The Cal Golden Bears lost a tough Big Game to the Stanford Cardinal 48-14, but still have a strong chance at earning their eighth straight college football bowl appearance. This coming Saturday Cal hosts the Washington Huskies who are also looking to get back to a bowl game. Both teams need to win out to earn a bowl bid as the middle of the Pac-10 is stacked with teams looking to sneak into bowl games.
After the jump, check out the conference standings following yesterday's action. We'll use those standings to take a look at Cal's possible destinations, which include the Sun Bowl, the Maaco Bowl, and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. Cal loses a whole bunch of tie-breakers but a win over Washington will get them into a bowl game.
Currently, the Pac-10 standings are as follows:
Pacific-10 Conference Standings
(updated 11.20.2010 at 11:39 PM PST)
USC is ineligible for postseason play, so we'll ignore them in the standings. As it currently stands, Cal is in sixth place, which would likely send them to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park in San Francisco. I'd imagine that bowl would absolutely love to see Cal end up there. However, there are enoguh games left that this could get tossed around fairly easily.
Next week Cal faces Washington, with the loser eliminated from bowl contention. Next weekend's other action affecting the Pac-10 bowl race will see Stanford host a 5-5 Oregon State team, 7-3 Arizona travel to Oregon, and a pair of 4-6 teams square off in a bowl elimination game between Arizona State and UCLA. The loser joins the loser of Cal-Washington on the sideline come December and January.
- #1 Bowl Championship Series. In 2010, the Pac-10 champion gains an automatic berth to a BCS bowl game, preferentially the Rose Bowl.
- #2 The Alamo Bowl receives the second choice of Pac-10 teams.
- #3 The Holiday Bowl receives the third choice of Pac-10 teams.
- #4 The Sun Bowl receives the fourth choice of Pac-10 teams.
- #5 The Maaco Bowl receives the fifth choice of Pac-10 teams
- #6 The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl receives the sixth choice of Pac-10 teams.
Let's take a look at the other teams battling for bowl spots and how they affect Cal, assuming Cal beats Washington. The UCLA-Arizona State game has no effect because Cal beats both teams. If a bowl likes one of them better than Cal I suppose that's a possibility, but we can't really control that. Even if ASU or UCLA wins out, they lose the tie-breaker to Cal based on head-to-head losses they each suffered to Cal.
Oregon State holds a tie-breaker over Cal but they have to play Stanford and Oregon to close the year. If they lose both games they'll be ineligible for a bowl. I suppose they could win one of those two, but I'm going to assume they lose both. Given all that, California would suddenly find themselves in fourth place in terms of Bowl eligible teams.
As Avi previously discussed Stanford's BCS hopes will affect the Pac-10 bowl positioning. However, there are some changes in the possible destinations. If Stanford does NOT get a BCS berth they'll go to the Alamo Bowl, Arizona will go to the Holiday Bowl, and Cal would likely go to the Sun Bowl as the fourth team in the Pac-10. If Stanford does get a BCS berth, I'd imagine the Alamo Bowl then takes Arizona as the second choice from the Pac-10 and Cal suddenly could end up in the number three slot at the Holiday Bowl. It's also possible the Alamo or Holiday Bowl might have an out if Stanford isn't available, but I'm not finding any information on that.
At this point, Cal just needs to win this last game. In reality, based on the fact that bowl organizers can be incredibly shady in who they pick, Cal could end up in one of many bowls and it wouldn't shock me. The numbers seem to indicate the Sun Bowl or Holiday Bowl are the two most likely, but there is still a lot of football left in these last two weeks of the season.