Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Washington, Washington St., and seven more Pac-12 schools at least halfway to bowl eligibility


The 2018 Rose Bowl game is a College Football Playoff semifinal this season. At the moment it means the traditional Big Ten vs. Pac-12 matchup is probably not going to happen.



Worse, there is the distinct possibility that the Pac-12 missing out of the CFP is a distinct possibility. The highest-ranked team in the most recent Coaches Poll was Washington at #5. If this was the final CFP Committee Rankings of the season, it would have the Pac-12 as the odd Power 5 conference out of the CFP semis.

The good news for the Pac-12 is that nine out of conference's twelve teams have three or more wins, meaning that they are at least halfway to getting the six wins needed to qualify for a bowl game appearance.

Currently out of the bowl eligibility picture: Arizona (2-2, 0-1 conference), and Arizona State (2-3, 1-1 conference), and Oregon State (1-4, 0-2 conference). The two Arizona schools still have a window to make it to six wins, but it will be closing very soon.

Five wins (Magic number: 1)


Pac-12 North


Washington (5-0, 2-0 conference)

How bad is it going to suck if Chris Petersen left Boise State for Washington, but still can't make it to a bowl game with national title implications this season? Palm has Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, and Ohio State currently as his projected CFP semifinal teams, with the Huskies on the outside.

As for earning a sixth-win, odds are high that it will come in October. The Huskies host Cal on Oct. 7, travel to Arizona State on Oct. 14, then come off a bye week to hose UCLA on Oct. 28.

Projected bowl:

2017 Cotton Bowl Classic (Dec. 29, Arlington, Tx.)

Projected opponent:

TCU

TCU beat the Petersen-coached Boise State in 2011, one season after the Broncos defeated the Horned Frogs in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl. Washington beat TCU 44-26 in the two schools only meeting in 1971.

Washington State (5-0, Magic number: 1)

Being coached by Mike Leach automatically makes Washington State the team the chaos engine and section of the college football universe is rooting for this season to win the CFP title. Standing in Wazzou and The Pirate's way is having to go on the road to face an on the rebound Oregon on Oct. 7, followed by another road game (and a Friday night road game to top that) facing Cal on Oct. 13. The Huskies return home to hose Colorado on Oct. 21, then go back on the road to face Arizona on Oct. 28.

October should see Wazzou adding the six and final win needed for bowl eligibility. Whether it can go undefeated through the month is another question altogether.

Projected bowl:

2017 Alamo Bowl (Dec. 28, San Antonio, Tx.)

Projected opponent:

Oklahoma State

The 2017 Alamo Bowl isn't the best bowl scenario Wazzou could hope for, but dangit, a coaches duel between The Pirate (Mike Leach), and The Mullet (Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy) is just too delicious to resist.


Pac-12 South

None

Four wins (Magic number: 2)


Pac-12 North


Oregon (4-1, 1-1 conference)

Oregon being 4-1 a season after an absolute collapse of a season is a little surprising. It puts the Ducks closer to six wins than one would have believed they would have been before the season started.

Not for the bad news. Oregon hosts 5-0 Washington St. on Oct. 7. The game is followed by a two-game stretch on the road vs. Stanford on Oct. 14, then UCLA on Oct. 21. Wazzou ends the month hosting Utah on Oct. 28.

The Ducks need two wins to become bowl eligible this October. It's going to probably take at least one upset this month (and probably more than one) to get them.

Projected bowl:

2017 Fosters Farms Bowl (Dec. 27, Santa Clara, Ca.)

Projected opponent

Michigan State

Oregon vs. Michigan State is a more than respectable matchup for Willie Taggart's first year as the Ducks' head coach.

Pac-12 South


Utah (4-0, conference 1-0)

Current Pac-12  South division leader Utah is about to his a "The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday" part of its 2017 schedule. The Utes host Stanford on Oct. 7, followed by a road game against USC on Oct. 14. It's back home to host Arizona State on Oct. 21, then a road trip to Oregon ends the month on Oct. 28.

Most reasonable scenario for is that Utah gets two wins this month, which would be enough to become bowl eligible. It's going to take a lot of carefully treading the needle, though.

Projected Bowl:

2017 Holliday Bowl (Dec. 28, San Diego, Ca.)

Projected opponent:

Michigan.

