Forgive me for discussing this, because I know without an Apple Cup win, none of this matters, but I just can’t help it. It’s been too long since we could entertain legitimate bowl talk, so allow me to put the cart ahead of the horse (did I get that right Matt?). Also, I doubt very much if anything written on this blog can jinx the football Gods.
2 weeks ago, in a previous post I stated
If UW beats UCLA and Cal, and Oregon and Stanford handle their remaining games, the Huskies will be playing for a Holiday Bowl bid in the Apple Cup on 12/4. Believe big!
Well, heading into the Apple Cup, everything has followed this script perfectly. And with a win on Saturday, the Washington Huskies will be invited to either the Holiday Bowl (Thursday, 12/30, 7 pm) or possibly the Alamo Bowl (Wednesday, 12/29, 6:15 pm). Either scenario would be terrific, and it couldn’t have happened without the Huskies climbing towards 6 wins, and also some good fortune in what has been a crazy 2010 season.
Let’s remember, the Alamo Bowl and Holiday Bowl are slated to be represented by the Pac-10 #2 and #3 teams respectively. In most years, 9 or 10 wins is usually required to play in either game. But this is no ordinary year. For starters, the conference is ultra competitive, and the fallout has been an unusually low number of bowl eligible teams. In addition, Oregon is undefeated and likely headed towards the championship game, which means they won’t fill any of the conference’s affiliated bowl slots. Mix in a 1 loss Stanford team that has also worked their way into the BCS, and suddenly the remaining eligible teams get to fill some pretty desirable bowl slots.
What we know is that in either case, the Huskies would be matched up against a Big 12 opponent—Alamo Bowl (Big 12 #3), Holiday Bowl (Big 12 #5). The Big 12 is no slouch, especially the conference’s top 5 teams. In fact, the BCS rankings have all 5 in the top 20. Oklahoma (#9), Missouri (#12), Nebraska (#13), Oklahoma St. (#14), Texas A&M (#18). Oklahoma faces Nebraska on Saturday to determine who gets the Fiesta Bowl bid. Conventional wisdom says the loser will be rewarded the Cotton Bowl, which is affiliated with the Big 12 #2 team. However, a little known fact is that the bowls actually have a lot of say in who they invite, and lots of factors play into their decision, so it’s tough to predict where each Big 12 team will land.
As for the Pac-10, I thought that if Arizona were to lose to Arizona State, the Huskies would claim the Alamo, until I learned that the bowls get to pick. It seems likely that the Alamo Bowl would prefer Arizona for a multitude of reasons. First, they beat the Huskies. Secondly, they have a better overall record, and were ranked for most of the year. On the downside, a loss to ASU would mean ‘Zona has lost 4 in a row, compared to a hot Washington team. If the Wildcats beat the Sun Devils, their Alamo ticket is sealed. With a loss, and some other factors playing out, it is possible that Washington is selected by the Alamo Bowl. No matter the fallout, I don’t see the Huskies facing Nebraska, because no bowl is going to want that re-match.
The possibilities are endless, but if the Huskies win the Apple Cup, there’s a high probability they end up in the Holiday Bowl, against Missouri or Oklahoma State. If I had to pick today, my guess is a Washington-Missouri matchup.