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Pac-12 Bowl Projections: Oregon Looking Good for College Football Playoff Berth

Ducks have more support than the Huskies for a berth in the national semifinals even though Washington moved up to No. 4 in the CFP rankings this week. Three of the 13 experts we cite predict Cal will be in a bowl game.
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We're getting down to the nitty-gritty for bowl berths, and Oregon and Washington are both getting support for a spot in the College Football Playoff based on the bowl projections of 13 reputable websites that we cite.

However, there is a paradox. The Ducks are getting a lot more support from the experts than the Huskies, even though Washington moved up to No. 4 in the CFP rankings released Tuesday and would get a berth in the national semifinals if the selection were made today. Florida State dropped to fifth in the CFP rankings, with Oregon sixth.

Nonetheless eight of the 13 sites predict that Oregon will be one of the four teams in the national semifinals, while just three believe Washington will be the Pac-12 team in the College Football Playoff. Only two of the 13 sites had no Pac-12 team in the CFP.

Oregon and Washington may settle it on the field. If Oregon beats Oregon State on Friday, the Ducks will play Washington in the Pac-12 championship, with the winner likely to get a berth in the College Football Playoff. That assumes Washington State won't beat Washington on Saturday, putting the Huskies' CFP hopes in serious jeopardy.

Florida State is adding confusion to the projections because the Seminoles are unbeaten but will be without quarterback Jordan Travis for the rest of the season. 

Cal (5-6) needs to beat UCLA (7-4) in Pasadena on Saturday night to be bowl-eligible, but three experts -- Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury-News, Kyle Bonagura of ESPN and Bill Bender of The Sporting News -- project the Golden Bears to get a berth in the Independence Bowl. Bonagura predicts Cal's opponent will be Iowa State, while Bender puts Colorado State as Cal's foe in that December 16 bowl game in Shreveport, Louisiana. Wilner did not name a potential Cal opponent.

Here are the bowl projections for Pac-12 teams as well as the two CFP games by the 13 college football experts we cite.  (A list of the Pac-12's bowl affiliations appears at the bottom of this story.)

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ESPN (Kyle Bonagura)

Rose Bowl (national CFP semifinals) – Washington vs. Michigan

Sugar Bowl (national CFP semifinals) – Georgia vs. Florida State

Fiesta Bowl – Oregon vs. Penn State

Alamo Bowl – Arizona vs. Oklahoma

Las Vegas Bowl – Utah vs. Maryland

Holiday Bowl – Oregon State vs. North Carolina

Sun Bowl – USC vs. Boston College

LA Bowl – UCLA vs. UNLV

Independence Bowl – Cal vs. Iowa State

Comment:

If Washington wins out, the Huskies would be the clear No. 3. They just beat the No. 11 team in the CFP rankings, Oregon State, on the road and, in this scenario, would likely add a win against the top-ranked one-loss team in Oregon. (The Ducks go to the Pac-12 title game unless they lose and Arizona beats Arizona State.) If the Ducks win out, they would probably land at No. 3 or No. 4, but could get left out depending on how things break elsewhere.

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ESPN (Mark Schlabach)

Rose Bowl (national CFP semifinals) – Oregon vs. Michigan

Sugar Bowl (national CFP semifinals) – Georgia vs. Texas

Fiesta Bowl – Washington vs. Penn State

Alamo Bowl – Arizona vs. Oklahoma

Las Vegas Bowl – UCLA vs. Maryland

Holiday Bowl – Oregon State vs. Clemson

Sun Bowl – Utah vs. Duke

LA Bowl – USC vs. UNLV

Comment:

I went with Oregon as my No. 3 team after the Ducks defeated Arizona State 49-13 on the road. The Ducks can clinch a spot in the Pac-12 championship game by beating Oregon State in their rivalry game Friday night or if Arizona loses at Arizona State the next day. I'm projecting that Oregon beats the Beavers at home and then Washington in the Pac-12 championship game.

