Two points should be noted in this week's version of bowl projections: Pac-12 bowl possibilities are dwindling, and respect for the Pac-12 may not be as poor as we thought.
Let's examine each:
---Point No. 1. The Pac-12 lost another bowl. The conference started the year with eight postseason tie-ins (nine if two Pac-12 teams earned berths in the New Year's Six Bowls). Now it has six.
The Pac-12's original bowl lineup:
One or two berths in New Year’s Six bowls: Rose (national semifinals); Sugar (national semifinals); Peach, Cotton, Fiesta; Orange.
Alamo Bowl vs. Big 12
Holiday Bowl vs. ACC
Las Vegas Bowl vs. SEC
Redbox Bowl vs. Big Ten
Sun Bowl vs. ACC
Independence Bowl vs. Army
LA Bowl vs. Mountain West
However, in August the Redbox Bowl in Santa Clara announced it will not have a bowl this year, and this week, the Holiday Bowl in San Diego also announced it will not hold its bowl this season.
Suddenly the eight Pac-12 bowl berths are down to six.
The Holiday Bowl is the fourth bowl to announce it will not be played this season, joining the Redbox, Bahamas and the Hawaii bowls. And the bowl cancellation parade may not be over.
Here is the order of selection of Pac-12 teams in the remaining six bowls, with the Alamo Bowl getting the first choice of a Pac-12 team after the New Year's Six bowl bids are announced:
--New Year's Six Bowl(s)
--Las Vegas Bowl
---Point No. 2. Four of the eight experts we cited project Oregon to be one of the four teams in the College Football Playoff.
What does that mean? Well, nothing technically since the Ducks will not play their first game for two weeks.
However, it might indicate something about the national perception of the Pac-12. Many of us on the West Coast assumed a Pac-12 team that wins all seven games this season is unlikely to be selected for the College Football Playoff because the football reputation of the conference is so poor these days. But several college football experts across the country apparently feel the Pac-12 champion will have done enough to be given serious consideration for a CFP berth.
Meanwhile, Cal's postseason destination at this early stage is still directed toward Los Angeles and the LA Bowl at $5 billion SoFi Stadium.
Here is a list of where the experts we cited expect Cal to end up in the postseason. You will note that CBS Sports, which did not have the Golden Bears in any bowls in its projections last week, puts Cal in a bowl this week:
ESPN (Mark Schlabach) -- Cal vs. Boise State, LA Bowl, SoFi Stadium, Inglewood (Bowl Tie-Ins: Pac-12 vs. MWC)
ESPN (Kyle Bonagura) -- Cal vs. Boise State, LA Bowl, SoFi Stadium, Inglewood (Bowl Tie-Ins: Pac-12 vs. MWC)
Athlon -- Cal vs. Boise State, LA Bowl, SoFi Stadium, Inglewood (Bowl Tie-Ins: Pac-12 vs. MWC)
CBS Sports -- Cal vs. San Diego State, LA Bowl, SoFi Stadium, Inglewood (Bowl Tie-Ins: Pac-12 vs. MWC)
Bleacher report (Kerry Miller)-- Cal vs. Boise State, LA Bowl, SoFi Stadium, Inglewood (Bowl Tie-Ins: Pac-12 vs. MWC)
Bleacher Report (Jake Rill) -- College Football Playoff pairings only
USA Today -- Cal vs. Kentucky, Las Vegas Bowl, Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas (Bowl Tie-Ins: Pac-12 vs. SEC)
College Football News -- Cal vs. Pittsburgh, Sun Bowl, Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, Texas (Bowl Tie-Ins: ACC vs. Pac-12)
Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53
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