I’m a bowl prediction junkie. The white board in my work office currently displays a ranking of each Pac-12-related bowl as an object of constant reference. I obsess over bowl projections throughout the season and do my best to forecast at which destination each team will end up. It’s selfish, mostly. My friends and I travel to every University of Washington bowl game and turn the trip into our annual holiday vacation. As a result, we have quite a bit invested in where the Huskies’ postseason contest is played.
Over the past couple years, I’ve spent so much time analyzing bowl prognostications that I got to thinking I could probably just predict this stuff myself. And hey, since I have a website at my disposal, I put two and two together and here we are today.
I won’t pretend I know enough about the rest of the teams around the country to forecast the matchups of every single bowl bout. But I have outlined the likeliest postseason outcome for each Pac-12 football program below. Ranked from most prestigious bowl to least, here are your 2013 Pac-12 bowl predictions.
1. BCS National Championship (Jan. 6, 2014; Pasadena, Calif.): Oregon Ducks
Having leapfrogged Florida State to lay claim to the all-important No. 2 spot in the BCS standings, Oregon now finds itself in the driver’s seat for a championship matchup with Alabama. As much as I hate seeing the Ducks have a shot at a title (which has eluded them thus far, I might add), the rest of the Pac-12 is by now damn near dependent upon Oregon receiving an at-large BCS bowl bid each year. Should Oregon fail to land this coveted matchup, bowl projections the world around fall to pieces.
2. Rose Bowl (Jan. 1, 2014; Pasadena, Calif.): Stanford Cardinal
Though Oregon will likely be the 2013 Pac-12 champion, Stanford will receive the Rose Bowl nod when the Ducks punch their ticket to the BCS Championship. With one potential loss remaining on their schedule (against the aforementioned Oregon Ducks), Stanford should win the rest of their games and end up in Pasadena on New Year’s Day.
3. Alamo Bowl (Dec. 30, 2013; San Antonio, Tex.): UCLA Bruins
This is where the bowl forecast starts to get a little cloudy. While UCLA, Oregon State, and even Arizona State could all be considered for the Pac-12′s second-most prestigious bowl bid, the Bruins should get the green light after winning four of the remaining five games on their schedule. Such an outcome would give UCLA a 9-3 overall record and 6-3 conference mark. Even if Oregon State were to post similar figures, UCLA would probably be the Alamo Bowl’s choice, since the Beavers played in this very game a year ago. Arizona State probably finds itself on the outside looking in as the most likely of this three-headed monster to slip up down the stretch.
4. Holiday Bowl (Dec. 30, 2013; San Diego, Calif.): Oregon State
With last year’s trip to San Antonio weighing heavily on the bowl committee’s mind, Oregon State likely finds itself in the Holiday Bowl upon failing to return to the Alamo Bowl for a second consecutive year.
5. Sun Bowl (Dec. 31, 2013; El Paso, Tex.): Arizona State
Props to El Paso for continuing the tradition of everyone’s least-favorite bowl game, the Sun Bowl. I swear, there is no lesser-preferred vacation destination for fans than this West Texas outpost bordering on Juarez, Mexico. Unfortunately for the Arizona State faithful, it appears the Sun Devils will be making the trip to Juarez North in 2013, thanks in large part to their convincing mid-season win over the Washington Huskies.
6. Las Vegas Bowl (Dec. 21, 2013; Las Vegas, Nev.): Washington
For the second straight year, Washington could find itself playing in Sin City with a sixth-place finish in conference. This probably won’t sit too well with Husky fans, but come on, would you rather be in El Paso?
7. Fight Hunger Bowl (Dec. 27, 2013; San Francisco, Calif.): USC
USC may flip-flop with Washington depending on how the Vegas Bowl committee feels about making repeat selections, but assuming the regular season plays out the way one might expect, USC should find itself in line for a trip to San Francisco two days after Christmas.
8. New Mexico Bowl (Dec. 21, 2013; Albuquerque, NM): Arizona
The Wildcats won a 49-48 shootout over Nevada in the 2012 edition of the New Mexico Bowl and should end up back in Albuquerque for a second straight year. As the first bowl game to kickoff the postseason, this is a spot that few teams would like to find themselves in.
9. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Dec. 21, 2013; Boise, Ida.): Utah
Typically a bowl nod reserved for the Mountain West Conference’s sixth-place finisher, the MWC is struggling to find itself with enough bowl-eligible teams to earn the right to spend a holiday season in lovely Boise. That leaves the door open for a ninth Pac-12 team to land a bowl appearance, with Utah the most likely of a group including Washington State, California, and Colorado to receive that final bid.