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The Sporting News (Bill Bender)

Rose Bowl (national CFP semifinals) – Washington vs. Michigan

Sugar Bowl (national CFP semifinals) – Georgia vs. Florida State

Fiesta Bowl – Oregon vs. Alabama

Alamo Bowl – Oregon State vs. Oklahoma State

Las Vegas Bowl – Utah vs. Illinois

Holiday Bowl – USC vs. Miami-Fla.

Sun Bowl – UCLA vs. North Carolina State

LA Bowl – Arizona vs. Air Force

Independence Bowl – Cal vs. Colorado State

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CBS Sports (Jerry Palm)

Rose Bowl (national CFP semifinals) – Michigan vs. Florida State

Sugar Bowl (national CFP semifinals) – Oregon vs. Georgia

Cotton Bowl – Washington vs. Alabama

Alamo Bowl – Arizona vs. Oklahoma

Las Vegas Bowl – UCLA vs. Illinois

Holiday Bowl – Oregon State vs. Clemson

Sun Bowl – Utah vs. Miami-Fla.

LA Bowl – USC vs. UNLV

Comment:

There is finally a significant change to this season's bowl projections, and it has nothing to do with a team losing. Oregon, a 49-13 winner at Arizona State, has replaced Texas as the No. 4 team in the College Football Playoff, now projected to be Georgia's opponent in the Sugar Bowl semifinal.

Three weeks into the CFP Rankings, it is apparent that there is nothing Texas can do to give the committee a reason to jump them over Oregon should the Ducks win the Pac-12 Championship Game. The win at Alabama is not carrying enough weight to hold off Oregon.

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San Jose Mercury-News (Jon Wilner)

(Pac--12 representatives only)

Rose Bowl (national CFP semifinals) -- Washington

Fiesta Bowl -- Oregon

Alamo Bowl -- Arizona

Las Vegas Bowl -- USC

Holiday Bowl -- Oregon State

Sun Bowl -- Utah

LA Bowl -- UCLA

Independence Bowl -- Cal

Comment on Cal:

Plenty of uncertainty here, not only with Cal’s postseason prospects but also the Pac-12’s ability to fill this spot with anyone. If losses mount at the top of the conference and only one team reaches the New Year’s Six, then everyone slides down one rung and there will be options for Shreveport.

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Action Network (Brett McMurphy)

Rose Bowl (national CFP semifinals) – Oregon vs. Michigan

Sugar Bowl (national CFP semifinals) – Georgia vs. Florida State

Fiesta Bowl – Washington vs. Alabama

Alamo Bowl – Arizona vs. Oklahoma

Las Vegas Bowl – Utah vs. Nebraska

Holiday Bowl – Oregon State vs. Clemson

Sun Bowl – USC vs. Virginia Tech

LA Bowl – UCLA vs. UNLV

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The Athletic (Stewart Mandel and Scott Dochterman)

Rose Bowl (national CFP semifinals) – Oregon vs. Michigan

Sugar Bowl (national CFP semifinals) – Georgia vs. Florida State

Fiesta Bowl – Washington vs. Alabama

Alamo Bowl – Arizona vs. Oklahoma

Las Vegas Bowl – Utah vs. Maryland

Holiday Bowl – Oregon State vs. Clemson

Sun Bowl – USC vs. Miami-Fla.

LA Bowl – UCLA vs. UNLV

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USA Today (Erick Smith)

Rose Bowl (national CFP semifinals) – Oregon vs. Ohio State

Sugar Bowl (national CFP semifinals) – Georgia vs. Florida State

Fiesta Bowl – Washington vs. Penn State

Alamo Bowl – Oregon State vs. Oklahoma

Las Vegas Bowl – Utah vs. Nebraska

Holiday Bowl – UCLA vs. North Carolina

Sun Bowl – Arizona vs. Miami-Fla.

