Before we get to the breakdown, here’s a quick countdown of wins needed to become bowl eligible:
— Bowl berth secure: Oregon, Utah and Arizona State
— Must win one of three games: Oregon State, UCLA and Washington State
— Must win two of three games: USC and Washington
— Must win three of three games: Cal, Colorado and Stanford
— Ineligible: Arizona
Here we go …
Rose Bowl (vs. Big Ten)
Team: Utah (6-3/5-1)
Home games (two): Oregon, Colorado
Road games (one): Arizona
Comment: Our current pick to win the conference title in what will be a rematch of the duel in Salt Lake City on Nov. 20. We suspect the Ducks get that one, and the Utes return the favor in Las Vegas.
Alamo Bowl (vs. Big 12)
Team: Oregon (8-1/5-1)
Home games (two): Washington State, Oregon State
Road games (one): Utah
Comment: From playoff contender one day to conference runner-up the next, the groundwork will be in place for an Alamo letdown.
Las Vegas Bowl (vs. Big Ten)
Team: Washington State (5-4/4-2)
Home games (one): Arizona
Road games (two): Oregon, Washington
Comment: If the Cougars get to six conference wins and end up in Vegas, could Nick Rolovich and Jake Dickert share the Pac-12 Coach of the Year award?
Holiday Bowl (vs. ACC)
Team: Arizona State (6-3/4-2)
Home games (one): Arizona
Road games (two): Washington, Oregon State
Comment: We won’t discount the possibility of a 9-3 finish for the Sun Devils. Nor will we ignore the potential for a 6-6 finish.
Sun Bowl (vs. ACC)
Team: UCLA (5-4/3-3)
Home games (two): Colorado, Cal
Road games (one): USC
Comment: Given the state of affairs at USC (two quarterbacks) and Cal (no quarterbacks, at least as of this moment), we see at least two wins for the Bruins, who haven’t been to El Paso in almost a decade.
LA Bowl (vs. Mountain West)
Team: Oregon State (5-4/3-3)
Home games (two): Stanford, Arizona State
Road games (one): Oregon
Comment: Our view: Jonathan Smith opted to change defensive coordinators in a last-gasp attempt to avert a collapse. Because if OSU loses this week, it’s panic time.
ESPN Bowl (Gasparilla, First Responders, Armed Forces)
Team: USC (4-5/3-4)
Home games (two): UCLA, Brigham Young
Road games (one): Cal
Comment: Which is worse for USC fans: Not qualifying for a bowl, or qualifying for the Gasparilla?
Team: Arizona (1-8/1-5)
Home games (one): Utah
Road games (two): Washington State, ASU
Comment: The end of the losing streak is a relief, sure. But let’s not overlook a larger issue: The Wildcats will miss the postseason for the fourth consecutive year — after being bowl eligible for eight of the previous 10.
Team: Cal (3-6/2-4)
Home games (one): USC
Road games (two): Stanford, UCLA
Comment: Given the way the Bears were playing before the COVID issues, we give them a chance to win all three … if they get quarterback Chase Garbers and the linemen back.
Team: Colorado (3-6/2-4)
Home games (one): Washington
Road games (two): UCLA, Utah
Comment: One of the three remaining games is highly winnable; one feels like a slight stretch but isn’t beyond CU’s capability; and one is a wipeout waiting to happen.
Team: Stanford (3-6/2-5)
Home games (two): Cal, Notre Dame
Road games (one): Oregon State
Comment: David Shaw has posted one sub-.500 season at Stanford, in 2019, when the Cardinal was 4-8. Not sure he’s going to even get to four this year.
Team: Washington (4-5/3-3)
Home games (three): ASU, Washington State
Road games (one): Colorado
Comment: Which is the toughest for UW fans to swallow: Losing the Apple Cup, not qualifying for a bowl game, watching Washington State qualify for a bowl game … or anything good happening to Oregon?
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