Pac-10 Week 13: Checking Probabilities

Last week's games went well, at least according to my picks. While a few people mentioned to me being surprised I still chose Oregon State over SC, the Beavers came out ready to play, as if their season was on the line. That's good, because it was. Last week's 3-0 pushed me to 51-16 on the season (.761).

Now with two games left in the season, it's time to talk about bowls. The Pac-10 has ties to six bowl games, in descending order of conference finish:

Rose Bowl
Alamo Bowl
Holiday Bowl
Sun Bowl
Las Vegas Bowl
Fight Hunger Bowl (seriously)

Teams need six wins to be bowl-eligible. If the Pac-10 doesn't have six teams with six wins, they lose the berths. As of today, the league has only three teams bowl-eligible: Oregon, Stanford, and Arizona. USC has seven wins, but has NCAA sanctions not allowing them to go to a bowl game this season or next.

With two games left (for most), Cal, Oregon State, Washington, and UCLA each have a shot at a bowl bid. Washington State and Arizona State have been eliminated.

Cal and Washington play this week. If Washington wins, Cal's season is over. If Cal wins, the Huskies will not be able to get to six wins, so this is basically an elimination game. If Washington wins, they have to then beat Washington State in the Apple Cup to secure a bowl bid.

Oregon State must win either at Stanford this weekend or next week at home against Oregon to make it to a bowl game. Ouch, considering those teams are ranked 6th and 1st respectively in the BCS.

UCLA must win this week at Arizona State and then beat USC at home to become bowl eligible.

So how will all of this break down? We could know by Saturday evening. If Washington, UCLA, and Oregon State all lose this week - see below - that's it. It will take an upset by any of those teams to make this a little more interesting.

How do I think it breaks down? I see Cal winning and the rest of them losing this week. That means the Pac-10 will lose at least two bowl berths this year. Why at least? If Oregon makes it to the national title game, that's another one. Even if Stanford gets chosen for the Rose Bowl (no guarantees there), it would mean three Pac-10 bowl bids will be filled by another conference's team.

The conference put a lot of work into justifying six bowl bids...and in it's first year it won't fill them all. Oops.


Tier 1: Oregon

Tier 2: Stanford

Tier 3: Arizona, Cal, USC, Oregon State

Tier 4: Washington, UCLA, Washington State, Arizona State

Stanford has been dominant this year and after the way they beat Zona last week they've proven they are better than just about everyone else. Oregon State, while losers to three of the teams in the last tier, has also beat the other three on the tier they are on. Can anyone explain that? I sure can't.


On to this week's schedule - two games on Friday this week. As always, all game times are Pacific time, followed by the network and the pick. Also, the network and whether or not it's on TV is for Portland - some games may be televised regionally, so if you live in a home market, check your local listings. Rankings are in parentheses (AP, USA Today).


12:30pm - UCLA at Arizona State, Fox Sports Northwest - ARIZONA STATE
4pm - Arizona (20, 20) at Oregon (1, 1), ESPN - OREGON


12:30pm - Washington at California, Fox Sports Northwest - CALIFORNIA
4:30pm - Oregon State (37t, NR) at Stanford (7, 8), Versus - STANFORD
5pm - Notre Dame at USC (29, *), ABC - USC

* USC is not eligible for the USA Today Coaches Poll because of NCAA sanctions.

Washington State is off this week.

I'd love to pick the Beavers this week after how they thoroughly dominated SC, but the Cardinal are playing on another level.


In the race for the national championship game berth Auburn, TCU, and Boise State remain undefeated.

Auburn faces a serious test by visiting Alabama in the 2010 edition of the Iron Bowl. Ranked 11th, the Crimson Tide would love to knock their rival out of the BCS title game - and possibly out of a BCS game altogether. This game will be Friday at 11:30am on CBS and should be quite good. I'm giving Bama the edge by virtue of playing at home.

Boise State faces their final test of the season (not final game, just final test) with a visit to Nevada. Remember them, the team who decimated the Cal Bears earlier in the year? This game will be at 7:30pm on Friday on ESPN. It should be entertaining, but the Broncos should win.

TCU visits New Mexico at 1pm on Versus on Saturday. Yes, the same New Mexico Oregon hung 72 points on in their opener. It's a safe bet TCU wins.

If Auburn does lose, will Boise State step into the #2 spot in the BCS? Or TCU? Or will something truly wacky happen?


Our little pups was quite happy with Oregon State's performance last week. And while I'm not holding my breath for a Beaver win in Palo Alto this Saturday, she is very confident.

Should be a good one!

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