Pac-12 football power rankings: a number of bowl possibilities exist for Arizona
Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan (8) goes back to pass in the first quarter as Stanford beat Oregon State, 27-23, at Stanford Stadium in Stanford, California, on Saturday, November 10, 2012. (Patrick Tehan/San Jose Mercury News/MCT)
Only two regular season games remain in the regular college football season, and with Arizona now bowl eligible at 6-4, it’s time for fans to go out and buy some winter clothes because the Wildcats are going bowling this holiday season.
At the moment, seven Pac-12 teams have qualified, with ASU one win away and Utah two away from eligibility.
If both of those teams become eligible, things could get pretty messy in the bowl picture, since the conference only has seven affiliated bowls. That doesn’t mean that only the top seven teams will be playing come December and January, but the other two invites might be a little bit random.
The Military Bowl, for example, is a match-up between the ACC and Army. That match-up isn’t happening, though, since Army is already eliminated from bowl play and the ACC might not even finish with enough eligible teams. In cases like that, the bowl committee will be free to choose whomever it wants, and it looks like a team or two from the Pac-12 might be available.
Where things can get really complicated in the Pac-12 is with the Rose Bowl.
Stanford beat Oregon State 27-23 this weekend as quarterback Kevin Hogan helped the Cardinal score 13-unanswered points in the second half of his first career start.
The win puts Stanford in the driver’s seat for the Rose Bowl — if they get past their game against Oregon — while the Beavers were eliminated from the Pac-12 title game and most likely any BCS bowl.
The real problem would arise if the Ducks win out because they’ll be going to the BCS Championship game. In order to do that though, they’ll need to beat Stanford, Oregon State and either USC or UCLA in the title game. If that happens, none of the Pac-12 teams might qualify for the Rose Bowl, which requires being ranked in the top 14 of the BCS standings. A loss to No. 2 Oregon shouldn’t be a killer, but Stanford finishes its season by playing UCLA, so one of them will lose again.
The chips will need to fall perfectly if the Ducks end up playing for the title. But even if someone catches the lucky break, it still might not be enough. An undefeated Notre Dame team will probably steal the conference’s bid and play the Big 10 champ, and deservedly so.
If a Pac-12 team doesn’t play in Pasadena, Calif., that doesn’t spell good news for Arizona in terms of its quality of bowl either.
Right now the Wildcats sit at seventh in the conference, and since their closest foes are Washington — who’s ranked No. 25 in the BCS standings — and USC, it’ll be tough for the Wildcats to jump either of them. If things remain the way they are, Arizona will be playing in the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 15 against the Mountain West’s third or fourth place team, Boise State or Air Force, at the moment.
If the Wildcats manage to move up, which is unlikely unless a Pac-12 team gets a Rose Bowl bid, they’d play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl and take on Navy in San Francisco, Calif. The Las Vegas Bowl, which is for the Pac-12’s fifth place team, is still a possibility, but Arizona would need a lot of help to make that happen.
Head coach Rich Rodriguez said the team is on a ladder of elevating its status right now — at the moment they’ve qualified, but another win and a bowl is guaranteed, and two wins puts them in an even higher profile bowl.
Moving up from the New Mexico Bowl also gives the Wildcats the added boost of practice time. The Dec. 15 date is by far the earliest of the bowl games the conference is affiliated with, and if Arizona receives an invitation to a bigger bowl, it’ll be rewarded with an extra couple days of practice.
“I don’t think the players like that,” Rodriguez joked. “But from a coaching standpoint that’s a huge benefit.”
1. No. 2 Oregon (10-0, 7-0 Pac-12) Last week: 1
Week eleven: (W 59-17 at Cal)
This Week: against No. 13 Stanford
2. No. 13 Stanford (8-2, 6-1) LW: 3
Week eleven: (W 27-23 against Oregon State)
This Week: at No. 2 Oregon
3. No. 16 Oregon State (7-2, 5-2) LW: 2
Week eleven: (L 27-23 at Stanford)
This Week: against Cal
4. No. 17 UCLA (8-2, 5-2) LW: 4
Week eleven: (W 44-36 at Washington State)
This Week: against No. 18 USC
5. No. 18 USC (7-3, 5-3) LW: 5
Week eleven: (W 38-17 against Arizona State)
This Week: at No. 17 UCLA
6. Arizona (6-4, 3-4) LW: 6
Week eleven: (W 59-31 against Colorado)
This week: at Utah
7. No. 25 Washington (6-4, 4-3) LW: 7
Week eleven: (W 34-15 against Utah)
This Week: at Colorado
8. Arizona State (5-5, 3-4) LW: 8
Week eleven: (L 38-17 at USC)
This Week: against Washington State
9. Utah (4-6, 2-5) LW: 9
Week eleven: (L 34-15 at Washington)
This Week: against Arizona
10. California (3-8, 2-6) LW: 10
Week eleven: (L 59-17 against Oregon)
This Week: at No. 16 Oregon State
11. Washington State (2-8, 0-7) LW: 11
Week eleven: (L 44-36 against UCLA)
This Week: at Arizona State
12. Colorado (1-9, 1-6) LW: 12
Week eleven: (L 56-31 at Arizona)
This Week: against Washington