It’s the Arizona Wildcats against the ASU Sun Devils and a weekend full of Pac-12 intrastate rivalries.
Well, it would be a weekend full of the bitterest rivalries in the conference if not for the annoyance of USC and Notre Dame.
TWit-Pac bittersweetly brings you the final regular season TV schedule (all times Arizona/Mountain):
|Fri Nov 23||Utah||Colorado||1 p.m.||FX|
|Sat Nov 24||Oregon||OSU||1 p.m.||P12N|
|Notre Dame||USC||6 p.m.||ABC|
FX got stuck with Colorado again? That’s four consecutive weeks. FX needs to revisit its draft strategy.
To make it worse, every Pac-12 game this weekend involves a team in the BCS top 25 except the game between the new guys. Maybe Larry Scott should’ve grabbed Maryland and Rutgers when he had the chance
Next we take another stab at a Pac-12 bowl mock draft. Remember, this is not a projection of how things will look at the end of the season. This is how I think the bowls would select teams if the season ended today. Teams still have one (or two) chances to win their way up the ladder.
BCS Championship Game – none
Why, Oregon, why? If you see any Duck fans remind them that Arizona scored 34 more points and produced 212 more yards against Stanford than Oregon did. If they counter with something about head-to-head results or conference championships you say, “Well, Arizona has just as many national championships as Oregon, so there.” (You’re kind of childish when you argue.)
Rose Bowl – Stanford (9-2)
As of today the Pac-12 Championship Game would be UCLA at Stanford and I’m going with the home team.
Other BCS Bowl – Oregon (10-1)
Since only two teams from the same conference can play in BCS bowls it means three of those SEC teams in the top 10 are out of luck. It also means Oregon, the highest ranked non-SEC team outside the top two, would most likely get an at-large bid.
Alamo Bowl – UCLA (9-2)
Hollywood glitz beats out the Beaver Believers.
Holiday Bowl – Oregon State (8-2)
OSU would be playing in a San Diego bowl for the first time.
Sun Bowl – USC (7-4)
I wanted to put Arizona here but I think the Sun Bowl people would take the name brand Trojans and hope Matt Barkley heals over the next month.
Las Vegas Bowl – ARIZONA (7-4)
Putting the team from Arizona across the Hoover Dam and…
Fight Hunger – Washington (7-4)
…the team from Seattle in the northernmost Pac-12 bowl just makes sense.
New Mexico – Arizona State (6-5)
Every eligible Pac team finds a home and all the bowl partners get teams. Win and win!
To the last full weekend of games:
Washington (7-4 / 5-3) at WSU (2-9 / 0-8)
Cougar fans can rally around the fact that their 1-10 team in 2008 won the Apple Cup. Of course, Washington finished 0-12 that year. And it’s not a good sign if you’re looking to a one-win team for inspiration. But if Wazzu pulls the upset Arizona has a chance to be the only 8-4 team in the Pac-12 which would be good for bowl positioning.
ASU (6-5 / 4-4) at ARIZONA (7-4 / 4-4)
The five FBS teams Arizona State has beaten have a combined eight wins over FBS teams. And three of those eight wins were against Washington State. Add in Utah beating Cal and half of the FBS wins from ASU’s bad opponents were against ASU’s other bad opponents.
Oregon (10-1 / 7-1) at OSU (8-2 / 6-2)
The Ducks need a win and a Stanford loss to get into the Pac-12 Championship Game. Oregon State, at No. 15 in the BCS standings, still has an outside chance at a BCS bowl.
Stanford (9-2 / 7-1) at UCLA (9-2 / 6-2)
If Oregon loses to clinch a Cardinal/Bruin rematch next week, expect this game to turn into a scrimmage with neither team wanting to show much or get anyone hurt. Thanks for nothing, Notre Dame game.
Notre Dame (11-0) at USC (7-4 / 5-4)
Blah blah national championship implications blah blah. I get that USC has been playing end-of-season games against Notre Dame since the 1920s but there’s a conference championship game now. We don’t need North teams playing South teams on the final weekend. Who wants a game where it’s probably in the Bruins’ best interest to lose on purpose so they don’t have to play Oregon? Move these Notre Dame games to the beginning of the year where non-conference games belong.
You know how far Stanford’s tradition of playing Notre Dame at the end of the season every other year goes back? 1999. And if bowing to the Irish ends up causing the Territorial Cup to be played in October at some point there will be some desert-hot anger.
(Removes keyboard from soapbox.)
Cal (3-9 / 2-7) – season complete
Cal coach Jeff Tedford has already been fired and, unless more skeletons fall out of Mike Leach’s locker, Tedford will be the only Pac-12 coaching casualty this year. Let me be the first to tell Sonny Dykes that Berkeley is full of earthquakes, protestors and lots of other terrifying things so he should take his talents to another conference.
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Red helmets! This does not annoy me. With this brand new look Arizona will have gone the entire regular season without wearing the exact same uniform combination twice. Quite the departure from decades of wearing white-on-blue-on-white.
ASU hasn’t beaten a team whose coach is not in hot water since Utah in September and, as we discussed above, the Sun Devils don’t have a quality win all year.
That does not change my anxiety that this is going to be a close game to the end. Wildcat fans can hope this year’s Territorial Cup is like 2008 where the home team dominated, but the ones you fear are 2005 (UA’s best two offensive players injured), 2006 (UA starts flat against inferior opponent) and 2010 (sheer lunacy).
All year the prediction has been that Arizona needs to score a bunch of points to win and that’s not going to change this week. It’s great that Matt Scott was able to play last week and shake off some rust because the 44% completion rate and measly 160 passing yards he turned in probably won’t cut it in the rivalry game.
Then again, Scott + Carey = SCarey good run game.
Two bowl teams, two new coaches and shiny new helmets for the home team. It’s going to be an exciting time in the Great State of Arizona Friday night.
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