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Pac-12 Bowl Projections: USC, Utah, Oregon Picked for Rose Bowl

UCLA plays Utah on Saturday in a game that will help determine the conference pecking order

A scrum at the top of the Pac-12 standings involving USC, UCLA, Utah, UCLA and Oregon leaves experts guessing which team will represent the conference in the Rose Bowl.

We cited 10 reputable sites that posted bowl projections this week, and five of them picked USC as the Pac-12's Rose Bowl team, four selected Utah for that spot and one chose Oregon.

UCLA (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) was not chosen by any of the 10 sites to play its postseason game at its home stadium in Pasadena, but if the Bruins beat Utah on Saturday, they will no doubt jump up to that spot in some bowl projections. 

Michigan is selected as the Rose Bowl opponent by eight of the nine college football experts who selected a Big Ten team for that berth, so there is consensus on that side of the Rose Bowl equation.

But the next three weeks will tell us a lot about the Pac-12 pecking order.

The UCLA-Utah game this week will provide an initial assumption about Rose Bowl contenders, and after a bye on Oct. 15 the Bruins face Oregon on Oct. 22. .

USC's Rose Bowl bid will depend on how it does against Washington State (4-1) this week and against Utah the following week. If USC (5-0, 3-0 Pac-12) wins both games, it will become the Rose Bowl front-runner and move back into the College Football Playoff discussion.

If Utah beats both UCLA and USC over the next two weeks, the Utes (4-1, 2-0) will be the Pac-12's Rose Bowl favorite and will remain in contention for a CFP berth.

Oregon (4-1, 2-0) won't prove much if it beats Arizona this weekend, but after a bye on Oct. 15, the Ducks face UCLA on Oct. 22, and that meeting may determine Oregon's Rose Bowl fate.

Six of the 10 experts have Cal in a bowl game, and one (USA Today) places the Golden Bears in the Birmingham Bowl, a game that typically pairs an SEC team with an American conference team if both have enough bowl-eligible teams.

The sites and dates of bowls with Pac-12 tie-ins are listed at the end of the story.

Here are the bowl projections of our nine experts:

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ESPN (Kyle Bonagura)

Rose Bowl – USC vs. Michigan

Alamo Bowl – Utah vs. Kansas

Las Vegas Bowl – Oregon vs. Texas A&M

Holiday Bowl – UCLA vs. North Carolina State

Sun Bowl – Washington State vs. North Carolina

LA Bowl – Washington vs. Air Force

First Responder Bowl – Cal vs. BYU

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ESPN (Mark Schlabach)

Rose Bowl – USC vs. Michigan

Cotton Bowl – Oregon vs. Cincinnati

Alamo Bowl – Utah vs. Baylor

Las Vegas Bowl – UCLA vs. Arkansas

Holiday Bowl – Washington State vs. Florida State

Sun Bowl – Washington vs. Pittsburgh

LA Bowl – Cal vs. Air Force

Independence Bowl – Oregon State vs. Iowa State

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Action Network (Brett McMurphy)

Rose Bowl – USC vs. Penn State

Cotton Bowl – Utah vs. Cincinnati

Alamo Bowl – Oregon vs. TCU

Las Vegas Bowl – Washington vs. LSU

Holiday Bowl – Washington State vs. Wake Forest

Sun Bowl – UCLA vs. Syracuse

LA Bowl – Arizona vs. Air Force

Frisco Bowl – Oregon State vs. Houston

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CBS Sports (Jerry Palm)

Rose Bowl – Utah vs. Michigan

Cotton Bowl – Oregon vs. Coastal Carolina

Alamo Bowl – USC vs. Oklahoma

Las Vegas Bowl – Washington vs. Mississippi State

Holiday Bowl – UCLA vs. Florida State

Sun Bowl – Oregon State vs. Duke

LA Bowl – Washington State vs. Fresno State

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USA Today (Erick Smith)

Rose Bowl -- Utah v. Michigan

Cotton Bowl -- USC vs. Cincinnati

Alamo Bowl -- UCLA vs. Kansas State

Las Vegas Bowl -- Washington vs. Florida

Holiday Bowl -- Oregon vs. Notre Dame

Sun Bowl -- Oregon State vs. Pittsburgh

LA Bowl -- Washington State vs. Air Force

First Responder Bowl -- Washington State vs. Kansas

Birmingham Bowl -- Cal vs. Central Florida

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247 Sports (Brad Crawford)

Rose Bowl – USC vs. Michigan

Cotton Bowl – Utah vs. Cincinnati

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Alamo Bowl – Oregon vs. Baylor

