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College Hotline - Pac-12 football: The playoff path, committee hypocrisy, selection rules...

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    Jul 8, 2005
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    With the holiday upcoming, a potpourri of postseason issues and items …

    *** Playoff update

    The road remains cluttered but — this is a recording! — is not impassable:

    If Stanford beats Notre Dame and USC/UCLA — slight favorite over the former, solid favorite over the latter — and Oklahoma loses … then it could very well be two-loss Stanford against one-loss Baylor/Oklahoma State for the final berth.

    That’s the discussion the Pac-12 wants in the committee room.

    Other options for clearing Stanford’s path would be losses by Clemson or Alabama. But chaos in the Big 12 has always been the Pac-12’s best chance.

    *** SCHOTW (selection committee hypocrisy of the week):

    Two fine examples this week …

    1. Chair Jeff Long noted that the committee evaluated Oklahoma’s win over TCU with the injury to Baker Mayfield in mind — that the Sooners were in control until their starting QB went down.

    Okay, fine. But shouldn’t that standard be applied to every team it evaluates, like … Oregon … and TCU … just to name two.

    The Ducks have looked like a top-10 teams with Vernon Adams healthy.

    2. Long emphasized quality wins while also noting that No. 4 Iowa and No. 5 Michigan State were extremely close.

    And they are, unless you actually emphasize quality wins.

    MSU has beaten Oregon, Michigan, Ohio State and Air Force. Iowa can’t come close to matching that.

    Conclusion (this, too, is a record): They make it up as they go along.

    *** General Pac-12 thought:

    Partly because the league probably won’t send two teams to the New Year’s Six, it’s a good time to be a Pac-12 bowl partner, particularly those on the top tier of the pecking order.

    Many of the teams in contention for the Alamo, Holiday, Foster Farms and even Sun will have enthusiastic fan bases and/or high-value names.

    *** Procedural matters:

    IF Stanford sneaks into the playoff:

    The Rose would have its pick of bowl-eligible teams. It wouldn’t be required to select the highest-ranked team available, although the choice would be either Washington State or Oregon.

    Also, keep the selection rules in mind:

    1. The Alamo, Holiday and Foster Farms bowls have flexibility: They can pass one team in favor of another as long as there is no more than a one-game difference in conference record.

    Example: The Holiday could take Team Y at 5-4 over Team Z at 6-3 … as long as there is no Team X at 7-2 available.

    2. The Sun, Las Vegas and Cactus bowls must select from the remaining pool of teams in order of league record.

    *** Bowl math

    Listed by wins and alphabetically

    Stanford (9-2/8-1)
    Wins needed: In
    Up next: vs. Notre Dame, Pac-12 championship (USC or UCLA)
    Outlook: Lose the title game, and the Cardinal could drop out of the New Year’s Six and into the Alamo or, more likely, the Holiday.

    Oregon (8-3/6-2)
    Wins needed: In
    Up next: vs. Oregon State
    Outlook: Nine wins are a given. Sizzling Ducks will be a wanted team. Have to think Alamo would be keenly interested even though Quack Attack was in town two years ago.

    Washington State (8-3/6-2)
    Wins needed: In
    Up next: at Washington
    Outlook: Another valued commodity for the bowl partners. Population of Pullman is 31,000, so Alamodome and Qualcomm — both seat approx 70,000 — guaranteed to be almost half full. Pullman guaranteed to be abandoned.

    UCLA (8-3/5-3)
    Wins needed: In
    Up next: at USC
    Outlook: Deep down, I wonder if the Bruins really want to face Stanford in Pac-12 title game and get pummeled again. (Kidding!)

    Utah (8-3/5-3)
    Wins needed: In
    Up next: vs. Colorado
    Outlook: Another November fade.

    USC (7-4/5-3)
    Wins needed: In
    Up next: vs. UCLA
    Outlook: League probably better off with Bruins advancing to title game: They’re ranked, the Trojans are not, and a win over UCLA might give Stanford’s case a bit more juice. Oh, and USC has a better chance to beat the Cardinal. (Some chance > no chance.)

    Arizona State (6-5/4-4)
    Wins needed: In
    Up next: at Cal
    Outlook: Trip to Berkeley important for positioning. If Devils win, they’re ahead of Cal in the selection order

    Cal (6-5/3-5)
    Wins needed: In
    Up next: vs. Arizona State
    Outlook: Issue with Grambling counting toward postseason win total is a mere formality. Oversight committee will approve waiver if it comes to that. Nothing to see, folks. Move along.

    Arizona (6-6/3-6)
    Wins needed: In
    Up next: Season concluded
    Outlook: Cannot tie or pass ASU/Cal for seventh spot because of league record. So it’s Boise or Shreveport or New York or wherever the bowl winds blow.

    Washington (5-6/3-5)
    Wins needed: One
    Up next: vs. Washington State
    Outlook: Huskies playing for their postseason lives in the Apple Cup. Over/under for personal foul penalties (by both teams): 6.5.

    *** Bowl projections

    Rose: Stanford
    Alamo: Oregon
    Holiday: Utah
    Foster Farms: USC
    Sun: Washington State (projecting a loss in Apple Cup)
    Las Vegas: UCLA
    Cactus: Arizona State


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    by Jon Wilner

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