California hosts the Washington Huskies today in the final game before Memorial Stadium undergoes its long-awaited renovation. More important for the present is the fact that Cal MUST win this game to become eligible for a bowl game. If they beat Washington they go to a bowl game, if they lose to Washington they stay home over the holidays.
However, there is plenty of other pertinent action in the Pac-10 that would affect Cal’s bowl game prospects, assuming Cal wins today. Yesterday, Arizona State defeated UCLA 55-34, and today Stanford hosts Oregon State.
Yesterday’s matchup between the Sun Devils and the Bruins acted as a bowl elimination game. The two teams entered the game at 4-6, with six wins required for bowl game eligibility. Although the winner still would need another win, the loser would be officially ineligible for a bowl game. UCLA jumped out to a 17-0 first quarter lead before Arizona State blew back and took care of business, winning 55-34.
Arizona State will now square off with Arizona in their annual rivalry game. The Wildcats have clinched a bowl bid, but they need a win and a pair of Oregon State losses to lock up the number three position in the conference. OSU has the tie-breaker after beating Arizona earlier this year. Of course, with OSU facing Stanford this week and Oregon next week for bowl eligibility, getting a win in either game is going to be tough.
Oregon State has to win one of the final two games to get a bowl bid but Stanford and Oregon are going to be heavy favorites. If the Beavers were to win one of the two they would seemingly finish third in the Pac-10 based on tie-breakers. Of course, bowl games get the “choice” in who goes to their game, so it’s possible the higher bowl goes with Arizona given their better overall record. It really depends on who they think will travel better and bring better TV ratings.
We’ll be back tonight and tomorrow with some more bowl game projections.