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Cal can't go to Las Vegas Bowl; likely Cactus or Heart of Dallas, Armed Forces, Independence

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Where is Cal going these holidays?

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

We take a break from your normal Sonny Dykes watch to bring you important bowl discussion!

With Stanford beating USC in the Pac-12 Championship game, and Iowa essentially clinching a Power 6 New Year's Day bowl bid, the Pac-12 will likely have only one representative in the Big 6 New Year's Bowls.

Although many Cal players have been lobbying hard for the Las Vegas Bowl, it's not going to happen. Too many teams ahead of them will be vying for that spot.

Going by this CougCenter Pac-12 bowl selection, let's figure out where Cal can go.

Rose: Stanford will be taken here. Clemson beating North Carolina and Alabama beating Florida sewed up their spots in the college football playoff. Don't score six points in Chicago next time Cardinal, your punishment is Pasadena.

Everything is terrible. (Stanford likely will take on Ohio State or Iowa).

Alamo: As the only nine win team in the Pac-12, Oregon is the prohibitive favorite, and the Ducks do bring in the hot TV ratings as well as the travelling fanbase. Expect CGB North to head on over to San Antonio to face off with TCU.

After this, things get messy. I believe teams with 6-3 and 5-4 Pac-12 records get preferential treatment here, so Cal has to wait their turn until all teams in that range are all picked.

Holiday: Washington State or USC is looking like the pick. The Trojans were here last year though and the Holiday likes to avoid repeat appearances in back-to-back years, so they might be on Team Fireball. They will likely play Wisconsin.

Foster Farms: Apparently Fosters Farms is locked onto UCLA like Jordan Payton onto his next destination. The Bruins are headed to Santa Clara is set to take on a B1G team that I'm uncertain of.

Because 5-4 UCLA has been taken, the next two bids must be taken by the 6-3 squads remaining.

Sun: Whoever the Holiday doesn't get, expect the Sun to scoop up Washington State or USC. There's a dark horse chance of Utah.

Las Vegas: Whoever is left of USC, Utah or Washington State ends up here to face BYU.

Cactus: So that leaves Cal in a mess of 6-6/7-5 teams. Cal is the only 7-5 team, with Washington, Arizona and ASU all 6-6.

However, I'm not quite sure if the Cactus is obligated to take Cal for being 7-5.  All four teams have an identical 4-5 Pac-12 record. Also, the Cactus Bowl is right in Phoenix, only a few miles away from the ASU campus. Arizona State has been getting some buzz (despite the head-to-head win) as a potential bowl selection here due to to the likely audience they'd draw via ticket sales. Cactus would have to be convinced Cal would be a better TV and attendance draw (which it might be thanks to Jared Goff).

The Cal coaching staff would definitely love this game because they would get a full complement of bowl practices to train their players. Getting a random bowl somewhere else would likely be earlier and reduce that practice time (Poinsettia on December 23, Independence or Heart of Dallas the day after Christmas are possibilities, as is the Armed Forces Bowl later on).

ESPN projects Cal to either the Cactus (to play West Virginia) or Heart of Dallas (to play Southern Miss); SB Nation has Cal in the Armed Forces Bowl against Air Force (boy that sounds familiar).

So what do you guys think? Cactus? Independence in Shreveport? A Texas bowl? Or some weirdo bowl I don't know of? (Click here for the full list of bowls).