Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Possible Opponents – Week 11 Update

If you want to know how crazy the PAC-12 is right now as far as bowl projections are concerned, just look to some of the major media outlets and see who they are forecasting. Here’s a sampling:

Stewart Mandel @ CNNSI: Washington
Jerry Palm @ CBS Sports: Stanford
Mark Schlabach @ ESPN: Washington
Brad Edwards @ ESPN: Washington
College Football News: Oregon State

Stanford and Oregon State were the eye-poppers this week. Both teams have two losses. Stanford is currently 13th in the BCS while Oregon State is 16th. I don’t see these two teams slipping to the 6th-pick bowl game unless they lose out. Then again, Stanford has to go on the road to #2 Oregon and #17 UCLA to finish the season. Could a 4-loss Cardinal slide to the Kraft Bowl? Oregon State still has a home game against Cal and a trip to Oregon (and the make-up game with Nicholls State). If they somehow lose to Cal this weekend, they will (probably) end the season losing 4 of their final 5 conference games. Again, is that enough to make them unattractive enough to fall to the 6th bowl? Only time will tell.

In the interim, let’s look at the four teams we identified last week as the most probable opponents.

Washington (6-4, 4-3)
Sagarin #34 (up from #46)

Last Week: Won 34-15 vs. Utah
Nov 17: @ Colorado
Nov 23: @ Washington State
Washington became bowl eligible at home with a win over the Utes. With the remaining schedule pointing to an 8-win season, they may be playing themselves up from the 6th bowl if the aforementioned Stanford and Oregon State losses come to pass. But given that the PAC-12 won’t be fielding a 2nd BCS team, Washington remains a popular pick for the Kraft Bowl this week.

Arizona (6-4, 3-4)
Sagarin #28 (no change)

Last Week: Won 56-31 vs. Colorado
Nov 17: @ Utah
Nov 23: vs. Arizona State
Arizona was the other possible opponent to lock up bowl eligibility this weekend, sending the Buffs to their 6th-consecutive loss. Of note from this game: Arizona RB Ka’Deem Carey rushed for 366 yards and 5 TDs. That set a new PAC-12 record and was accomplished on just 25 carries.

Arizona State (5-5, 3-4)
Sagarin #21 (down from #18)

Last Week: Lost 38-17 at USC
Nov 17: vs. Washington State
Nov 23: @ Arizona
The loss to USC was expected. Arizona State was tied at the half and took a lead with a field goal on their opening possession of the 2nd half. USC locked down the offense after that, yielding just 51 yards to ASU the rest of the way.

Utah (4-6, 2-5)
Sagarin #38 (down from #31)

Last Week: Lost 34-15 at Washington
Nov 17: vs. Arizona
Nov 23: @ Colorado
Utah’s margin of error is gone – they have to win out to make a bowl. Utah certainly didn’t play like a bowl team. They gained just 188 yards to go with a paltry 9 first downs. Oh, and they became the first D-1A team to give up more than 21 points to the Huskies.

I’m going to stick with my Arizona State call. though I’m starting to want Washington more.

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4 Responses

  1. While I would like to pay Utah back for the 3 pt loss in the bowl game a few years ago, my preference would be to play Washington first, then Arizona. Playing Washington just feels right, and if we can’t get them, would like to play Arizona to see how we would match up against a Rich Rod coached team. Have no desire to play against AZ St with their “Benedict Arnold” coach.

    I fear if we got Stanford or UCLA, the outcome would be similar to the ND game. However, the team is vastly different than when it started the year so those games would be a good benchmark as well on how we do against top teams.

  2. Andy – on your next post on this subject, would you list the Pac12 bowls in order of importance. I think it would be interesting to have you match/predict the teams with the bowls. I went to the Pac 12 site and found reference to these seven (in no particular order)
    Rose Bowl
    Bridgepoint Holiday Bowl
    Valero Alamo Bowl
    Hyandi Sun Bowl
    MAACO Las Vegas Bowl
    Gildon New Mexico Bowl
    Kraft Hunger Bowl
    The site also listed the “players” (again, no particular order) as
    Stanford
    Oregon St.
    UCLA
    USC
    Washington
    Arizona
    Arizona St
    Utah
    I assume Oregon was left off because they are expected to go to the national championship game.

    • OK, since doing this, I have since changed my mind. I think we’re going to get Washington.

      Obviously the Rose Bowl is the bowl for the champion. However, since I think Oregon is going to play in the title game, the Rose will actually get someone other than a PAC-12 team, because there won’t be a 2nd team high enough in the rankings. I, like many others, think Notre Dame will land here.

      The rest of the pecking order goes (with my wildly inaccurate guesses in parentheses)

      #2 Alamo (USC)
      #3 Holiday (Oregon State)
      #4 Sun (UCLA)
      #5 Las Vegas (Stanford)
      #6 Kraft (Washington)
      #7 New Mexico (Arizona State)

      Arizona will fill a bowl slot for another conference that can’t make their quote.

      Remember, the bowls down’t have to pick the teams in order of finish. The ACC has the “Boston College rule” that means wins actually do play into bowl selection, but as far as I know the PAC-12 has no such rules.

  3. GoalLax – Thanks for taking the time. The Pac12 is having a pretty good year. I think it will be an interesting game, no matter which team we play. As a side note, Washington is one of the 5 teams in the current Pac12 that we’ve played before. (Cal, Stanford, USC, and Utah are the other four.)

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