LA Bowl – USC vs. Fresno State

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College Football News

Rose Bowl (national CFP semifinals) – Texas vs. Michigan

Sugar Bowl (national CFP semifinals) – Florida State vs. Alabama

Fiesta Bowl – Washington vs. Penn State

Peach Bowl – Oregon vs. Ohio State

Alamo Bowl – Arizona vs. Oklahoma

Las Vegas Bowl – USC vs. Minnesota

Holiday Bowl – Oregon State vs. Clemson

Sun Bowl – Utah vs. North Carolina State

LA Bowl – UCLA vs. UNLV

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247 Sports (Brad Crawford)

Rose Bowl (national CFP semifinals) – Florida State vs. Ohio State

Sugar Bowl (national CFP semifinals) – Oregon vs. Georgia

Fiesta Bowl – Washington vs. Alabama

Alamo Bowl – Arizona vs. Oklahoma

Las Vegas Bowl – USC vs. Maryland

Holiday Bowl – Oregon State vs. Clemson

Sun Bowl – Utah vs. Miami-Fla.

LA Bowl – UCLA vs. UNLV

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Athlon Sports (Steven Lassan)

Rose Bowl (national CFP semifinals) – Michigan vs. Florida State

Sugar Bowl (national CFP semifinals) – Oregon vs. Georgia

Cotton Bowl – Washington vs. Alabama

Alamo Bowl – Arizona vs. Oklahoma

Las Vegas Bowl – UCLA vs. Illinois

Holiday Bowl – Oregon State vs. Clemson

Sun Bowl – Utah vs. Miami-Fla.

LA Bowl – USC vs. UNLV

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College Football Network (Oliver Hodgkinson)

Rose Bowl (national CFP semifinals) – Georgia vs. Florida State

Sugar Bowl (national CFP semifinals) – Michigan vs. Ohio State

Peach Bowl – Oregon vs. Missouri

Cotton Bowl – Washington vs. Texas

Alamo Bowl – Arizona vs. Oklahoma

Las Vegas Bowl – Utah vs. Northwestern

Holiday Bowl – Oregon State vs. Notre Dame

Sun Bowl – USC vs. North Carolina

LA Bowl – UCLA vs. UNLV

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Fox Sports (Bryan Fischer) 

Rose Bowl (national CFP semifinals) – Oregon vs. Michigan

Sugar Bowl (national CFP semifinals) – Georgia vs. Texas

Fiesta Bowl – Washington vs. Missouri

Alamo Bowl – Arizona vs. Oklahoma State

Las Vegas Bowl – Utah vs. Iowa

Holiday Bowl – USC vs. Clemson

Sun Bowl – Oregon State vs. Virginia Tech

LA Bowl -- UCLA vs. UNLV

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Pac-12 bowl affiliations:

College Football Playoff Semifinal – Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif., January 1) or Sugar Bowl (New Orleans, January 1): If Selected

Fiesta Bowl (Jan. 1, Glendale, Ariz.), Orange Bowl (Dec. 30, Miami Gardens, Fla.), Cotton Bowl (Dec. 29, Arlington, Texas) or Peach Bowl (Dec. 30, Atlanta): If Selected.

Alamo Bowl (December 28, San Antonio): vs. Big 12

Las Vegas Bowl (December 23): vs. SEC

Holiday Bowl (December 27, San Diego): vs. ACC

Sun Bowl (December 29, El Paso, Texas): vs. ACC

LA Bowl (December 16): vs. Mountain West

Independence Bowl (December 16, Shreveport, La.): vs. Big 12

A Pac-12 team could also be selected for one of three ESPN-operated bowl games: Armed Forces Bowl (Dec. 23, Fort Worth, Texas), First Responder Bowl (Dec. 26, Dallas) and Gasparilla Bowl (Dec. 22, Tampa, Fla.)

A Pac-12 team could also be selected for the Birmingham Bowl, which has the option to take teams from two of eight conferences tied to this bowl. It will be held Dec. 23 in Birmingham, Ala.

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Cover photo of Oregon's Bo Nix is by Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY NETWORK

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