Facing Michigan in your postseason bowl game is always something to look forward to, no matter what shape the Wolverines are in.

USC (4-1, conference 2-1)

USC had very strong chances to make it to a CFP semi this season. Then losing to Wazzou in Week 5 happened. It doesn't completely take the Trojans out of the CFP semis picture, but getting there would very much depend on who loses as much it does how many teams USC wins.

The Trojans start the month by hosting the currently 1-4 Oregon State on Oct. 7. Then comes a one-two punch with Utah coming to Los Angeles on Oct. 14, followed by the Trojans going on the road on Oct. 21 to face a Notre Dame team that probably won't be going 4-8 this season. The road trip continues on to Arizona State on Oct. 28.

Despite a rough looking schedule, winning the two games for bowl eligibility in October is a definitely possibility this month.

Projected bowl:

2017 Fiesta Bowl (Jan. 1, Glendale, Az.)

Okay, it's not the bowl USC wanted, but m aking it to a New Year's Six bowl that isn't the Rose Bowl Game is nothing to complain about.

Projected opponent:

San Diego State

On the other hand facing a P5 school that doesn't have any reasonably CFP semis hopes is a Charlie Brown) "I got a rock" while Trick-or-Treat scenari.

Three wins (Magic number: 3)


Pac-12 North


Stanford (3-2, 2-1 conference)

Stanford has struggled this season, but still has made it to a 3-2 record. The Cardinal travels to Utah on Oct. 7, hosts Oregon  on Oct. 14, then comes off a bye week to face Oregon St. on the road on Oct. 26. (Yes, that's a Thursday night game.)

On paper, it looks as though Stanford will have to wait until November to get to six wins.

Projected bowl:

2017 Las Vegas Bowl (Dec. 20, Las Vegas, Nv.)

Projected opponent:

Boise State

The Las Vegas Bowl should seriously consider trying to make a move to a post-Christmas date on the calendar. The tie-in calls for a Pac-12 school to face the WAC title holder (if the school doesn't make it to a NY6 bowl, that is). Stanford vs. Boise St. would be a worthwhile game to check out during the office/family Christmas Party.

Cal (3-2, 1-2 conference)

Cal is in a reasonable spot to say it can get to three wins. It will have to make it through the state of Washington buzzsaw, as it faces the  state of Washington schools. Cal heads to Washington on Oct. 7, then host Wazzou on Oct. 13. Cal hosts Arizona on Oct. 21, then travels to Colorado on Oct. 28.

The Golden Bears face tough competition in October. Bowl eligibility looks like it might happen in November instead of October.

Projected bowl: (Jason Kirk, SB*Nation)

2017 Frisco Bowl ( Dec. 20, Dallas, Tx.)

Projected opponent:

Houston

SWRT bowl philosophy: Firing the head coach of a Power 5 conference team is a reasonable move the team accepts a big to a bowl scheduled for before Dec. 24.


Pac-12 South

UCLA (3-2, 1-1 conference)

UCLA has a bye in Week 6. The Bruins travel to Arizona on Oct. 14, then hosts Oregon on Oct. 21. The month ends with UCLA traveling to Washington on Oct. 28.

The early bye means UCLA will have to absolutely have all its engines on full throttle to be bowl eligible by the end of October.

Projected bowl:

2017 Cactus Bowl (Dec. 26, Tempe, Az.)

Projected opponent:

Colorado State

Seeing the Bruins take on the seemingly on-the-rise Rams might be worth avoiding the day-after-Christmas sales.

Colorado (3-2, 0-2 conference)

Colorado has gone from a Pac-12 West division title holder in 2017 to being in the back of the conference pack this season. There's still time to right the Buffaloes' ship as the team hosts Arizona on Oct. 7, visits Oregon St. on Oct. 14, stays on the road to face Washington St. on Oct. 21, then returns home to host Cal on Oct. 28.

Arizona and Oregon St. may be the best hope for some wins here. Going 3-1 or 4-0 this month sounds out of the question.

Projected bowl:

Dec. 29 Sun Bowl (Dec. 29, El Paso, Tx.)

Projected opponent:

Duke

Respectable bowl. Good bowl opponent. Its a good matchup to work toward after a bad first part of the season.









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