Before the 2018 season, the NCAA ruled that college football teams must win at least six games to attain bowl game eligibility — a change that would make the postseason more competitive and prestigious. This regulation, however, now leaves 5-7 teams such as USC and Arizona on the bitter outside looking in with their seasons ending last weekend.
For the first time since 2015, Cal football is going bowling — not just as a team bonding event with hardwood floors and tacky footwear — along with fellow Pac-12 teams No. 10 Washington, No. 12 Washington State, No. 17 Utah, Oregon, Stanford and Arizona State.
Later this week, the College Football Playoff will announce all bowl game matchups, but until then, here are projections for the Pac-12’s matchups:
Rose Bowl, Jan. 1
Big Ten vs. Pac-12 — Pasadena, California
“The granddaddy of them all.” The oldest and most famous bowl game needs no introduction — the lights, the parade, the pizzazz all come with the iconic notion of the Rose Bowl. This Friday, Washington takes on Utah in the Pac-12 Championship. With neither team in contention to make the top four cutoff, the winner will punch a ticket to sunny Southern California.
Prediction: Washington vs. Ohio State
Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 1
At large vs. At large — Glendale, Arizona
While Washington State is not in the running to win the conference, the 10-2 Cougars have still had an impressive season behind the likes of head coach Mike Leach and beloved quarterback Gardner Minshew II (and his stylish ‘stache). It is possible that the Cougars will bypass a designated Pac-12 bowl if the selection committee decides in favor of sending Washington State to a more prestigious, at-large bowl such as the Fiesta Bowl.
Predictions: Washington State vs. UCF
LSU vs. UCF
Alamo Bowl, Dec. 28
Big 12 vs. Pac-12 — San Antonio, Texas
Should the committee decide not to send Washington State to the Fiesta Bowl, however, the Cougars could be headed to San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl. That is, if Washington State ultimately proves that it is more deserving than the Utah Utes, who are playing for a Pac-12 title.
Predictions: Washington State vs. West Virginia
Utah vs. Texas
Holiday Bowl, Dec. 31
Big Ten vs. Pac-12 — San Diego, California
Prediction: Iowa vs. Utah
Redbox Bowl, Dec. 31
Big Ten vs. Pac-12 — Santa Clara, California
Prediction: Minnesota vs. Oregon
Sun Bowl, Dec. 31
ACC vs. Pac-12 — El Paso, Texas
Should Cal beat Stanford this weekend, it is possible that the Bears will have outperformed the Sun Devils overall and will be headed to El Paso.
Predictions: Virginia vs. Arizona State
Boston College vs. Cal
Las Vegas Bowl, Dec. 15
Mountain West vs. Pac-12 — Las Vegas, Nevada
Prediction: Fresno State vs. Stanford
Cheez-It Bowl, Dec. 26
Big 12 vs. Pac-12 — Phoenix, Arizona
Should Cal lose to Stanford, the lesser Cheez-It bowl could be a more realistic possibility.
Predictions: Baylor vs. Cal
Fresno State vs. Cal