Year one of eliminating divisions for the Pac-12 Championship game and we’ve reached Peak Chaos for figuring out who gets to play the USC Trojans in Las Vegas next week. No fewer than three teams (the Washington Huskies, Oregon Ducks, and Utah Utes) can get there and the scenarios are absolutely mind bending. They all feature about a dozen “win and” along with “lose or”. That’s more thinking than I want to do on a short holiday week. Or any week really.
As far as the Washington State Cougars go, it complicates where they’ll be spending their postseason, albeit not much. Without knowing who will play the Trojans, whether the Trojans sneak into the CFP with some help and THEN whether the Pac-12 has multiple top-12 teams for New Years Six bowls ... it’s a little mind bending even still!
Lets take a look at where the prognosticators think the Cougs will end up come the end of next month. Based on this, you can probably point yourself to the southern portion of Nevada or California!
The Pac-12 bowls are also ranked a little differently this year with six tie ins plus one “wild card” seventh where ESPN will get a lot of say in where that particular team goes.
- The Rose Bowl Game vs. Big Ten Champion: 2:00 p.m., Jan. 2, 2023 on ESPN
- The Alamo Bowl vs. Big 12 No. 2: 6:00 p.m., Dec. 29 on ESPN
- The Holiday Bowl vs. ACC: 5:00 p.m., Dec. 28 on FOX
- The Las Vegas Bowl vs. SEC No. 4: 4:30 p.m., Dec. 17 on ABC
- The Sun Bowl vs. ACC or Notre Dame Fighting Irish: 11:00 a.m., Dec. 30 on CBS
- The LA Bowl vs. Mountain West Champion: 12:30 p.m., Dec. 17 on ABC
- One of the Armed Forces Bowl, First Responder Bowl, or Gasparilla Bowl
- Bowls #2-4 can “reach down” for a different team if they like the match-up better for whatever reason. For instance, if the Las Vegas Bowl preferred either the Oregon State Beavers or UCLA Bruins to the Utah Utes, they would be allowed to take either of those teams since they finished within a game of the Utes (as things stand now).
- The Sun and LA Bowls must select by order of finish.
- ESPN will take the seventh team and place in a game as they see fit.
Got all that? Hope so. Here’s where the Cougs stand:
ESPN: LA Bowl
Both of ESPN’s prognosticators like the Cougs to head to SoFi Stadium to play the Boise State Broncos, a game that would actually turn out a decent crowd! Wazzu has a pretty substantial alumni base in southern California and BSU fans just seem to be everywhere.
SI: Las Vegas Bowl
A 2015 Sun Bowl redux with the Miami Hurricanes? Miami fans and Wazzu fans in Las Vegas? The first time I can legitimately wonder if that town is ready!
CBS: LA Bowl
Put another one in the column for a trip to Inglewood and a visit with the Broncos from Not A State.
Athlon: LA Bowl
I’m beginning to detect a theme here! It’ll be really hard for WSU to vault much higher without two teams in the top-12 making some room for them to head higher.