Bowl game frenzy: Who’s headed where? Pac-12 and Cal football projections

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Before the 2018 season, the NCAA ruled that college football teams must win at least six games to attain bowl game eligibility — a change that would make the postseason more competitive and prestigious. This regulation, however, now leaves 5-7 teams such as USC and Arizona on the bitter outside looking in with their seasons ending last weekend.

For the first time since 2015, Cal football is going bowling — not just as a team bonding event with hardwood floors and tacky footwear — along with fellow Pac-12 teams No. 10 Washington, No. 12 Washington State, No. 17 Utah, Oregon, Stanford and Arizona State.

Later this week, the College Football Playoff will announce all bowl game matchups, but until then, here are projections for the Pac-12’s matchups:

Rose Bowl, Jan. 1

Big Ten vs. Pac-12 — Pasadena, California

“The granddaddy of them all.” The oldest and most famous bowl game needs no introduction — the lights, the parade, the pizzazz all come with the iconic notion of the Rose Bowl. This Friday, Washington takes on Utah in the Pac-12 Championship. With neither team in contention to make the top four cutoff, the winner will punch a ticket to sunny Southern California.

Prediction: Washington vs. Ohio State

Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 1

At large vs. At large — Glendale, Arizona

While Washington State is not in the running to win the conference, the 10-2 Cougars have still had an impressive season behind the likes of head coach Mike Leach and beloved quarterback Gardner Minshew II (and his stylish ‘stache). It is possible that the Cougars will bypass a designated Pac-12 bowl if the selection committee decides in favor of sending Washington State to a more prestigious, at-large bowl such as the Fiesta Bowl.

Predictions: Washington State vs. UCF


Alamo Bowl, Dec. 28

Big 12 vs. Pac-12 — San Antonio, Texas

Should the committee decide not to send Washington State to the Fiesta Bowl, however, the Cougars could be headed to San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl. That is, if Washington State ultimately proves that it is more deserving than the Utah Utes, who are playing for a Pac-12 title.

Predictions: Washington State vs. West Virginia

Utah vs. Texas

Holiday Bowl, Dec. 31

Big Ten vs. Pac-12 — San Diego, California

Prediction: Iowa vs. Utah

Redbox Bowl, Dec. 31

Big Ten vs. Pac-12 — Santa Clara, California

Prediction: Minnesota vs. Oregon

Sun Bowl, Dec. 31

ACC vs. Pac-12 — El Paso, Texas

Should Cal beat Stanford this weekend, it is possible that the Bears will have outperformed the Sun Devils overall and will be headed to El Paso.

Predictions: Virginia vs. Arizona State

Boston College vs. Cal

Las Vegas Bowl, Dec. 15

Mountain West vs. Pac-12 — Las Vegas, Nevada

Prediction: Fresno State vs. Stanford

Cheez-It Bowl, Dec. 26

Big 12 vs. Pac-12 — Phoenix, Arizona

Should Cal lose to Stanford, the lesser Cheez-It bowl could be a more realistic possibility.

Predictions: Baylor vs. Cal

Fresno State vs. Cal

Christie Aguilar covers football. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @caguilarsports.