Las Vegas Bowl – UCLA vs. Mississippi State

Holiday Bowl – Washington vs. Syracuse

Sun Bowl – Oregon State vs. Florida State

LA Bowl – Washington State vs. Fresno State

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The Sporting News (Bill Bender)

Rose Bowl – USC vs. Michigan

Cotton Bowl – Utah vs. Coastal Carolina

Alamo Bowl – Oregon vs. TCU

Las Vegas Bowl – Washington vs. Texas A&M

Holiday Bowl – UCLA vs. Syracuse

Sun Bowl – Oregon State vs. Florida State

LA Bowl – Arizona vs. UNLV

First Responder Bowl – Washington State vs. Kansas State

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College Football News (via Yahoo)

Rose Bowl – Oregon vs. Michigan

Cotton Bowl – USC vs. Cincinnati

Alamo Bowl – UCLA vs. Texas

Las Vegas Bowl – Washington vs. Mississippi State

Holiday Bowl – Utah vs. Notre Dame

Sun Bowl – Oregon State vs. Pittsburgh

LA Bowl – Washington State vs. San Jose State

First Responder Bowl – Cal vs. Iowa State

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Athlon Sports (Steven Lassan)

Rose Bowl – Utah vs. Michigan

Cotton Bowl – USC vs. Cincinnati

Alamo Bowl – UCLA vs. Kansas State

Las Vegas Bowl – Oregon vs. LSU

Holiday Bowl – Washington vs. North Carolina

Sun Bowl – Washington State vs. Pittsburgh

LA Bowl – Oregon State vs. Air Force

First Responder Bowl – Cal vs. TCU

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San Jose Mercury News (Jon Wilner)

(Pac-12 representative only)

Rose Bowl -- Utah

Alamo Bowl -- USC

Holiday Bowl -- Oregon

Las Vega Bowl -- UCLA

Sun Bowl -- Washington

LA Bowl -- Washington State

First Responder Bowl or  Armed Forces Bowl or Gasparilla Bowl -- Cal

At-Large Bowl -- Oregon State

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Here are the bowls with Pac-12 tie-ins, listed in their pecking order:

College Football Playoff semifinals (if a Pac-12 team finishes among the top four teams in the final College Football Playoff rankings): Peach Bowl, Dec. 31, 1 p.m. Pacific time or 5 p.m. Pacific time, Atlanta Ga., ESPN, and Fiesta Bowl, Dec. 31, 1 p.m. Pacific time or 5 p.m. Pacific time, Glendale, Ariz., ESPN.

1. Rose Bowl: Jan. 2, 2 p.m. Pacific time, Pasadena, Calif., ESPN – Pac-12 vs. Big Ten.

1A. New Year's Six Bowls -- A Pac-12 team could qualify for one of the other three New Year's Six Bowls -- Orange Bowl on Dec. 30, Cotton Bowl on Jan. 2, Sugar Bowl on Dec. 31.

2. Alamo Bowl: Dec. 29, 6 p.m. Pacific time, San Antonio, Texas, ESPN – Pac-12 vs. Big 12.

3. Las Vegas Bowl: Dec. 17, 4:30 p.m. Pacific time, Las Vegas, ABC – Pac-12 vs. SEC

4. Holiday Bowl: Dec. 28, 5 p.m. Pacific time, San Diego, FOX/FS1 – Pac-12 vs. ACC

5. Sun Bowl: Dec. 30, 11 a.m. Pacific time, El Paso, Texas, CBS – Pac-12 vs. Notre Dame/ACC

6. LA Bowl: Dec. 17, 12:30 p.m. Pacific time, Inglewood, Calif., ABC – Pac-12 vs. Mountain West.

First Responder Bowl -- The Pac-12 might occupy a spot in this Dec. 27 bowl in University Park, Texas, against a team from the ACC, American Athletic or Big 12.

Gasparilla Bowl -- The Pac-12 might fill an opening in this Dec. 23 bowl in Tampa, Fla., against a team from the Big 12, ACC or SEC.

Armed Forces Bowl -- The Pac-12 could get a berth in this Dec. 22 bowl in Fort Worth Texas.

NOTE: The Rose Bowl, Alamo Bowl, Holiday Bowl and Las Vegas Bowl have the option of passing over one team in the Pac-12 standings for another team if those teams are not separated  more than one game in the conference standings. The Sun Bowl and LA Bowl have no such option and must make their selection based on order of finish in the conference standings.

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Cover photo of Utah's Jaylen Dixon is by Rob Gray, USA TODAY Sports

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