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Pac-12 Bowl Projections: Is It Utah or Oregon in the Rose Bowl?

Predictions from a number of experts on the postseason destinations of all Pac-12 teams

Oregon has one loss and is ranked No. 10, while Utah has two losses and is unranked.  Nonetheless there is a trend developing among some college football experts that the Utes, not Oregon, may be the frontrunner for the Pac-12's Rose Bowl berth.

Of the 12 experts who provided Rose Bowl projections, four predicted Utah will end up in the Rose Bowl, while eight still had the Ducks in the conference top postseason game. But the four who picked the Utes are some of the heavy hitters -- Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News, Kyle Bonagura of ESPN, Stewart Mandel of The Athletic and Erick Smith of USA Today.

Here's a sample of their rationale:

Wilner (on Utah): The Utes won’t run the table — they aren’t that good — but they should win enough games against the right combination of teams (division opponents) to secure the South. On the first Friday of December, the trophy will come. On the first day of January: heaven on earth.

Wilner (on Oregon): The Ducks remain the North frontrunner and have six weeks to fix their shortcomings. But we’ve seen so little from them in recent weeks, and so much from Utah, that a change in projections was necessary.

Mandel: Behold the rise of Utah in the Pac-12. After scoring 28 unanswered points to knock off Arizona State 35-21, the Utes (4-2, 3-0 Pac-12) are the lone remaining undefeated team in conference play. Meanwhile, Oregon needed a goal-line stand to survive 1-5 Cal. Why not Utah?

Bonagura: After starting the season 1-2 in nonconference play, external expectations for the Utes dropped considerably. Now, after a 35-21 win against Arizona State, they are the only remaining undefeated team in Pac-12 play,. That, coupled with Oregon’s unimpressive performances over the past month, has created a clear path for Utah to reach the Rose Bowl.

Utah and Oregon are scheduled to meet on Nov. 20 and could meet again in the Pac-12 championship game. A number of other schools will have a say about that, including UCLA, which hosts Oregon on Saturday.

Cal, Washington, Arizona and Colorado are the only four Pac-12 schools that are not projected to earn a bowl berth by any of the experts we cited. CBS Sports' Jerry Palm projected only five Pac-12 teams will get bowl berths, while College Football News has eight Pac-12 schools in the postseason.

Below are the bowl projections for Pac-12 teams from nine experts. We did not include the entire bowl projections from ESPN's Kyle Bonagura and Mark Schlabach and The Athletic's Stewart Mandel since they are subscription reports. (We sympathize with the cheapskate faction.)

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San Jose Mercury News (Jon Wilner)

Rose Bowl (vs. Big Ten) -- Utah

Alamo Bowl (vs. Big 12) – Oregon

Las Vegas Bowl (vs. Big Ten) -- Arizona State

Holiday Bowl (vs. ACC) -- UCLA

Sun Bowl (vs. ACC) -- Oregon State (4-2/2-1)

LA Bowl -- Washington State

ESPN Bowl (Gasparilla, Armed Forces or First Responder) – USC

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USA Today (Erick Smith)

Rose Bowl – Utah vs. Penn State

Alamo Bowl – Oregon vs. Iowa State

Las Vegas Bowl – Oregon State vs. Maryland

Holiday Bowl – Arizona State vs. Pittsburgh

Sun Bowl – Washington State vs. North Carolina

LA Bowl -- UCLA vs. Nevada

First Responder Bowl – USC vs. Kansas State

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Sporting News (Bill Bender)

Rose Bowl – Oregon vs. Iowa

Alamo Bowl – UCLA vs. Baylor

Las Vegas Bowl – Utah vs. Purdue

Holiday Bowl – USC vs. Louisville

Sun Bowl – Oregon State vs. Wake Forest

LA Bowl – Arizona State vs. San Diego State

Military Bowl – Stanford vs. North Carolina

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CBS Sports (Jerry Palm)

