Arizona tailgate flag

Don’t wave the flag on Arizona’s bowl chances just yet. Photo by Wildcat Universe

You can only play the games on your schedule and you can only deal with your current situation.

The Arizona Wildcats are now battling for their bowl life and here’s a look at the competition.

Before we get to the TV schedule TWit-Pac wants to break down the bowl situation because who the UA is rooting for in each game is entirely based on trying to get the Cats into a postseason game despite the conference’s bowl shortage.

Here are the Pac-12’s current bowl-eligible teams:

Pac-12 RankBowl Eligible TeamRecord
1Oregon9-1
2tStanford8-2
2tUCLA8-2
2tArizona St.8-2
5USC8-3
6tWashington6-4
6tARIZONA6-4
6tOregon St.6-4

There’s a big gap between the top five teams and the bottom three. What’s interesting is how similar the resumes of Washington, Arizona and OSU are. None of them has a win against the Pac top five. The best victory among them is the Huskies’ win against 7-3 Boise State on opening weekend. Add in UW’s head-to-head win over the Wildcats and Washington looks like the most attractive of the 6-4 squads at this point.

Arizona and Oregon State are almost identical in that they both got to six wins in a hurry and then went into a ditch. Cat fans are lamenting the UA’s potential four-game losing streak to end the season but the Beavers have a chance to go 0-5 down the stretch.

Obviously the best thing the Wildcats can do is win at least one of these last two games. But aside from that, the best-case scenario is OSU losing out with WSU and Utah both falling short of six wins.

Here’s how we get there (all times Arizona/Mountain):

DateAwayHomeTimeTV
Sat Nov 23OregonARIZONA1:30 p.m.ABC/ESPN2
Sat Nov 23UtahWash. St.1:30 p.m.Pac-12 Network
Sat Nov 23CalStanford2 p.m.Fox Sports 1
Sat Nov 23Arizona St.UCLA5 p.m.Fox
Sat Nov 23USCColorado7:30 p.m.Pac-12 Network
Sat Nov 23Wash.Oregon St.8:30 p.m.ESPN2

Oregon (9-1 / 6-1) at ARIZONA (6-4 / 3-4)
The Ducks received a second chance at the Pac-12 championship when Stanford lost to USC. Any possibility of them being tense and over-anxious on Saturday? Maybe? Please??

Who does Wildcat Universe want to win?
Your Stranger-Things-Have-Happened Wildcats.

Utah (4-6 / 1-6) at Washington State (5-5 / 3-4)
The Utes just lost their quarterback for the rest of the year so Wazzu should win at home…but Arizona should have won at home last week.

Who does Wildcat Universe want to win?
Utah. The best-case for the Wildcats is WSU loses to both Utah and Washington, and Utah loses to Colorado to leave both teams at 5-7 and out of the bowl picture.

California (1-10 / 0-8) at Stanford (8-2 / 6-2)
Time for my annual rant about Stanford and USC playing Notre Dame at the end of the season. Play your non-conference games at the start of the year like everyone else so Cal doesn’t have to play its rivalry game early and then sit at home the last week of the season. The Cardinal’s “tradition” of finishing the year with Notre Dame goes back a whopping 14 years. Enough with the private school snootiness.

Who does Wildcat Universe want to win?
Stanford. Just in case the Cardinal can sneak into a BCS bowl.

Arizona State (8-2 / 6-1) at UCLA (8-2 / 5-2)
ASU clinches the South with a win. But who wants to talk about division championships when you can analyze 6-4 teams doing battle for a trip to Albuquerque?

Who does Wildcat Universe want to win?
UCLA. One time, Whoever’s Playing ASU. One time!

USC (8-3 / 5-2) at Colorado (4-6 / 1-6)
I still think it’s a win for the rest of the Pac-12 if USC forgoes a national coaching search and hires Ed Orgeron full time. How many more wins would it take for the Trojans to have no choice but to keep him? Winning out to take the South? Upsetting the North champ and going to the Rose Bowl?

It would be like when Russ Pennell was Arizona’s interim basketball coach but if he took the Cats to the Final Four and ended up causing the UA to miss out on Sean Miller. You want your temporary coach to do well but it becomes awkward if he does too well.

Who does Wildcat Universe want to win?
USC. As we said above, the ultimate hope is the Buffs can beat Utah next week so a loss is needed here to keep Colorado from bowl eligibility.

Washington (6-4 / 3-4) at Oregon State (6-4 / 4-3)
When the Beavers started 4-0 in the Pac-12 (against Utah, Colorado, WSU and Cal) they averaged 49 points a game. As they’ve slid to 4-3 (against Stanford, USC and ASU) they’ve averaged 17 points a contest.

Who does Wildcat Universe want to win?
Washington. Arizona ending the season on a four-game losing streak would be bad but OSU ending on a five-game skid would be worse.

* * *

The new Pac-12 tiers have a lot of teams in tears:

    National Contenders – none
    Division Contenders – Oregon, ASU, UCLA, Stanford, USC
    Bowl Attenders (Maybe) – Washington, ARIZONA, OSU
    Bowl Contenders – WSU, Utah, Colorado
    Waiting for the Season to Enders – Cal

Maybe it’s good for the Bears that they finish their season before everyone else.

* * *

Sifting through these low-level scenarios and projections isn’t fun but there’s a simple way for the Cats to make it all go away.

Somehow find a way to win a football game on Saturday.

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