Publish date:

Pac-12 Bowl Projections: One Expert Has Cal in a Bowl Game

We cite postseason predictions from seven sites, and national semifinal pairings from two ESPN experts

One brave person believes Cal will get a bowl berth this season.  Bay Area Pac-12 reporter Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News projects Cal will land in the First Responder Bowl.

None of the other six experts we cited have the Golden Bears in the postseason, but all of them have Oregon playing in the College Football Playoff. They are split on the Rose Bowl, with four projecting UCLA to face a Big Ten team in that New Year's Six game while three have USC making it to that Jan. 1 bowl.

We start with predictions by Wilner, who only projected the Pac-12 teams in the bowls that have Pac-12 tie-ins. We posted only the national semifinal projections of the two ESPN experts.

The Redbox Bowl (also called the San Francisco Bowl) has been canceled for a second straight year and its future beyond that is in question.

The Pac-12 bowl pecking order is listed at the bottom. 

.

San Jose Mercury News (Jon Wilner)

National semifinals – Oregon

Rose Bowl (vs. Big Ten) – UCLA

Alamo Bowl (vs. Big 12) – Arizona State

Las Vegas Bowl (vs. Big Ten) – USC

Holiday Bowl (vs. ACC) Stanford

Sun Bowl (vs. ACC) – Utah

LA Bowl (vs. Mountain West) – Oregon State

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

Wilner's comment on Cal: We have included the Bears (1-2) in the postseason because their cross-division dates with Arizona and Colorado make the bowl math easier. But they would be wise to reach the five-win mark before the finishing stretch against USC, Stanford and UCLA. Winning one of those three is a manageable proposition. Winning two is not.

Non-Qualifiers: Arizona, Colorado, Washington State, Washington

Wilner’s comment on Washington, Cal’s opponent in its Pac-12 opener on Saturday night: We’re not buying the Saturday success; everybody scores on Arkansas State. Now, if the Huskies (1-2) consistently move the ball and finish drives in the next two weeks (Cal and Oregon State), we will adjust the projection and slot them into a lower-tier bowl.

.

ESPN (Mark Schlabach)

National semifinals (Orange Bowl) – Oregon vs. Alabama

.

ESPN (Kyle Bonagura)

National semifinals (Cotton Bowl) – Oregon vs. Georgia

.

CBS Sports (Jerry Palm)

National semifinals (Cotton Bowl) – Oregon vs. Alabama

Rose Bowl – USC vs. Ohio State

Alamo Bowl – Arizona State vs. Texas

Las Vegas Bowl – UCLA vs. Michigan State

Holiday Bowl – Utah vs. Boston College

Sun Bowl – Stanford vs. North Carolina State

LA Bowl – Washington vs. Fresno State

.

Action Network (Brett McMurphy)

National semifinals (Cotton Bowl) – Oregon vs. Georgia

Rose Bowl – UCLA vs. Iowa

Alamo Bowl – USC vs. Kansas State

Las Vegas Bowl – Stanford vs. Michigan

Holiday Bowl – Arizona State vs. Wake Forest

Sun Bowl – Utah vs. Boston College

LA Bowl – Oregon State vs. Fresno State

.

College Football News

National semifinals (Cotton Bowl) – Oregon vs. Georgia

Rose Bowl – USC vs. Iowa

Alamo Bowl – UCLA vs. Texas

Las Vegas Bowl – Stanford vs. Michigan State

Holiday Bowl – Arizona State vs. North Carolina

Sun Bowl – Utah vs. Wake Forest

LA Bowl – Washington vs. San Diego State

.

USA Today (Erick Smith)

National semifinals (Cotton Bowl) – Oregon vs. Georgia

Rose Bowl – USC vs. Ohio State

Alamo Bowl – UCLA vs. Kansas State

Las Vegas Bowl – Stanford vs. Michigan

Holiday Bowl – Arizona State vs. Virginia Tech

Sun Bowl – Washington vs. North Carolina State

LA Bowl – Utah vs. Fresno State

.

247 Sports (Brad Crawford)

National semifinals (Cotton Bowl) – Oregon vs. Georgia

Rose Bowl – UCLA vs. Ohio State

Alamo Bowl – USC vs. Texas

Las Vegas Bowl – Utah vs. Michigan

Holiday Bowl – Stanford vs. Pittsburgh

Sun Bowl – Arizona State vs. Boston College

LA Bowl – Washington vs. Boise State

.

Athlon (Steven Lassan)

National semifinals Orange Bowl) – Oregon vs. Alabama

Rose Bowl – UCLA vs. Ohio State

Alamo Bowl – USC vs. Texas

Las Vegas Bowl – Arizona State vs. Michigan State

Holiday Bowl – Stanford vs. Miami (Fla.)

Sun Bowl – Utah vs. Virginia Tech

LA Bowl – Washington vs. Fresno State

First Responder Bowl – Oregon State vs. San Diego State

.

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.

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.

.

Cover photo of Cal's Daniel Scott is by Darren Yamashita, USA TODAY Sports

.

Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53

Find Cal Sports Report on Facebook by searching: @si.calsportsreport or going to https://www.facebook.com/si.calsportsreport