Pac-12 bowl projections: CFP prospects remote, so champion heads to the Fiesta Bowl

If there’s anything more fluid than the Pac-12 regular season, it’s the Pac-12 postseason.

Is there a realistic path to the College Football Playoff?

How many of its bowls will shutter for the year? (So far, two.)

How many teams will agree to participate?

Will there be opponents available?

Could the entire postseason get swallowed by the pandemic?

For a moment, let’s focus on what we know: The NCAA has waived the eligibility standard and is allowing sub-.500 teams to go bowling.

Here’s what else we know: The Pac-12 isn’t playing along.

At the behest of the athletic directors, the conference is sticking with its pre-pandemic policy that requires teams to have a .500 record (or better).

That means a 4-3 mark if all seven games are played, or a 3-3 record if one game is canceled.

Or a 3-2 record if two games are canceled …

For the following projections, we’re assuming teams play all of their remaining games.

Fiesta Bowl
Team: USC (2-0)
Comment: The Pac-12’s path to the playoff is extraordinarily narrow, leaving its champion for either the Fiesta or Peach bowls (the Rose Bowl is a semifinal). As of now, we’re sticking with USC, our preseason pick.

Alamo Bowl
Team: Oregon (2-0)
Comment: The Ducks struggled in the first half of both games and sizzled in the second. They faced a backup quarterback in one and a rookie quarterback in the other. We need to see a bit more before elevating them to projected champ.

Las Vegas Bowl
Team: Colorado (2-0)
Comment: Potentially a showcase event for the conference with an SEC opponent, except the game itself is in doubt. CU needs one win to clinch a berth — assuming it plays six games — but getting over the top has been problematic in recent years.

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Sun Bowl
Team: Washington
Comment: This would work for the bowl game — UW hasn’t been to El Paso since 2002 — and it might work for the Huskies, because fans are allowed to attend games in Texas.

Los Angeles Bowl
Team: UCLA
Comment: We’re skeptical about this game with the pandemic in Southern California and the Holiday Bowl shutting down for 2020. But if the Bruins are eligible, a cross-town trip would make sense: It avoids the health risks and financial burden of traveling.

Independence Bowl
Team: Cal
Comment: Plenty of reasons for the Pac-12 to pass on the trip to Shreveport — whether it’s the Bears or someone else — but the added practice time, the experience for the players and the recruiting benefits are not insignificant.

Note eligible: Washington State, Oregon State, Stanford, Arizona, Arizona State and Utah.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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