Tom Smart, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — A year ago the Pac-12 Conference was embarrassed when it wasn't able to fill three of its bowl berths and had just four bowl-eligible teams.
This year, the league should get seven teams in bowls and even has a chance for eight, even though 8-2 USC is ineligible for a bowl game this year.
Right now six teams are bowl eligible — Oregon, Stanford, Washington, Arizona State, Utah and Cal. UCLA can get eligible with a victory over Colorado this week.
Washington State also has a chance to get bowl eligible if it beats Utah this week and rival Washington next week in he annual Apple Cup.
That would be amazing to get eight teams in bowls with one of its best teams ineligible.
So how would it all shake out?
If both Oregon and Stanford earn BCS berths, the next Pac-12 bowl berth is the Alamo Bowl, which will likely go to Washington.
The next choice is the Holiday Bowl. Arizona State has seemed like the logical choice there, until losing two straight games. But some experts have Utah projected to take that spot.
Whichever team out of Utah and ASU that doesn't go to the Holiday Bowl, the other is likely to go to the Sun Bowl.
Cal and UCLA appear ticketed for the Las Vegas and Kraft Hunger (San Francisco) bowls if the Bruins can win one more game.
That leaves the New Mexico Bowl, a new partner with the Pac-12, without a league representative. However if Washington State happens to get bowl eligible, the Cougars could get that berth.
PAC NOTES: Former Cottonwood High star Isi Sofele surpassed the 1,000-yard mark last week when he ran for 190 yards in a win over Oregon State. Sofele now has 1,029 yards rushing and ranks fourth in the league in rushing. ... Despite having the worst record in the league, Arizona is No. 1 in pass offense by a wide margin with 367.8 yards per game, nearly 50 yards ahead of No. 2 Washington State. ... Utah is last in passing with 170.2 yards per game. The Utes are also last in total defense at 307.3 yards per game. Now that he has played in enough games after being injured, Oregon's LaMichael James leads the nation in rushing at 150.88 per game. ... Washington quarterback Nick Montana, the son of Joe, threw his first touchdown pass for the Huskies last week in the final minute against USC.
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