Pac-12 bowl selections: UW’s daunting assignment, major letdown for Oregon, Arizona wins again, good news for OSU and more

The Huskies are essentially a road team in the College Football Playoff

The Pac-12’s biggest day unfolded as expected, with Washington claiming the No. 2 seed in the playoff pairings, Oregon securing a spot in the Fiesta Bowl, and the remaining six matchups falling into place without incident.

Immediate reaction…

  1. The Pac-12 championship game was won by the correct team, allowing the conference to end its playoff drought.

Given the SEC’s recent developments, the Hotline believes Oregon would have been eliminated from the playoffs if the Ducks had defeated Washington on Friday night in Las Vegas.

Of course, we’ll never know. However, based on the selection committee’s rankings and reasoning, Alabama appears to be on its way to the semifinals after defeating the No. 1 team (Georgia) in its own backyard (Atlanta).

And if Alabama was in, Texas had to be because of their head-to-head victory in Tuscaloosa.

That would have left one spot open for Florida State, which is undefeated.

Without a victory over Georgia, the brand power of the SEC, an important head-to-head win over another playoff team, and an undefeated season, the Ducks would have given the committee an easy out.

Our theory will not be well received in Eugene, but from the standpoint of the collective — and the $6 million payday that comes with a playoff berth — the right team won the final Pac-12 championship game.

  1. Washington received the No. 2 seed as a reward for its 13-0 season, as well as a trip to the Sugar Bowl to face No. 3 Texas.

The drive from Austin to New Orleans takes seven hours.

It’s essentially a road game for the Huskies.

They would have done better to drop to the fourth seed and face Michigan in the Rose Bowl. The playoff committee, unlike the NCAA Tournament selection committee, does not have the option of moving teams up and down seed lines to account for crowd advantages and disadvantages.

Michigan received protection as the No. 1 seed — the Wolverines will face Alabama in the Rose Bowl rather than New Orleans — but Washington had no recourse.

The Huskies will face Steve Sarkisian, their former head coach, and Pete Kwiatkowski, their former defensive coordinator, who have led the Longhorns’ resurgence.

Some current players were on the roster when Kwiatkowski last ran the UW defense in 2020, but he was long gone by the time Kalen DeBoer arrived. In that regard, we don’t see a material advantage for the Longhorns.

  1. In the Fiesta Bowl, Oregon will face No. 23 Liberty, the worst matchup in the New Year’s Six lineup.

The eighth-ranked Ducks had a fantastic season, only losing two games by three points. But we’re not going to try to put lipstick on this matchup. It’s excruciating.

The big question is how many Oregon draft-eligible players choose not to play. Our guess is that they are all of them.

  1. Based on the Pac-12’s selection policy, Arizona was locked into the Alamo Bowl, with the only unknown being the Big 12 representative.

The matchup, like so much else about the 14th-ranked Wildcats’ breakout season, could not have gone any better. In San Antonio, they will face No. 12 Oklahoma.

As an added bonus, the kickoff (December 28) does not clash with an Arizona basketball game.

  1. Utah will compete against Northwestern in the Las Vegas Bowl. That’s a better matchup than we expected: Maryland looked like a legitimate threat.

For the ninth consecutive season (excluding 2020), the Utes are bowl-eligible. They have, however, lost four straight games, including the last two Rose Bowls.

  1. It took longer than expected to finalize the Holiday and Sun Bowl matchups, not due to Pac-12 confusion, but because the ACC’s bowl partners were reportedly at odds over which teams would go where.

The Holiday Bowl, as expected, chose USC, who will face Louisville, leaving the Sun Bowl for Oregon State.

The 19th-ranked Beavers appeared to be headed for the Holiday until recently, when coach Jonathan Smith’s deflating departure dimmed their prospects for ticket sales, hotel bookings, and overall competitiveness.

However, OSU received its first break in weeks when the ACC announced its opponent: Notre Dame.

The No. 16 Irish will make their first appearance in El Paso since 2010, adding weight to the event and providing fans with a reason to travel from Corvallis.

  1. The LA Bowl went with the home team, choosing UCLA over Cal.

The Bruins will face Mountain West champions Boise State, and we will keep a close eye on the atmosphere in Westwood over the next few weeks.

For starters, the Bruins kept unpopular coach Chip Kelly.

Dante Moore, a freshman quarterback, then entered the transfer portal.

D’Anton Lynn, Kelly’s defensive coordinator, was then hired away by USC.

UCLA fans were in shock after the triple whammy.

How many people will travel to SoFi Stadium for the game? Don’t be surprised if Boise State has the advantage of a home crowd.

  1. Finally, Cal will travel to the Independence Bowl to face Texas Tech, which has many questions about its offensive personnel.

Jake Spavital, the playcaller, recently accepted the same position at Baylor, and his potential replacement, tight ends coach Tim Plough, accepted the head coaching position at UC Davis.

The Bears have promoted offensive line coach Mike Bloesch to playcaller, with the bowl game providing a preview of what’s to come from Cal in the ACC next season.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply