Remember when I projected Oregon State and Oregon as the best Rose Bowl candidates, and Arizona fans thought I was full of it because they controlled their own destiny? HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES NOW?
(Okay, it came down to Masoli having the drive of his life, and I made up that part about the Arizona fans giving two craps, but still. This is all I have. Let me rejoice in the numbers.)
Now, there are three Pac-10 games left. Although it's still pretty complicated, and I'm truly making these bowl predictions off the top of my head (I don't know for SURE this is what will happen, trust these odds when you're making your Vegas bets with a grain of salt). I had to assume three things to simplify matters.
1) The Emerald Bowl would pick a Bay Area team, most likely the Furd.
2) The Holiday Bowl would pick the team tied for 2nd that would send the most fans.
3) The Sun Bowl would pick the team tied for 3rd that would send the most fans.
So what do the scenario odds look like? Here are the likely candidates for each bowl (I'm not sure if everything came together right, can someone double-check my math? Lots of these scenarios fell short of summing up to 100%. Thanks!)
Rose Bowl: Oregon (75.78%), Oregon State (24.22%)
Holiday Bowl: USC (53.54%), Oregon (24.22%), Cal (10.5%), Arizona (9.44%), Furd (2.27%), OSU (what's left)
Sun Bowl: Cal (60.77%), Arizona (17.5%), USC (16.01%), Furd (5.72%)
Emerald Bowl: Furd (91%), Cal (8.55%). anyone else (whatever's left)
Vegas Bowl: Oregon State (75%), USC (10.57%), Cal (8.54%), Arizona (2.41%)
Poinsettia Bowl: Arizona (70.65%), USC (19.87%), Cal (9.47%)
Again, using the line calculator, I figured out the odds of each team winning.
Cal -6.5 vs Washington-->67.71% for Cal winning
Oregon -9.5 vs Oregon State-->75.78% for Oregon winning
USC -7 vs Arizona-->70.65% for USC winning
Oregon Ducks (9-2, 7-1 in conference)
1) Win the Civil War--Rose Bowl
2) Lose the Civil War--Holiday Bowl
I wish they were all this easy.
Oregon State Beavers (8-3, 6-2 in conference)
1) Win the Civil War--Rose Bowl
2) Lose the Civil War + USC wins--USC would be in a huge tie for 2nd and would certainly get the San Diego love, and the Sun Bowl clause I believe does not allow for repeat opponents, so OSU would be dropped to the 4th selection. With Cal and Furd in the mix for the Emerald, that probably leaves Vegas for the Beavers.
3) Lose the Civil War + USC loses + Cal wins--This leaves Cal, Arizona, OSU and Furd in a four way tie for 2nd. The Bears would probably get picked over the Beavers for the Holiday Bowl (stupid, I know, but that's the way this bowl system works), Arizona would go to the Sun Bowl (because of local proximity and the fact), and the Furd probably end up in the Emerald Bowl. So this situation still ends with the Beavers in Vegas.
4) Loses the Civil War + USC loses + Cal loses--Even this scenario doesn't work out. OSU, Arizona and Furd are now in a 3 way tie for 2nd. Arizona would win the tiebreakers, and they'd definitely have a good shot at the Holiday Bowl bid. OSU...again, ends up in Vegas, maybe in the Emerald Bowl. We might as well say that a Beaver loss puts them in the Strip Christmas weekend. Not a bad outcome for the Oregon schools to end up choosing between two of the three plum Pac-10 bowls, even if one is pretty far down the rung.
Rose Bowl: 24.22% (like these odds matter at all to a Mike Riley coached team)
Vegas Bowl: 75% (with the miniscule amount going to other various bowl possibilities like the Holiday and Emerald, who all will probably look the other way)
Sun Bowl: 0%
California Golden Bears (8-3, 5-3 in conference)
1) Cal wins (0.6771) + Arizona wins (.2935) + Oregon wins (.7578) = At first I felt like the Bears would be the Holiday Bowl selection. Now? I'm not totally sure. Arizona beating USC would be a huge boost for them (albeit not as impressive considering the Trojans stumble to the finish). The Cardinal could also be attractive due to the Gerhart for Heisman factor. However, if this scenario plays out, Cal will own the tiebreaker over Arizona and the Cardinal, and would be 2-1 over OSU, Arizona and Furd combined. Considering how well the Bears have travelled to the past two Holiday Bowls, this factors in their favor, but you could make equally compelling cases for Arizona (although the Sun Bowl is likelier) and the Furd (sexy pick, even if they don't travel at all). I'll give Cal a 70% chance of earning the Whales Bowl for now if this situation unfolds, with 15% split between the other two schools. (15.1%).
If Cal doesn't get the Holiday, the remaining 30% points them to...
