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WSU bowl projections: California dreamin’ (but San Diego please)

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The Cougs are virtually locked in to one of two bowls and both are in California. Traveling should be substantially easier on your wallet than last year.

NCAA Football: San Diego at San Diego State Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

We aren’t here to relive the “football game” the Cougs played this past weekend ... we’ll just talk about the final game they will be playing instead! See? Much happier!

Both Washington and Colorado will be ranked in the top 10 when they face off in the Pac-12 Championship game this Friday. By then, the Huskies will likely be in the top four thanks to Michigan’s loss (Seahawks lost on Sunday too, my weekend was awesome. /fart noise) but Colorado will likely stay right where it is at No. 9.

Throw in a highly ranked USC team and there’s a chance the Pac-12, after an awful start to the season, could end up with three teams in the New Years Six. That guarantees an appearance in no worse than the Holiday Bowl for WSU. That’s good!

So, what are your rooting interests in this case?

A close, epic Pac-12 Championship Game won by UW* + a decisive victory by either Wisconsin or Penn State in the B1G Championship Game. (And an Oklahoma win in Bedlam is probably good, too, if you want to get greedy.)

*If this grosses you out too much, root for CU to absolutely destroy UW so they have the best chance of vaulting Michigan/loser and winner of the Big Ten Championship in the CFP. This is a definite #TeamChaos scenario since Clemson would need to probably lose as well.

In this hypothetical, the UW win likely puts the Huskies in the CFP without punishing Colorado much in the rankings; the decisive loss by either Wisconsin or Penn State moves them below both USC and Colorado with one heading off to the Rose Bowl and the other landing in the Cotton Bowl as the Power 5 at-large team taking on Western Michigan. (Oklahoma beating Oklahoma State simply removes the possibility that the Sooners somehow stay ranked ahead of Colorado and/or USC in the event of a loss.)

If you subscribe to Bill Moos’ “Alamo Bowl is still a possibility” theory, this is pretty much the only way that happens, as the folks in San Antonio would be choosing between WSU and Stanford. In any other scenario, the Holiday Bowl will be left to pick between them. The Cougs might would be hard pressed to not bring more enthusiasm and money than a fanbase that can barely bother to attend Senior Day, but an in-state team is hard to pass up. We know Moos will grease the tracks, though, and most prognosticators seem to agree WSU would be a better bet for the Holiday Bowl than the Cardinal.

For the final time this year, here are your Pac-12 bowl tie-ins with order of selection. We went into even better detail on this entire process over here.

  1. Rose Bowl vs. Big Ten (Pasadena, CA) Monday, Jan. 2, 2017, 2:00 p.m.
  2. Alamo Bowl vs. Big 12 (San Antonio, TX) Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, 6:00 p.m.
  3. Holiday Bowl vs. Big Ten (San Diego, CA) Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, 4:00 p.m.
  4. Foster Farms Bowl vs. Big Ten (Santa Clara, CA) Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016, 5:30 p.m.
  5. Sun Bowl vs. ACC (El Paso, TX) Friday, Dec. 30, 2016, 11:00 a.m.
  6. Las Vegas Bowl vs. MWC (Las Vegas, NV) Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016, 12:30 p.m.*
  7. Cactus Bowl vs. Big 12 (Phoenix, AZ) Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, 7:15 p.m.*

*With the Pac-12 very likely sending two teams to New Years Six bowl games and a lack of additional bowl eligible teams, the Pac-12 will not fill their obligation for these bowls so at-large teams will be selected ... unless one of the 5-7 teams (such as Cal) is granted a waiver by the NCAA.

SB Nation: Holiday Bowl

Same as last week for the mothership with the Iowa Hawkeyes joining the Cougs in San Diego. A win in this game and WSU can finally say they’re better than Michigan!

CBS: Holiday Bowl

Jerry Palm likes the Cougs in the same spot as he did last week but a different opponent — the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

College Football News: Holiday Bowl

Another identical prediction from the previous week but, again, a different Big Ten team. CFN likes the Cougs to face off against the Fighting Mike Rileys and the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

College Football Talk: Foster Farms Bowl

Our first appearance in the Santa Clara bowl game, slated for a date on the gridiron with the Indiana Hoosiers.

Sports Illustrated: Holiday Bowl

Another prediction for an appearance in San Diego, this one against the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Fox Sports: Holiday Bowl

I’m beginning to see a bit of a consensus here with Stewart Mandel also dropping the Cougs into San Diego against the Hawkeyes.

ESPN: Holiday Bowl (x2)

Both Brett McMurphy and Mark Schlabach put WSU in San Diego, just with different opponents (Iowa and Minnesota).

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We’ll update these predictions as more are published.