The announcement earlier today by the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl that its game will be played this year on New Year’s Eve completes the Pac-12’s bowl picture for 2011. (The game had already been announced but didn’t have a date until today).
So, here is the complete Pac-12 bowl lineup for this season:
Champion — BCS title game (this year in New Orleans) on Jan. 9, or Rose in Pasadena on Jan. 2.
No. 2 — Alamo Bowl vs. Big 12 No. 3, San Antonio, Dec. 29.
No. 3 — Holiday Bowl vs. Big 12 No. 5, San Diego, Dec. 28.
No. 4 — Sun Bowl vs. ACC No. 4, El Paso, Dec. 31.
No. 5 — Las Vegas vs. MWC No. 1, Las Vegas, Dec. 22
No. 6 — Kraft Fight Hunger vs. Army (if bowl eligible), San Francisco, Dec. 31.
Teams have to achieve 6-6 records to qualify, and can count one game against an FCS opponent (as UW may do this season as it plays Eastern Washington to open its schedule on Sept. 3).
The Pac-12 will add a seventh bowl slot in 2012 when the New Mexico Bowl comes aboard to take the conference’s No. 7 spot.
And as I always note, it’s worth remembering that the bowls do not have to strictly follow the standings other than for the BCS/Rose entry — they get their choice (essentially) of all remaining teams that are bowl eligible at the time they pick, regardless of head-to-head outcome of tied teams or anything like that.
Also worth remembering is the deal worked out for rotating opponents for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl — Army in 2011, Navy in 2012 and BYU in 2013, assuming those teams get bowl eligible.
As I noted a few weeks ago, with 12 teams, six bowl slots may seem like not enough, which is why the conference added the New Mexico to ensure a seventh beginning in 2012. On the other hand, the Pac-10 had just four bowl teams last year and would have had just five even with the two teams it has added.
And with USC again ineligible for a bowl this year, the Pac-12 could be challenged a bit in filling all of its spots.
The Sporting News, in its college football annual, had just five Pac-12 teams making bowls — Stanford (Rose), Oregon (Fiesta), Oregon State (Sun), Utah (Holiday) and Arizona State (Alamo).