Pac-12 bowl projections: Washington to the CFP, Arizona to the Alamo and Cal sneaks in

Helpful reminders on the postseason selection process before we plunge into the latest Pac-12 bowl forecast:

— The Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl will host the College Football Playoff semifinals, leaving the Pac-12 champion to participate in the Fiesta, Peach or Cotton bowls unless it qualifies for the CFP.

— The Pac-12 is contractually tied to seven games this season: the New Year’s Six, Alamo, Las Vegas, Holiday, Sun, LA and Independence bowls. If there are more eligible teams than available spots, the conference will attempt to secure invitations to other bowls with vacancies.

The Pac-12 has seven bowl-eligible teams and two more that could clear the bar this weekend, but Cal and Washington State are substantial underdogs on the road at UCLA and Washington, respectively.

What if they finish 5-7, one win below the threshold for qualification?

The NCAA permits five-win teams to participate in the bowl season if there aren’t enough eligible schools to fill the 82 slots, but the Pac-12 does not.

In 2018, the conference’s athletic directors, with an assist from the conference office, voted to prohibit 5-7 teams from bowling even if there were spots available.

Why voluntarily deny your team the competition, your players the reward, your coach the practices, and your conference the television exposure?

The explanation was largely rooted in economic considerations. For 5-7 teams, bowls were likely to be money losers because of poor ticket sales and high travel costs.

But with the Pac-12 in its final season, the dynamics have changed — and the conference is smartly considering a reversal of course that would allow any five-win teams to participate.

According to a source familiar with the situation, a vote of the athletic directors is expected this week. (A simple majority is needed for approval. There is no minimum requirement in the event some schools abstain.)

We expect the rule to change. Why would any of the departing schools deny WSU, for example, the chance to go bowling?

However, approval is only one step if WSU and Cal finish 5-7. (Colorado could also land on five wins with a victory over Utah.)

It’s possible there will be enough six-win teams across the Football Bowl Subdivision to fill every berth in the 41 games.

And even with a vacancy or two, other 5-7 teams could have priority over the Bears or Cougars. (The selection order is based on academic achievement.)

But a vote to overturn a bad rule is never wrong, especially in the Pac-12 this season.

And if given the chance, we suspect the Bears and Cougars would be interested in extending their seasons.

To the bowl projections …

College Football Playoff/Rose Bowl

Team: Washington (11-0/8-0)
Comment: The only reason for the CFP selection committee to slot UW behind Florida State in the new rankings would be an aversion to purple, coffee or Nirvana, because the resumes aren’t comparable. That said, it doesn’t matter. If the Huskies win their next two, they’re in.

New Year’s Six/Fiesta Bowl

Team: Oregon
Comment: It gets interesting if the Ducks lose Friday night, because they probably wouldn’t qualify for the Pac-12 championship game, and their resume is deteriorating (see: …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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