquerque will be rooting for ASU this week.
Five teams are clearly above Arizona in the bowl pecking order, four due to record and head-to-head results and one due to name recognition. Even if a second team gets into the BCS it looks like the Cats are going to Vegas, San Fran or Querque (that’s its nickname, right?). The UA has never played in two of those bowls so there could be foreign territory to conquer.
Which squads will improve their bowl standings with wins this week? Onward!
Washington (6-4 / 4-3) at Colorado (1-9 / 1-6)
Wait, the Huskies are in the BCS top 25? The same U-Drubbed team that has been beaten by 30 three times? Score one for strength of schedule (and the computers ignoring margin of defeat).
USC (7-3 / 5-3) at UCLA (8-2 / 5-2)
When the season started USC was No. 1 and UCLA’s coach didn’t even have one college win. Now the winner clinches the Pac-12 South, and if Lane Kiffin isn’t that winner he might not be allowed to try and earn more college wins.
WSU (2-8 / 0-7) at ASU (5-5 / 3-4)
If Mike Leach is going down in flames, is it too much to ask that this be his version of John Mackovic getting carried off the field at Cal?
Stanford (8-2 / 6-1) at Oregon (10-0 / 7-0)
If Stanford wins it will have to also beat UCLA next week to clinch the North but if the Ducks prevail all the P12CG tickets can be sold before Thanksgiving.
ARIZONA (6-4 / 3-4) at Utah (4-6 / 2-5)
Did anyone else find it fitting that the Wildcats beat Colorado by exactly 25?
Cal (3-8 / 2-6) at OSU (7-2 / 5-2)
Oregon State beats Cal and loses to Oregon, Stanford loses to Oregon and UCLA, Oregon goes to the national championship game, OSU cancels its computer-killer game with Nicholls State, the Beavers sneak into the BCS top-14 and go to the Rose Bowl. No problem, right?
* * *
If you listen closely you can probably hear Ka’Deem Carey putting yet another award on his shelf but Arizona’s record-breaking back isn’t the only Cat hitting milestones. Austin Hill caught three passes for 29 yards last week to become the seventh Wildcat to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards in a season.
Most Receiving Yards, Season
This is only the second time in history the UA has produced a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver in the same season. Trung Canidate (1,602) and Dennis Northcutt (1,422) accomplished the feat in 1999.
All that’s left is to get Matt Scott another 152 passing yards to give the Wildcats their first season with a 3,000-1,000-1,000 trio.
* * *
You can’t read anything into Utah losing by 19 at Washington last week just like the Huskies’ blowout loss in Tucson did nothing to prevent UW from beating Oregon State a week later. Arizona, Washington and Utah seem like one of those college football stalemates where A beats B, B beats C, and then C beats A.
To prevent the third portion of that equation from happening the Cats are going to have to throw the ball around. Keeping it on the ground 73% of the time may work against Colorado but Utah is third in the conference in rush defense and total defense. The UA will have to stretch the field from sideline to sideline and test the Ute secondary deep and underneath.
This is Arizona’s last chance at a road win. Utah needs a win to have a shot at a 10th-straight bowl game.
The Utes scored 49 points in each of their last two wins. It might just take Arizona’s fifth 50-point game to pull this off.
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