Mike Sorensen: Pac-12 may get more than its share of bowl berths

Published: Sunday, Oct. 27 2013 7:42 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE — Just three years ago, what was then known as the Pac-10 Conference only had four bowl-eligible teams and couldn’t fulfill its bowl obligations. The Sun Bowl, Las Vegas Bowl and Fight Hunger Bowl had to fill their slots with non-Pac-10 teams.

This year, however, the Pac-12 could have an opposite problem with too many bowl-eligible teams.

Right now it looks like the league could have as many as 10 bowl-eligible teams to fill seven bowl commitments (eight if two league teams make BCS bowls). With a 30-6 nonconference record, the league has a lot of winning teams and most are heading toward the six-win minimum to be eligible for a bowl.

Oregon, Stanford and Oregon State already have clinched bowl spots, while five schools — Arizona State, Arizona, Washington, UCLA and USC — are just a win away with five wins. Two schools, Utah and Washington State, each have four wins with four games left.

Even Colorado, with a 3-4 record, has a shot at a bowl. The Buffs have yet to win in Pac-12 play but have league bottom feeder Cal at home as well as USC before playing at Utah in the season finale. The Buffs also have a game at Washington this week.

Only Cal, at 1-7 under first-year coach Sonny Dykes, is out of the bowl running among Pac-12 schools.

The guess from here is that nine Pac-12 schools will end up going bowling. The eight with at least five wins will certainly get to six wins and the ninth school would be the winner of the Utah-Washington State game on Nov. 23. Both the Utes and Cougars have three other chances to get another win, although WSU has a tougher road with Arizona State, Arizona and Washington, while Utah gets Colorado at home to finish the season along with No. 25 Arizona State and No. 2 Oregon.

If the Pac-12 does get nine bowl-eligible teams, it’s likely another spot will open up in a bowl that doesn’t have a bowl-eligible team from its appointed conference. Otherwise, a 6-6 team from the Pac-12 may have to stay home for the holidays.

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Lindon, UT

Right now (10/27) the top 8 PAC 12 teams are:
OR 8-0
STAN 7-1
OR St 6-2
AZ St 5-2
AZ 5-2
UCLA 5-2
WA 5-3
USC 5-3

It looks like, based on the above records, BYU's opponent would be AZ, AZ St, or UCLA, as the three are tied for 4th place. So whichever of those teams ends up 6th would be the opponent. Of course, there are several games left and things could change. We'll have to wait and see.

bountiful, ut

The better list would be:

Oregon 5-0
Stanford 5-1
Oregon State 4-1
ASU 3-1
USC 2-2
UCLA 2-2
Arizona 2-2
Washington 2-3
Washington St 2-3
Utah 1-4
Colorado 0-4
California 0-5

Based on these records, who is really the most likely 6th seed? Keeping in mind all the games still to be played and the effect they will have on the list as it is today? All the state and city schools will play each other. Based on that game alone the standings will either be solidified or modified accordingly. It is too early to even contemplate who the 6th seed is.

Lindon, UT

You are right. My list is all games. Yours is the team's PAC 12 records, which is the criteria that will be used to determine who will be the 6th seed. Thanks for the correction.

Redmond, WA

Pretty sure the PAC-12 teams are not seeded for the postseason. Rather, various bowls have contracted for the conference champ, then first pick, second pick, and so forth, for which pick they can select from any bowl-eligible team. "Sixth seed" is actually sixth pick, if I'm not mistaken.

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