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Bowl projections 2019: With the Apple Cup loss, it’s Vegas or Phoenix

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Where the Cougs end up rides mostly on the result of the Pac-12 Championship game and the subsequent CFP ranking.

Exploring The Las Vegas Strip Photo by George Rose/Getty Images

I, for one, blacked out for like four hours in a post-Thanksgiving food coma on Friday afternoon. Nothing happened, right? Good! Now that we have that out of the way ...

The Washington State Cougars are bowl eligible for the fifth consecutive season and for the sixth time in the seven, both extensions of school records. Though the likely destination for their postseason game isn’t quite as prestigious as the last few seasons, they still get those valuable bowl practices ahead of another spring and fall with a quarterback competition.

Last season, everything was firmly in their control. This season ... not so much! Though the bowl picture is clearer today than it was last week, there’s still plenty of uncertainty before next Sunday’s bowl selections and it’s almost all to do with the Pac-12 Championship game and the College Football Playoff committee.

Thanks to this weekend’s results, we know there will only be seven bowl eligible Pac-12 teams. Since WSU is the lowest ranked of the bowl eligible squads based on conference records, we also know there’s really only two places the Cougs can end up: Las Vegas or Phoenix. So depending on your postseason preference, you have two distinct rooting interests this weekend:

For Las Vegas: The Utah Utes wax the Oregon Ducks in the Pac-12 title game PLUS the Baylor Bears sneak past the Oklahoma Sooners in the Big 12 title game PLUS the LSU Tigers make easy work of the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC title game. That would put Utah, in all likelihood, in the CFP and Oregon in the Rose Bowl and open up the Las Vegas Bowl to select the Cougs.

For Phoenix: The Ducks beat the Utes comfortably, dropping Utah out of CFP contention and sending the Ducks to the Rose Bowl.

And of course, there’s always the possibility that the Sooners vault the Utes no matter what and this is all a moot point. Or Utah wins and Oregon gets a New Years Six invite anyway. Even with everything we figured out, it’s pretty complex still!

Here’s Jeff’s great write up from 2015 on the bowl selection process (again, nothing has changed), and how things stand as of right now:

Week 15 Pac-12 Bowl Standings

Team Pac-12 Overall
Team Pac-12 Overall
Utah 8-1 11-1
Oregon 8-1 10-2
USC 7-2 8-4
ASU 4-5 7-5
Cal 4-5 7-5
UW 4-5 7-5
WSU 3-6 6-6

And a reminder of the bowl selection order with dates and times for each, all times are Pacific:

  1. Rose Bowl: January 1, 2 p.m. on ESPN vs. Big Ten
  2. Alamo Bowl: December 31, 4:30 p.m. on ESPN vs. Big 12
  3. Holiday Bowl: December 27, 5 p.m. on FS1 vs. Big Ten
  4. Redbox Bowl: December 30, 1 p.m. on FOX vs. Big Ten
  5. Sun Bowl: December 31, 11 a.m. on CBS vs. ACC/Notre Dame
  6. Las Vegas Bowl: December 21, 4:30 p.m. on ABC vs. Mountain West
  7. Cheez-It Bowl: December 27, 7:15 p.m. on ESPN vs. Big 12

So, got all that? Good! Here are this week’s bowl projections for the Cougs:

SB Nation: Cheez-It Bowl

The mothership believes in that “Sooners vault the Utes” anyway theory with the Ducks headed to San Antonio. They also believe in Baylor jumping into a New Years Six bowl so that would put the San Diego State Aztecs in this game which ... no thank you.

CBS: Las Vegas Bowl

There’s that “Oregon wins and Utah makes it to the New Years Six anyway” theory! Jerry Palm also believes the Boise State Broncos don’t do enough to get into a NY6 game so they’ll be in Vegas to run roughshod over the Wazzu defense.

College Football News: Las Vegas Bowl

This is the literal dream matchup for yours truly: in Vegas and against the Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors. The good news for Sam Boyd Stadium is once the scoreboard breaks, they won’t need to replace it anyway since they’re tearing it down ... I think.

ESPN: Las Vegas Bowl or Cheez-It Bowl

Once again, the difference between Utah making it to the CFP and not making it.

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We’ll update this as more projections become available.