Huskies could be headed to Alamo Bowl
Picking bowl-game matchups this early isn't easy but signs point to the Washington Huskies playing in San Antonio in the Alamo Bowl.
Seattle Times colleges reporter
Today's epistle is about projecting Pac-12 bowl games, which, you could argue, is like assuming that Rick Perry's head isn't going to vapor-lock at some moment in the next few months.
It all looks relatively neat and clean, but there are games left, and that likely means some fratricidal jostling down the stretch.
The key appears to be held by the Fiesta Bowl. There's a widespread assumption that Stanford, if it wins against California and Notre Dame, goes to the Fiesta at 11-1, giving the game the true student-athlete, Andrew Luck, and all that's good about college football.
But what if the Fiesta decides fans in the local hotels — thus, money — is more important?
There's some concern in the Pac-12 offices that an old problem could revisit the new league: That of not getting a second team in the BCS because of less-rabid fan support than Midwestern and Southern programs.
Both Nebraska and Michigan are 8-2, but probably are going to come up short of Michigan State in the Big Ten Legends division. That means the Fiesta could be pitting, say, Oklahoma against a 10-2 Nebraska team, recalling an old Big Eight rivalry.
As one bowl official puts it, "Stanford is going to bring 10,000 (fans), and those teams are going to bring 30,000."
Luck's stock dipped with the Oregon loss, and he's no longer a lock for the Heisman Trophy.
Still, if the Fiesta takes Stanford, that ensures a top-shelf quarterback battle between Luck and either Oklahoma's Landry Jones or Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden, so you'd think the Cardinal trumps the Big Ten. (Pac-12 athletic directors might not yet want to add a second BCS check to the budget, however.)
If Oregon and Stanford are both BCS-bound, the rest of it seems to cleave like this:
• Alamo: Washington.
• Holiday: Arizona State.
• Sun: Utah.
• Las Vegas: California.
• Kraft Fight Hunger: UCLA (if the 5-5 Bruins get to six wins).
• New Mexico: Nobody, unless Washington State (4-6) can get to six wins.
Although nobody from either the Alamo or the Huskies is saying much, the sides have been cozy lately, and it's likely Washington would be Riverwalk-bound if it wins out, not at all a bad fate.
"Any bowl game, for where the program is, is a good one," UW coach Steve Sarkisian said. "From where we started to where we are now, I couldn't be prouder."
The Alamo doesn't have much interest in Arizona State. Interestingly, it had Arizona a year ago, a loser of four straight, and ASU has tumbled in recent weeks. There's also more than a possibility that the Sun Devils make the league title game, get squashed in Eugene (although they acquitted themselves well in their first meeting there) and there's less fan passion to travel with a five-loss team that was once 18th-ranked.
But the Sun Devils appeal more right now to the Holiday than Utah. For one, many Arizonans customarily get out of the summer heat and head to the ocean, so there's a significant connection with the city of San Diego.
That would put Utah, potentially at 8-4, in El Paso (nonagenarians would be excited; Utah last played in the Sun Bowl in 1939), although longtime Sun official John Folmer thinks the Alamo might think twice about Washington over Utah, implying the Utes might bring more fans than the Huskies.
"They (the Alamo) didn't really understand when they bought into the Pac-10, that it doesn't travel as well as most people," Folmer said. "I think at the end of the day, it might be a decision they have to vote on."
Below, there's intrigue. Cal, at 3-4 in the Pac-12, could lose its final two against Stanford and Arizona State, and if UCLA wins one (against either Colorado or USC) to get to 5-4, the Vegas bowl can't pick Cal over the Bruins (teams chosen must be within one game of the higher-placed team in the standings).
The Kraft Fight Hunger is awash in possibilities, because it has three backup agreements and teams like UCLA might not make it.
One of those tie-ups is with the Mid-American Conference, with a prime candidate in Temple. Anybody for a Temple-UCLA pairing — a rematch of the EagleBank Bowl played 3,000 miles away two years ago?
Crazy. And probably getting more so.
"It's going to change," Folmer said, referring to the broader landscape. "I guarantee you, it'll change after this weekend. That's just the way it's going."
Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or email@example.com
About Bud Withers
Bud Withers gives his take on college sports, with the latest from the Huskies, Cougs, and the rest of the Pac-12.
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