Pac-12 Bowl Tie-ins
- Rose Bowl
- Alamo Bowl
- Holiday Bowl
- Sun Bowl
- Las Vegas Bowl
- Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl
- New Mexico Bowl
Stanford lost to Washington and to national title contender Notre Dame in overtime, but the Cardinal knocked off then-No. 2 USC and then-No. 2 Oregon on its way to an 11-2 mark. They still had to defeat UCLA twice in six days to make the Rose Bowl, but the Bruins fell both times.
Oregon (11-1) only lost once, but it was at the worst possible time. Falling to the Cardinal kept them out of the Pac-12 title game, and never really gave the Ducks a chance to overcome Alabama in the Bowl Championship Series rankings. As a result, Oregon heads to the consolation bowl (actually, the Fiesta Bowl) for a meeting with fellow near-miss upset victim Kansas State.
Oregon State was red hot before dropping three of its last six to finish 9-3. The Beavers earned the Alamo Bowl slot, where they will take on home-state favorite Texas. The different shade of orange involved might make for an interesting stadium mix, but the Longhorn shade figures to predominate.
UCLA (9-4) was much stronger than expected, and had a better year than their much-touted cross-town rivals at Southern Cal. But the back-to-back losses to Stanford cost them a shot at the Rose Bowl. They’ll settle for a trip to San Diego to face Big XII upset specialist Baylor in the Holiday Bowl.
Speaking of Southern Cal, the NFL-talent-laden Trojans certainly didn’t expect to be wrapping up their season with a game against 6-7 Georgia Tech (the Yellow Jackets sneaked into a bowl under an obscure rule related to teams that are 6-6 before losing conference title games). But USC (7-5) stumbled home, losing four of its last five, and fell far enough down the pecking order that a losing ACC team ended up on the other side of the field.
Unlike USC, Washington considered its 7-5 record to be a positive development. The Huskies end up in Las Vegas to face Mountain West champion Boise State.
Arizona State is another squad that’s pretty much OK with a 7-5 slate. San Francisco will host the Sun Devils and their Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl match with the Naval Academy.
Finally, Arizona (7-5) will have the honor of kicking off bowl season on Dec. 15 in the New Mexico Bowl against Nevada.