2) Cal wins (.6771) + USC wins (.7065) + Oregon wins (.7578) = ...EL PASO BABY! The Bears would finish in 3rd place and would be the automatic Sun Bowl representative. (36.3%)
3) Cal wins (.6771) + Arizona wins (.2935) + Oregon State wins (.2422) = Oregon gets bumped to the Holiday, Cal goes to the Sun Bowl due to head-to-head tiebreaker with the Furd and Arizona. Because of the proximity to El Paso, there's a possibility Arizona gets picked for the Sun Bowl. 50-50 split either way methinks between Sun or Vegas. (4.81%)
4) Cal wins (.6771) + USC wins (.7065) + Oregon State wins (.2422) = Oregon to the Holiday, USC to the Sun, and then it's up to the Emerald or Vegas to fight between the Bears and the Cardinal. We'll put this at a 50-50 shot between Emerald and Vegas. (11.59%)
5) Cal loses (.3229) + Arizona wins (.2935) = Bears end up in the Poinsettia Bowl; USC will always get priority for bowl selection, plus they own the tiebreaker anyway. (9.47%)
6) Cal loses (.3229) + USC wins (.7065) + Oregon wins (.7578) = With Arizona in the Poinsettia Bowl for sure, Oregon goes to the Rose Bowl, USC to the Holiday, Oregon State still drops to Vegas and Cal ends up in El Paso anyway (because the Sun Bowl cannot pick OSU and would probably be inclined to Cal), since the Cardinal will probably be selected as this year's hometown Nut Bowl pick. (17.3%)
7) Cal loses (.3229) + USC wins (.7065) + Oregon State wins (.2422)= This is the weird scenario. This would give the Furd the 3rd place by tiebreaker, and the Sun Bowl the ability to pick them up, although USC might still be the selection. Cal probably ends up in the Emerald Bowl if the Furd gets picked up, Vegas Bowl if USC gets picked up, so let's call the odds of this happening around 50-50. (5.53%)
Sun Bowl--60.77% (30% of (1) + (2) + (3)+ (6))
Vegas Bowl--8.54% (50% of (4) + 50% of (7))
Holiday Bowl--10.5% (70% of (1))
Emerald Bowl--8.55% (50% of (4) + 50% of (7))
(There's .5% missing here somewhere...)
Arizona Wildcats (8-3, 5-3 in conference)
1) Beat USC (0.2935) + Oregon wins (0.7578) + Cal wins (.6771) --Scenario above suggests the Wildcats end up in El Paso. Slight possibility at Holiday (see Cal scenarios) (15.06%)
2) Beat USC (0.2935) + Oregon wins (0.7578) + Cal loses (.3229)--Arizona owns the tiebreaker over Oregon State and Furd and would earn the Holiday Bowl bid. (7.18%)
3) Beat USC (0.2935) + Oregon State wins (0.2422) + Cal wins (.6771)--Either the Sun Bowl or the Vegas Bowl, depending on the scenarios we broke down for the Golden Bears above (4.81%)
4) Beat USC (0.2935) + Oregon State wins (0.2422) + Cal loses (.3229) --Sun Bowl. No question. (2.29%)
5) Lose to USC (.7065)--Poinsettia Bowl for you (even if Cal lost in UW, they'd own the tiebreaker)
Holiday Bowl--9.44% (15% of (1)+ (2))
Vegas Bowl--2.41% (50% of 3))
Furd (9-3, 6-3 in conference)
I'm basing most of these projections of off one control--if the Emerald Bowl can get the Cardinal, they'll take them. Although I have a feeling the makers of Enlightened Norwegians like Emerald Nuts will be sorely disappointed at the Cardinal fan turnout; they could take Arizona and OSU and their fans would probably come out in bigger numbers.
Oregon win + USC win + Cal win -- Definitely Emerald.
Oregon win + USC loss + Cal win -- Emerald, with very outside shot at Holiday.
Oregon win + USC win + Cal loss -- Means nothing. Emerald.
Oregon win + USC loss + Cal loss -- Even Druids love Emerald Nuts. Emerald.
OSU win + USC win + Cal win -- Rice-A-Roni is the San Francisco treat!
OSU win + USC loss + Cal win -- On your tour of San Francisco, please check out Pier 39, Alcatraz, and Fisherman's Wharf.
OSU win + USC loss + Cal loss -- Anyone know any good hidden gems in the city for the Furd to check out? Even better, the worse places in SF to end up at 10 PM at night?
OSU win + USC win + Cal loss -- Emerrr...wait a minute. Probably the only scenario I picture the Furd not ending up in AT&T Park. This would win them 3rd place in the conference since they'd own the tiebreaker over USC, and maybe the Sun Bowl would be persuaded by the Gerhart story to take the 3rd place team. Maybe.
Emerald Bowl: 99.5%
Sun Bowl: 5.72%
Holiday Bowl: Miniscule
Any other bowl: Would be confusing.
USC Trojans (8-3, 5-3 in conference)
USC wins + Oregon wins = Holiday Bowl (USC would earn tiebreakers over everyone but the Furd, and the Holiday Bowl would probably pick them even if there weren't tiebreakers) (53.54%)
USC wins + Oregon State wins + Cal wins = Sun Bowl (USC would fall into a tie for 3rd, and would almost certainly be the first pick of anyone) (11.59%)
USC wins + Oregon State wins + Cal loses = Sun Bowl likely, but Vegas Bowl if the Furd is picked for the Sun Bowl because of tiebreaker dealies, Sun Bowl otherwise. Probably 80-20 between these scenarios, since it's hard to imagine the Sun Bowl passing on the Trojans if they're there. (5.52%)
USC loses + Cal wins = Poinsettia Bowl
USC loses + Cal loses = Las Vegas Bowl (USC would earn the tiebreaker over Cal) (9.47%)
Emerald Bowl--0.000000000000001% (would be totally shocked if they didn't take Cal or the Furd)
UCLA Bruins (6-6, 3-6 in conference)
This comes down to one question: How well do Bruins fans travel?
I know UCLA has declined bowl bids before, but they do have a good shot at two bowls--New Mexico or Humanitarian. Why? Well, the MWC has five bids, and five bowl eligibile teams...except with TCU earning a BCS bid, one of those spots is now vacant (there are other conferences with extra slots, but they are located too far away for UCLA to be a realistic candidate). Ted Miller breaks it down better, saying that the Humanitarian Bowl is likely to be the one to give the Bruins a bid.