Husky Haul Power Rankings – Bowl Prediction Edition


We are down to the final games of the season next week. As we enter this final week, it’s time to reflect upon the season that was and contemplate where everyone will be going in December/January. My first impressions of this season for a holistic Pac-12 perspective is that you HAVE to be disappointed overall. What looked so promising when Oregon, Stanford, and Washington were undefeated in the Pac-12 North and Arizona State seemed to be cruising to the Pac-12 South title and a Top 25 ranking has all now collapsed.

Armageddon has hit the conference. USC almost knocked off Stanford. While that was not the death-nail, it was a sign of things to come… Oregon beat Stanford, knocking the Cardinal out of the Pac-12 title game, the national title game, and the Rose Bowl all at once. Immediately they were relegated to the Alamo Bowl no matter what else happened. Then USC went ahead and beat Oregon to knock them out of contention. Given the 3OT game and then the road game against Oregon, USC has shown itself to be the best team in the Pac-12. But, due to Reggie Bush, they don’t get to go anywhere.

Then, Washington and Arizona State were both 6-2 and it looked like the Pac-12 would have 4 solid nationally ranked bowl teams and then a few also-rans to fill out the bowl obligations. Unfortunately, late season collapses by both teams (both are 1-4 in the last 5) including losses to 2-8 teams have resulted in a whole host of teams that are about to be 6-6 or 7-5. The bowl selection committees must be so disappointed with their choices. Utah is now the best team eligible in the Pac-12 South, but amazingly 6-5 UCLA controls its own destiny to be destroyed in Eugene in the Pac-12 Championship game.

So, let’s make some predictions of where the Pac-12 teams will end up:

Rose Bowl: Oregon (10-2)- The Ducks will have their chance to end that streak dating back to 1917. They only have to beat Oregon State and either UCLA/Utah to make it. That’s a no brainer to me and neither game will be close.

Alamo Bowl: Stanford (11-1)- Stanford barely held on to beat Cal. There must have been a major letdown after losing to Oregon and not really having a chance to play for the national title or Rose Bowl despite having the best record and best BCS ranking in the conference.

Holiday Bowl: Utah (8-5)- Utah has proven itself to be the best eligible team in the Pac-12 South. They should play in the Pac-12 title game after they beat Colorado and UCLA loses to USC, since they won the head-to-head matchup. But, Arizona State could still sneak into that game with a win over Cal.

Sun Bowl: Washington (7-5)- I have to believe the Huskies will rebound against WSU since the Cougs no longer have anything to play for. If they do, then they have to be the most obvious choice for the folks in El Paso since who else really stands out? It’s also been a very long time since the Dawgs played down there. They already beat Cal. UCLA and Arizona State just don’t bring as much to the table I think.

Las Vegas Bowl: California (7-5)- After they beat Arizona State next week, they will make the most sense here. They at least have been playing much better in the 2nd half of the season. If Arizona State beats Cal this week, then this slot will go to the Sun Devils.

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Arizona State (6-6)- This bowl would probably like to see Cal in this slot since it would be a home game for them and they could sell more tickets. I am just not sure the Bears will be there unless the two bowls talk. Maybe they will since Las Vegas is closer to Tempe than San Francisco. Win or lose, these two bowls might agree to a trade.

New Mexico Bowl: UCLA (6-6)- What an up-and-down season for the Bruins. Is 6-6 enough to save Rick Neuheisel’s job? I rarely root for USC, but I will in this upcoming game because it would be a major embarrassment to the league if a 7-5 UCLA teams plays for the Pac-12 title.

The left overs:

8) USC (10-2) ineligible Imagine what it would have done for the league reputation had USC actually be eligible.

9) Washington State (4-8)- So close to bowl eligibility. An overtime win over Utah could have changed everything. They are definitely improving over previous seasons. But, is it enough to save Paul Wulff’s job? I am starting to think he’ll get one more year.

10) Arizona (4-8)- This was a team with too much talent to have played so badly. I think with the right coach they might be someone to watch out for next year.

11) Oregon State (3-9)- Mike Reilly teams are always competitive. They have a lot of young talent and they might be able to be competitive next year. I think they’ll make a bowl.

12) Colorado (2-11)- Easily the worst team in the conference. They will probably be a bit better next year, but so will most of the other teams, so I just don’t see them rising up the standings in the near future.