Warm cheese feeling in stomach
Please pass the Pepto
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.
There are no more undefeated teams in the New Big East after Louisville fell at Syracuse this weekend. Louisville drops to #2 in the power rankings this week behind Rutgers. Louisville has a great offense but struggles defensively while Rutgers continues to shine on defense enough to let its offense do enough to win. Their season-ending battle should be a fun one.
As I continue to do these rankings, it is becoming more and more clear how important a new TV deal is to the conference. The current one isn’t just low paying, it’s terrible exposure. For example, two of the top three teams in conference face off this week (Rutgers at Cincinnati). That’s a matchup between a top-25 team and a team that is receiving votes and can have a significant impact on who gets to go to a BCS bowl game this year, and it is being shown on the regional Big East Network. And while that is bad, it’s worse for lowly Memphis. This upcoming week’s game at UAB will be the third consecutive week Memphis gets no TV coverage – not even ESPN3 – for a game. For the season, Memphis will have 5 games with no TV, 2 on ESPN3, and 5 on regional TV. That’s not a great lineup for a school trying to pull itself out of the cellar of D-1A football. The new TV deal will not only infuse cash into schools, but also increase the national profile of the conference on the whole.
On to the power rankings!
Remember, the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl is being played in a baseball park. That means that the lower bowl is very shallow (think RFK). If you aren’t in club seats, it’s actually better to be in the upper deck if you want to see anything. This is important stuff, because Navy’s 24-17 win over Florida Atlantic on Saturday gave them 6 wins and put them back on the bowl game wagon.
Suddenly my optimism during the Mids’ 1-3 start doesn’t look so crazy, does it?
As you are probably aware by now, Navy accepted their invitation to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco after notching their 6th win last weekend. The Kraft Bowl has a tie-in with the PAC-12 for the opponent and sits at 6th in the pecking order behind the Rose Bowl, Alamo Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Sun Bowl, and Las Vegas Bowl (in that order). There are plenty of bowl projections out there, but right now the middle of the PAC-12 is a crap shoot. I figure there are 4 teams that we could possibly see – Washington, Arizona State, Arizona, and Utah. I think that Oregon (9-0, 6-0), Oregon State (7-1, 5-1), Stanford (7-2, 5-1), and UCLA (7-2, 4-2) are pretty solid locks for bowls above the Kraft Bowl. We’ll keep our eye on UCLA – they finish @ Washington St, vs. Stanford, vs. USC – so it’s possible they drop a couple to end the season and perhaps come into play.
But for now, click through for the schools we want to keep our eye on, their schedules for the rest of the year, and a quick note on each. One thing that surprised me while writing this – how much Sagarin likes the Arizona schools.
We’ll call it “Spot the Set-Aside.” Apparently the Marine Corps likes to put them in commercials, so that makes it easier.