Not unlike the start of the college football season, the bowl season is a time of high hopes for teams and conferences.
Everyone can’t wait to thump their chests at how fantastic their conference is. The Pac-12 and its fanbase are no exception. Already people are touting that the league should go 9-0, or at least 8-1, in its bowl season.
And that confidence is justified. The league was outstanding in its nonconference slate this year. So there is reason to be hopeful. Then again, we recall what happened last year when the league was favored in seven of eight games and ended up going 4-4. Things happen. Quarterbacks get sacked. Offensive linemen get hurt. First downs appear out of nowhere.
Then again, miracles can also happen. Right, Wildcats?
So what’s the 2013 bowl season look like for the Pac-12? What would be an acceptable number of losses for the league to still keep its national credibility?
Once again, here's the bowl lineup:
Rose Bowl game presented by VIZIO: Stanford vs. Michigan State
Valero Alamo Bowl: Oregon vs. Texas
National University Holiday Bowl: Arizona State vs. Texas Tech
Hyundai Sun Bowl: UCLA vs. Virginia Tech
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: USC vs. Fresno State
Fight Hunger Bowl: Washington vs. BYU
Gildan New Mexico: Washington State vs. Colorado State
Sheraton Hawaii: Oregon State vs. Boise State
AdvoCare V100: Arizona vs. Boston College
How many bowl games will the Pac-12 win this year?
Your voting options:
9: Nothing sweeter than perfection. That’ll stick it to the BCS man for only having one Pac-12 team in a BCS bowl game.
8: Still a solid showing, assuming the one loss isn’t Stanford falling to Michigan State in the Rose Bowl Game. I think we can all agree that no matter what, the league has to win its BCS bowl game.
7: Still very respectable (again, assuming Stanford takes care of business). There are a couple of scary games on the docket -- like Oregon State against Boise State or USC against Fresno State. This wouldn’t be a panic scenario, but it wouldn’t feel as good as eight or nine wins.
6: Now it starts to get dicey. Because that means there were at least three upsets along the way. Five of the eight games are against teams from BCS conferences, so either the Pac-12 is losing some credibility against the AQ leagues or non-AQ teams are pulling off upsets.
5 or fewer: With the talent in the league this year and the way the games shakeout, this would be considered a disaster of a bowl season. Again, Stanford winning can salvage that a little bit, but five wins or fewer opens up the door for “overrated” fodder that would marinate for months.