National

Bowl projections: Can the Pac-12 get a team into the College Football Playoff?

Can someone run the table in the Pac-12 over the final four weeks of the season?

The conference has three teams with a chance to make the College Football Playoff. Oregon, USC and UCLA are all at 8-1 through the first 10 weeks of the season and in the top 12 in the CFP rankings. If either of those three teams can win its final three regular season games and the Pac-12 title game then a playoff spot is likely.

That’s much easier said than done.

The 2022 season is the Pac-12’s best shot to get a team in the playoff for the first time since 2016. But the conference’s strength at the top could also end up being its biggest playoff problem. Just look at the schedules for the top three teams over the final three weeks of the season.

No. 6 Oregon

vs. No. 25 Washington

vs. No. 13 Utah

@ Oregon State

No. 8 USC

vs. Colorado

@ No. 12 UCLA

vs. No. 20 Notre Dame

No. 12 UCLA

vs. Arizona

vs. No. 8 USC

@ Cal

Utah (7-2) isn’t out of the conference title mix either. If the Utes beat Oregon and take care of business against Stanford and Colorado, they’re in the Pac-12 title game against one of the three teams mentioned above.

The Pac-12’s best playoff scenario at the moment is to have Oregon and either USC or UCLA win out so two 11-1 teams meet in the title game. That would ensure a 12-1 team at the end of the season and a legitimate shot at the playoff.

We’re going with Oregon to be that team in our latest edition of bowl projections. The Ducks have some work to do; three of their final four games would be against ranked opponents and Oregon State is just outside the top 25. But we think Oregon is playing well enough to make it happen at the moment.

Here’s how we see the bowl lineup ahead of Week 11. As always, things could change dramatically in the weeks to come. Especially in the Pac-12, when Oregon plays Utah and UCLA plays USC Week 12.

New Year's Six bowl games

Orange Bowl (Dec. 30)

Clemson vs. Penn State

Sugar Bowl (Dec. 31)

TCU vs. Alabama

Peach Bowl (Dec. 31) [CFP semifinal]

Georgia vs. Oregon

Fiesta Bowl (Dec. 31) [CFP semifinal]

Ohio State vs. Tennessee

Cotton Bowl (Jan. 2)

North Carolina vs. Tulane

Rose Bowl (Jan. 2)

Michigan vs. USC

Other bowl games

Bahamas Bowl (Dec. 16)

UTEP vs. Ball State

Cure Bowl (Dec. 16)

Liberty vs. Appalachian State

Fenway Bowl (Dec. 17)

Syracuse vs. Cincinnati

New Mexico Bowl (Dec. 17)

Air Force vs. North Texas

LA Bowl (Dec. 17)

Boise State vs. Washington State

LendingTree Bowl (Dec. 17)

Toledo vs. South Alabama

Las Vegas Bowl (Dec. 17)

Utah vs. Ole Miss

Frisco Bowl (Dec. 17)

Middle Tennessee State vs. SMU

Myrtle Beach Bowl (Dec. 19)

UTSA vs. Coastal Carolina

Potato Bowl (Dec. 20)

San Diego State vs. Miami (Ohio)

Boca Raton Bowl (Dec. 20)

Florida Atlantic vs. Houston

New Orleans Bowl (Dec. 21)

Western Kentucky vs. Southern Miss

Armed Forces Bowl (Dec. 22)

East Carolina vs. Texas Tech

Gasparilla Bowl (Dec. 23)

Wyoming vs. Georgia Southern

Independence Bowl (Dec. 23)

BYU vs. Army

Hawaii Bowl (Dec. 24)

San Jose State vs. UAB

Quick Lane Bowl (Dec. 26)

Wisconsin vs. Buffalo

First Responder Bowl (Dec. 27)

Memphis vs. Kansas

Birmingham Bowl (Dec. 27)

Missouri vs. Louisiana

Camellia Bowl (Dec. 27)

Ohio vs. Troy

Guaranteed Rate Bowl (Dec. 27)

Iowa vs. Oklahoma State

Military Bowl (Dec. 28)

Miami vs. UCF

Liberty Bowl (Dec. 28)

Oklahoma vs. South Carolina

Holiday Bowl (Dec. 28)

Wake Forest vs. Washington

Texas Bowl (Dec. 28)

Texas vs. Arkansas

Pinstripe Bowl (Dec. 29)

NC State vs. Minnesota

Cheez-It Bowl (Dec. 29)

Notre Dame vs. Kansas State

Alamo Bowl (Dec. 29)

Baylor vs. UCLA

Duke’s Mayo Bowl (Dec. 30)

Louisville vs. Maryland

Sun Bowl (Dec. 30)

Oregon State vs. Pitt

Gator Bowl (Dec. 30)

Duke vs. Mississippi State

Arizona Bowl (Dec. 30)

UNLV vs. Eastern Michigan

Music City Bowl (Dec. 31)

Purdue vs. Florida

ReliaQuest Bowl (Jan. 2)

Florida State vs. Kentucky

Citrus Bowl (Jan. 2)

Illinois vs. LSU