Who Could Our Bowl Opponents Be? (Sun and Elsewhere)
We covered the Emerald possibilities yesterday–onto the other prospects, examining mainly the complexity of the Sun Bowl choice. Most of these possibilities are burning alive with Oregon’s predictable collapse in the desert. Better pencil in San Francisco, but this is just in case.
You can vote in the sidebar for the conference you’d like to see, based on these two previews of non-information.
Onto El Paso, which is certainly not out of reach. Usually a Big East #2 or Big 12 #6 team rotates this spot. Since a Big 12 team took the spot last year (Missouri), it’s probably the Big East’s turn. To be honest, I’m a little wary of the Sun Bowl, not only because of the fact that it’s El Paso, but because the teams we could face have a much more legitimate chance of beating us than our Emerald adversary.
Usually the Sun Bowl gives the second best tie-in. For the Big East #2 spot, there are three teams with the best prospects: West Virgina, UConn and Cincinnati.
Cincinnati seems to end up here, assuming West Virginia runs the table and beats them and UConn. They beat up Oregon State by 31, tore apart Rutgers, South Florida and UConn. But they also lost to painful Pitt, whose head coach continues to be Wannstastic in college as he was in the pros. I’m going to guess they’re like the UCLA of the Big East–they get up for the big games and then lose head scratchers. So I’m firmly convinced will be entrenched in a dogfight against this team. Powerful offense, strong ground defense–the sort of team that we’ve struggled with all year long. Wooo!
UConn is an interesting possibility if they hold on and Cincinnati loses another game (their West Virginia game this Saturday being the toughest). I’d be much happier to face off against the Huskies than the Bearcats, since (1) UConn will send even less fans than Cal, and (2) their offense is much much weaker, as in I have no idea who their QB is. They do give up a lot of yards, but seem to keep the points low.
I sure as hell do not want to face West Virginia, who would drop here with losses to either Cincinnati or UConn. Pat White is the Dennis Dixon of the Big East, and that defense is rock solid, giving up barely 270 yards per game and 94 on the ground. Would be a nightmarish New Year’s Eve present to face the likely raging Big East contender.
The darkhorse in this race (and it’s a really black steed) is Pitt, who would have to win two of their last three to even be bowl-eligible, which includes at Rutgers, South Florida at home, and at West Virginia. Yeah, that’s not happening. Too bad. It’d have been fun to beat up on Dave Wannstache.
If the Sun Bowl decides to delve into the Big 12 again, the stock is a little dry. With the collapse of Ohio State, the Big 12 seem all but guaranteed to send two teams to the BCS (the Kansas-Missouri winner, and likely Oklahoma if they win out); the odd man out will be heading to the Cotton Bowl. Texas is also a dark horse for the BCS–if they don’t get in, they’ll rotate into the Gator Bowl or Holiday. So no, Cal fans, there will be no chance at revenge for you Mack Brown haters.
What’s more likely is Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, virtual carbon copies of each other (great offenses, no defense), or Texas A&M. I’d have to think Oklahoma State would be our matchup, with Texas Tech heading back to the Holiday Bowl and a Cal-A&M rematch not really in the interest of anyone. But again, the Big East will probably be picked if Cal ends up here. Although I certainly wouldn’t mind some revenge on those Red Raiders.
Damnit, Mike Leach. The horror.
Interestingly, CBS has us facing Cincinnati, Scout has us facing Texas A&M, Rivals and Mandel has UConn–all in the Sun Bowl. Apparently everyone’s pretty optimistic we make it here and UCLA bombs their way out. Like most prognosticators, they’ll probably be wrong about this too.
There isn’t much of a chance Vegas gets us this year, not with the Emerald having the inside track to our pick. But the scenarios are terribly uninteresting, because they start and end with B-Y-U. Barring a collapse to utterly uninteresting Wyoming and holding off their rival (and slightly less whitebread) Utah, they’ll be heading to the Strip again, armed with Bibles and black suits of chastity. What a ridiculous tie-in–how can bringing BYU to Vegas every year be good for the local economy?
Could only happen if BOTH Arizona State and USC lose their rivalry games to Arizona and UCLA and fall out of BCS contention, AND Cal loses one of its final two games, finishing with a losing record against the Pac-10. The winner of ASU-USC’s Thanksgiving showdown goes to the Holiday Bowl, the loser to the Sun, Oregon State and UCLA head to Vegas and San Francisco, and. Truly a nightmare scenario. I’d probably just start retching all through winter break.
Our possible opponents include New Mexico, Air Force, and Utah (considering the Armed Forces tie-in, probably Air Force). Utah beat UCLA by 38, which means absolutely nothing. Air Force beat up on Notre Dame, which means absolutely nothing. New Mexico edged out Arizona, which…oh, you know. Would be a rootin-tootin gunslinger, I have to say. Yosemite Sam might make a guest appearance. No Yankees will be at this game, that’s for sure.
Then again, if we can’t beat the Huskies, I really don’t want to think about our bowl game.
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