Rose Bowl – Oregon vs. Iowa

Alamo Bowl – Arizona State vs. Texas

Las Vegas Bowl – Utah vs. Wisconsin

Holiday Bowl – UCLA vs. Virginia Tech

Sun Bowl – Oregon State vs. Boston College

LA Bowl – Fresno State vs. Central Michigan

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College Football News

Rose Bowl – Oregon vs. Iowa

Alamo Bowl – Arizona State vs. Iowa State

Las Vegas Bowl – USC vs. Wisconsin

Holiday Bowl – Utah vs. Pittsburgh

Sun Bowl – Oregon State vs. Virginia Tech

LA Bowl -- UCLA vs. San Diego State

First Responder Bowl – Washington State vs. Houston

Gasparilla Bowl – Stanford vs. Georgia Tech

Read More

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Action Network (Brett McMurphy)

Rose Bowl – Oregon vs. Penn State

Alamo Bowl – Utah vs. Baylor

Las Vegas Bowl – Arizona State vs. Wisconsin

Holiday Bowl – Oregon State vs. Pittsburgh

Sun Bowl – UCLA vs. Boston College

LA Bowl – USC vs. San Diego State

Armed Forces Bowl – Washington State vs. Air Force

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Pro Football Network

Rose Bowl – Oregon vs. Michigan

Alamo Bowl – Utah vs. Texas

Las Vegas Bowl – UCLA vs. Maryland

Holiday Bowl – Oregon State vs. Houston

Sun Bowl – Arizona State vs. Wake Forest

LA Bowl – USC vs. Utah State

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Bleacher Report (Kerry Miller)

Rose Bowl – Oregon vs. Michigan

Alamo Bowl – Utah vs. Baylor

Las Vegas Bowl – Arizona State vs. Minnesota

Holiday Bowl – UCLA vs. Virginia

Sun Bowl – Oregon State vs. North Carolina

LA Bowl -- USC vs. San Diego State

Gasparilla Bowl – Washington State vs. Memphis

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Athlon Sports (Steven Lassan)

Rose Bowl – Oregon vs. Iowa

Alamo Bowl – Arizona State vs. Oklahoma State

Las Vegas Bowl – Utah vs. Minnesota

Holiday Bowl – UCLA vs. North Carolina

Sun Bowl – Oregon State vs. Pittsburgh

LA Bowl -- USC vs. San Diego State

First Responder Bowl – Stanford vs. Texas Tech

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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): Cotton Bowl, Dec. 31, 12:30 p.m. Pacific time or 4:30 p.m. Pacific time, Arlington, Texas (AT&T Stadium), ESPN, and Orange Bowl, Dec. 31, 12:30 p.m. Pacific time or 4:30 p.m. Pacific time, Miami Gardens, Fla. (Hard Rock Stadium), ESPN.

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

2. Alamo Bowl: Dec. 29, 6:15 p.m. Pacific time, San Antonio (Alamodome), ESPN – Pac-12 vs. Big 12.

3. Las Vegas Bowl: Dec. 30, 7:30 p.m. Pacific time, Las Vegas (Allegiant Stadium), ESPN – Pac-12 s. Big Ten

4. Holiday Bowl: Dec. 28, 5:30 p.m. Pacific time, San Diego (Petco Park), FOX/FS1 – Pac-12 vs. ACC

5. Sun Bowl: Dec. 31, 9:30 a.m. Pacific time, El Paso, Texas (Sun Bowl Stadium), CBS – Pac-12 vs. ACC

6. LA Bowl: Dec. 18, 4:30 p.m. Pacific time, Inglewood, Calif. (SoFi Stadium), ABC – Pac-12 vs. Mountain West.

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

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

Armed Forces Bowl and Military Bowl -- The Pac-12 could get a berth in these bowls.

Note: The Redbox Bowl (also known as the San Francisco Bowl) would have been No. 7 in the pecking order of Pac-12 bowls and was to match a Pac-12 team against a Big Ten team, but it has been canceled for the second straight year.

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Cover photo of Utah running back TJ Pledger is by Rob Gray, USA TODAY Sports.

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Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53Find Cal Sports Report on Facebook by searching: @si.calsportsreport or going to https://www.facebook.com/si.calsportsreport