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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 14, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Could the Pac-10 end up with just three bowl teams?

The results of the weekend raise the question in the headline — could the Pac-10 really have just three bowl eligible teams?
It’s unlikely, but it’s possible. And even more possible is that the Pac-10 could have just four. The Pac-10 has had five or more every year since 1996.
The losses that hurt bowl chances Saturday were Oregon State getting clobbered at home by Washington State and Arizona State failing to hold on and beat Stanford.
Here’s how the standings look after Saturday:
Oregon 10-0, 7-0
Stanford 9-1, 6-1
USC 7-3, 4-3
Arizona 7-3, 4-3
Cal 5-5, 3-4
Oregon State 4-5, 3-3
UCLA 4-5, 2-4
Arizona State 4-6, 2-4
Washington 3-6, 2-3
Washington State 2-9, 1-7
Oregon, Stanford and Arizona will go bowling and USC and Washington State are ineligible (Trojans via probation, Cougars via too many losses). Arizona State is also officially ineligible since it has two wins over FCS teams and can only get to five against FBS teams. But if ASU were to win its last two and get to six, it would surprise no one if the Devils got a waiver and got in.
Everyone else — Cal, Oregon State, Washington and UCLA — could make it. And in fact, they could all theoretically make it together, meaning the conference could still have seven bowl teams (really unlikely, but not mathematically impossible).
But all has some work to do still, and most quite a bit.
Cal is the most likely to make it, needing only to win one of its last two games to get to six and hosting Stanford and Washington in its final two. Like it or not UW fans, but the Bears will be expected to win that game in two weeks in Berkeley.
UCLA probably has the next best chance, needing to win two of its final three games — at UW Thursday, at ASU and home to USC. But saying that’s the next best chance is far from saying that’s likely as UCLA may not be favored in any of those games (waiting to see today what the line will be for the Husky game).
Oregon State went from fairly likely to pretty darn unlikely on Saturday with the shocking loss to the Cougs. OSU now hosts USC, plays at Stanford and hosts Oregon. There are better odds OSU loses all of those and finishes 4-8 than winning two of three and getting to a bowl.
And we’ve detailed Washington’s situation on here often — the Huskies need to win out, beginning with Thursday night against UCLA and then at Cal and suddenly resurgent Washington State to get to six.
If you had to bet, you’d probably say Cal will get it done, no one else will, and the Pac-10 will have just four bowl teams.
As for losing teams getting in, the odds lessened a lot over the weekend.
I now count 54 teams that are already bowl eligible with another 14 at either 5-4 or 5-5 (including teams like Pitt, Cal, SMU, Notre Dame, BYU and Houston that all have pretty good chances of getting there). That’s 68 teams for the 70 available bowl slots.
As for links from the weekend that was, everything you need is here from Ken Goe and Vince Grippi.

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