Cal versus defending national champion LSU in a Las Vegas bowl game. That sounds like a pretty cool matchup for Golden Bears fans, who would love to see Cal quarterback Chase Garbers challenge a vaunted SEC defense. And one college football expert expects that matchup to happen.
And did the Oklahoma loss to Kansas State and Texas’ narrow escape against Texas Tech open the door for a Pac-12 team, namely Oregon or USC, to get into the College Football Playoff?
Of course, little is certain in college football this season.
As unusual as the college football season has been -- and will be -- it’s no surprise that the postseason is filled with uncertainty. The chaos will increase further this year because the NCAA is expected to approve a proposal to eliminate a requirement that teams must win a minimum number of games to be bowl-eligible.
Forty-three postseason games were scheduled for this season, but the usually reliable FB Schedules website lists 31 of those bowl games as not having a set date or time at the moment. The bowl total was reduced to 42 when the Redbox Bowl was canceled, eliminating a Bay Area venue for a Pac-12 team.
The start of the Big Ten and Pac-12 seasons are still weeks away, and as result of the uncertainty, USA Today, The Sporting News, 247Sports and ESPN are offering only partial bowl projections. They provide projected matchups for the New Year’s Six games, including the two national semifinal games, and some selected other games, and Cal is not included in any of their projections.
But The Sporting News projection has Oregon in the national semifinals, even though the Ducks won’t play a game until at least Nov. 6.
And Jerry Palm of CBS Sports also has Oregon in one of the national semifinal games.
Perhaps the Pac-12’s chances of reaching the four-team College Football Playoff are better than it seemed when the Pac-12 announced it would play just a six-game conference-only schedule before its conference championship game on Dec. 18.
Palm (CBS Sports) has one more prediction that would be music to the ears of Cal fans as he projects the Golden Bears to face LSU in the Las Vegas Bowl.
If Mike Leach’s Mississippi State offense can make mincemeat of a Tigers defense that helped LSU beat Clemson in last year’s national title game, why can’t Cal? Leach’s Washington State teams had little success against Justin Wilcox’s Cal defense the past three seasons.
I know, LSU lost a lot talent from last season’s team to the NFL, but it’s still LSU and it’s still the SEC.
An added feature to the Las Vegas Bowl is that it is currently scheduled to be played at the spectacular, brand-new Allegiant Stadium, which would have been the venue for the Golden Bears' orginal season opener against UNLV as well as the site of the Pac-12 championship game. The Cal-UNLV game was canceled, and the Pac-12 title game will be played at the home site of the division winner with the better record.
One drawback to that proposed Cal-LSU matchup:
The Las Vegas Bowl’s scheduled date at the moment is Dec. 21. That’s just two or three days after Cal’s final regular-season game. After the first six Pac-12 games are played and the conference championship matchup is determined, the other 10 teams will play a seventh game against a conference opponent the same weekend as the Pac-12 title game (Dec. 18-19). The Las Vegas Bowl website simply says, "The 29th edition of the Las Vegas Bowl will be played December 2020. Time: TBD"
Obviously, a lot of bowl rescheduling needs to be done before we can project much of anything for the postseason.
Cal could go to a lot of other bowls. College Football News projects the Golden Bears to face Army in the Liberty Bowl in Shreveport, La.
That does not have any of the pizzazz for an LSU-Cal bowl game
But we are way ahead of ourselves. Cal will not get a chance for its first win until the weekend of Nov. 6-7.
Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53
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