Pac-12 bowl game schedule: Stanford earns Rose, Alamo picks Oregon
A conference-record nine Pac-12 teams have been selected to bowl games to cap the 2013 college football season, and the official invitations and acceptances were finalized Sunday afternoon. Here's a look at the entire slate with times, locations, television information and a quick glance at each matchup.
Rose Bowl: Stanford Cardinal vs. Michigan State Spartans
Jan. 1, 2014, 2 p.m. PT (Pasadena, Calif.)
Like between-the-tackle, run-it-up-the-gut football? Tired of spread this and zone read that? Then the Rose Bowl is for you. The Stanford Cardinal and Michigan State Spartans both are coming off impressive defensive performances against spread teams in their conference championship games against, respectively, Arizona State and Ohio State. It's a classic immovable object versus unstoppable force game between the lines with Stanford back Tyler Gaffney and MSU counterpart Jeremy Langford.
Valero Alamo Bowl: Oregon Ducks vs. Texas Longhorns
Dec. 30, 3:45 p.m. PT (San Antonio, Texas)
Both the Oregon Ducks and Texas Longhorns fan bases wish they were playing for titles, but the Valero Alamo Bowl will have to do. Mark Helfrich's team will have the opportunity to answer a question about its run defense, which didn't fare well in losses to Stanford and Arizona this season. At the same time, the Longhorns will likewise have to deal with De'Anthony Thomas and Oregon's up-tempo offense. There's a good chance this becomes a high-scoring affair.
National University Holiday Bowl: Arizona State Sun Devils vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders
Dec. 30, 7:15 p.m. PT (San Diego, Calif.)
After falling to Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship, Arizona State will aim to end the season on a high note against the Texas Tech Red Raiders. The Sun Devils will get a very different look against TTU than they did against the Cardinal. The Red Raiders will sling the ball about under head coach Kliff Kingsbury, a former quarterback himself, and it'll be up to ASU's veteran-laden defense to make a few big plays. Additionally, the month of extra practice time will give coach Todd Graham a chance to sew up the holes on the special teams units.
Hyundai Sun Bowl: UCLA Bruins vs. Virginia Tech Hokies
Dec. 31, 11 a.m. PT (El Paso, Texas)
UCLA missed some opportunities this season in the Pac-12 race, but the Bruins earned themselves an intriguing bowl matchup against Virginia Tech. Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley and freshman standout Myles Jack will face the nation's No. 8 scoring defense, which allows just 17.4 points per game. The Hokies, however, have been inconsistent this year. VT's leading rusher, Trey Edmunds, broke his leg in the last regular-season game and will miss the bowl outing, and that means quarterback Logan Thomas will need to be at his best. Like Hundley, Thomas is a threat in the passing game and on the ground.
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: USC Trojans vs. Fresno State Bulldogs
Dec. 21, 12:30 p.m. PT (Las Vegas)
Since the USC Trojans lost their regular-season finale to UCLA, the team has watched the program hire Steve Sarkisian away from Washington and interim coach Ed Orgeron leave. Offensive coordinator Clay Helton will have a chance to lead his Trojans against the 11-1 Fresno State Bulldogs, where they can finally put a tumultuous season to rest. USC's defense will be tested by senior quarterback Derek Carr, who leads the nation's most deadly passing attack. Carr has thrown 48 touchdowns to seven interceptions and is nearing the 5,000-yard mark on the year.
Fight Hunger Bowl: Washington Huskies vs. BYU Cougars
Dec. 27, 6:30 p.m. PT (San Francisco)
Interim coach Marques Tuiasosopo leads the Washington Huskies into a matchup against a battle-tested BYU Cougars team. While the Huskies' losses this season came to highly ranked squads, the Cougars' season has been a bit more erratic. BYU lost to a Virginia squad that would finish 2-10 but also beat a solid Texas Longhorns team. UW's defense will need to corral BYU quarterback Taysom Hill, who has five 100-yard rushing games on the season.
Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Washington State Cougars vs. Colorado State Rams
Dec. 21, 11 a.m. PT (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Two teams on the upswing from losing seasons in 2012 clash in one of the early bowl games. Washington State's team led by Mike Leach took a major step forward this year and will bring its Air Raid passing attack to square off against an innovative Colorado State Rams squad. Against a balanced CSU offense that scores 35.3 points per game, Washington State safety Deone Bucannon and company will need to create problems for efficient quarterback Garrett Grayson and running back Kapri Bibbs, who has 28 touchdowns this season.
AdvoCare V100 Bowl: Arizona Wildcats vs. Boston College Eagles
Dec. 31, 9:30 a.m. PT (Shreveport, La.)
It's pretty obvious why the committee picked these two teams. Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey and Boston College's Andre Williams square off in a battle between two Doak Walker Award finalists. Other than the Arizona defense stopping Williams (coming off a game where it allowed rival Arizona State to put 58 points on the scoreboard, no less), the Wildcats will key on quarterback B.J. Denker to give their offense something the Eagles don't – BC averages just 150 yards per game through the air.
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Oregon State Beavers vs. Boise State Broncos
Dec. 24, 5 p.m. ET (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Mike Riley's Beavers finish 2013 against a team constructed by a new Pac-12 coach. New Washington Huskies coach Chris Petersen built a perennial winner at Boise State, and though he won't coach in the game, Oregon State will get a taste of what's coming to the Pacific Northwest next season. The Broncos averaged 38.8 points per game in 2013 and have talented skill position players in running back Jay Ajayi and receiver Matt Miller. It'll will be up to OSU's Sean Mannion and receiver Brandin Cooks to keep up. Oregon State will hope to end a five-game losing streak that came after a 6-1 start to the season.