Still some dominoes to fall in the bowl picture with regard to Pac-12 teams, because Stanford and Arizona State have to meet for the Pac-12 title next week. We know now that Arizona State will host that game, courtesy of its dominating performance Saturday night at home against Arizona. The Sun Devils not only get to play on their home field, but they come into it the hottest team in the conference and have the revenge motive for what was essentially a blowout loss in October at Stanford.
Funny, but that’s a similar scenario to a year ago for the Pac-12 title game, when Stanford had just blown out UCLA the previous week and was playing the Bruins for the championship. The difference is, the first games were at much different points on the schedule, and the game is at Sun Devil Stadium rather than Stanford.
From here, it looks like the UCLA domination of USC propels the Bruins to the Sun Bowl, and if that’s the case, it would probably point Washington to the Fight Hunger in San Francisco against BYU (last week, a Sun Bowl official told the Times the Huskies could figure into their picture, but that appears to have diminished with the Bruins’ victory). UCLA goes to an attractive 9-3, with USC falling to 9-4. The Sun doesn’t want the Trojans after last year’s memorably poor trip there, so it makes sense USC goes to the Vegas now.
Here’s how I see it (subject to the whim of bowl directors, obviously). Possible that a Stanford victory over ASU would put the Sun Devils into the Alamo rather than Oregon, because they might travel better from a shorter distance:
Rose: Stanford/Arizona State.
Holiday: Stanford/Arizona State.
Las Vegas: USC.
Fight Hunger: Washington.
New Mexico: Washington State.
This projects Oregon State (6-6, 4-5) and Arizona (7-4, 4-5) attempting to go outside Pac-12 affiliations to bowls whose leagues can’t fill their obligations. Among bowls that look to have such openings are the Pinstripe in New York, Heart of Dallas, Independence in Shreveport, Little Caesars in Detroit and Beef O’Brady’s in St. Petersburg.