No. 2 Oregon is in the College Football Playoff; 8 total Pac-12 teams selected for bowl games
The Pac-12 is represented in the inaugural College Football Playoff with the selection committee’s decision to give Oregon the No. 2 seed. Joining the Ducks in the four-team playoff are No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 Florida State and No. 4 Ohio State. Additionally, No. 10 Arizona is headed to the Fiesta Bowl.
Other Pac-12 teams ranked in the final College Football Playoff top 25 are UCLA (No. 14), Arizona State (No. 15), Utah (No. 22) and USC (No. 24). A total of eight Pac-12 teams will participate in the postseason: Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Utah and Washington.
Oregon vs. Florida State
Rose Bowl Game (College Football Playoff semifinal)
Jan. 1, 2 p.m. PT, ESPN
All roadblocks have been cleared. The Ducks left no doubt in anybody’s mind after a 51-13 exorcising of Arizona in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game on Friday. Marcus Mariota cemented his case for the Heisman Trophy, but more importantly Oregon cemented its spot in the playoff. Ranked second for the fifth consecutive week, Oregon will head to the Rose Bowl to take on defending national champion Florida State on New Year's Day.
Entering the College Football Playoff on a 29-game win streak, the third-ranked Seminoles have looked ripe for an upset all season long, with seven of their games decided by six points or fewer (including the last four). That said, Jameis Winston and Co. have fended off all challengers down the stretch and punched their ticket to the Rose Bowl with a 37-35 victory over Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship Game. Pasadena could potentially be the site of the last two Heisman Trophy winners by the time New Year's Day rolls around, with Winston taking home the award in 2013 and Mariota the frontrunner for it in 2014.
Arizona vs. Boise State
Vizio Fiesta Bowl
Dec. 31, 1 p.m. PT/2 p.m. MT, ESPN
Friday night wasn't fun for Arizona, but a 10-3 record and first place in the Pac-12 South is good enough to get the Wildcats into a New Year's Six bowl game. Arizona won't have to travel far, either, because the 10th-ranked 'Cats will take on No. 20 Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale. The loss to Oregon certainly put a damper on the mood in Tucson, but this has been a heck of a season for the Wildcats, who were picked to finish fourth in the Pac-12 South. The selection committee didn't penalize them too much for the 51-13 loss, dropping them three spots from No. 7.
Boise State has long been the David to the Goliath of the power conferences in college football, and the Broncos are back in a top-tier bowl game as a result of being the highest-ranked Group of 5 conference champion. The Broncos beat Fresno State 28-14 in the Mountain West championship game Saturday night to punch their ticket to the University of Phoenix Stadium.
UCLA vs. Kansas State
Valero Alamo Bowl
Jan. 2, 3:45 p.m. PT/5:45 p.m. CT, ESPN
In the hunt for the Pac-12 South until the final week of the regular season, No. 14 UCLA (9-3) heads to San Antonio to take on No. 11 Kansas State (9-3) in the Alamo Bowl on Jan. 2. With a win against the Wildcats, UCLA would have its second consecutive 10-win season. K-State was in the race for a share of the Big 12 championship until losing to Baylor 38-27 Saturday night, so a UCLA triumph over the Kansas State would provide a further boost to the Pac-12's national profile. Although quarterback Brett Hundley has one more season of eligiblity, head coach Jim Mora publicly stated he thinks Hundley will declare for the NFL draft, so the Alamo Bowl could very well be the last time Hundley dons a Bruins uniform. According to the bowl's official site, this is the first time the Alamo Bowl has featured two top-15 teams.
Arizona State vs. Duke
Hyundai Sun Bowl
Dec. 27, 11 a.m. PT/12 p.m. MT, CBS
Also in the hunt for the Pac-12 South until the final week of the regular season, No. 15 Arizona State travels to El Paso to take on Duke in the Sun Bowl. In a battle of Devils, ASU has a chance to make it two straight seasons with 10 wins if it can beat the Blue Devils, while Duke can say the same if it beats the Sun Devils. There are other similarites between the two schools – both Arizona State and Duke went 10-4 in 2013, losing in their conference championship games and bowl games to round out the season, and both are 9-3 entering the Sun Bowl. Duke was ranked in the first three College Football Playoff top 25 releases before suffering back-to-back losses to Virginia Tech and North Carolina.
Utah vs. Colorado State
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
Dec. 20, 12:30 p.m. PT/1:30 p.m. MT, ABC
Welcome back to bowl season, Utes. In large thanks to its first winning record in conference play since joining the Pac-12, 22nd-ranked Utah is headed to the Las Vegas Bowl to take on former conference foe Colorado State. Utah last played in a bowl game after the 2011 regular season, beating Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl, and at 8-4 heading to Sin City, the Utes have a chance for their best season since a 10-3 2010 campaign that ended with a loss to Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Colorado State is no slouch; the 10-2 Rams have tied a school record for regular season wins. With former head coach Jim McElwain off to Florida, interim head man Dave Baldwin will attempt to make it three in a row for Colorado State against the Pac-12 – the Rams beat Washington State in last year's New Mexico Bowl and defeated Colorado in the 2014 regular season opener.
USC vs. Nebraska
National University Holiday Bowl
Dec. 27, 5 p.m. PT, ESPN
Two storied programs will be mashing helmets at the Holiday Bowl in San Diego when No. 24 USC plays Nebraska out of the Big Ten. The Cornhuskers made headlines earlier this week by hiring Mike Riley away from Oregon State after firing Bo Pelini on the heels of a 9-3 season that included a 5-0 start but no wins over ranked opponents. (Riley will not coach the 'Huskers in the Holiday Bowl; that will be left to interim HC Barney Cotton.) USC wrapped up its first regular season under the guidance of Steve Sarkisian at 8-4, a year that boasted wins over Stanford, Arizona and Notre Dame but also featured disappointing losses to Boston College and UCLA and last-second heartbreakers to Arizona State and Utah.
Washington vs. Oklahoma State
TicketCity Cactus Bowl
Jan. 2, 7:15 p.m. PT/8:15 p.m. MT, ESPN
The Dawgs are bowling for a fifth consecutive season, landing in the Cactus Bowl against 6-6 Oklahoma State. Washington (8-5) finished its first regular season under Chris Petersen on a high note, winning its last two and demolishing rival Washington State in the Apple Cup. Oklahoma State had to wait until the final week of the season to achieve bowl eligibility, but did so in satisfying fashion by upending rival Oklahoma 38-35 to halt a five-game losing streak. A win over the Pokes would be Washington's second against an FBS team with six regular-season wins in 2014.
Stanford vs. Maryland
Foster Farms Bowl
Dec. 30, 7 p.m. PT, ESPN
It wasn't the season people were hoping for on The Farm, but Stanford finished the regular season with back-to-back three-touchdown wins over Cal and UCLA, the latter knocking the Bruins out of the Pac-12 Football Championship Game. As such, the 7-5 Cardinal carries some momentum with it as it heads to the Foster Farms Bowl at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara on Dec. 30, where it will take on Maryland.
New to the Big Ten, the Terps went 7-5 and 4-4 in league play and officially made itself bowl eligible with a 20-19 win at Penn State. A bad omen for the Cardinal that has absolutely nothing to do with the X's and O's of the Dec. 30 matchup: Maryland has alternated wins and losses each week since the end of September, a stretch of eight games. The last time the Terrapins played, they lost 41-38 to Rutgers.
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