Utah Utes bowl predictions should really please fans of the team. The Rose Bowl is now the projected destination for Utah this postseason, as revealed in a new report by CBS Sports. One of the schools previously in consideration to represent the Pac-12 Conference at the Rose Bowl was the Washington State Cougars, but a bad loss to the Washington Huskies on Friday, Nov. 25, has shaken things up a bit.
The college football analysts at CBS Sports predict that it will be Washington vs. Alabama in the Peach Bowl. This projection comes from Washington winning the Pac-12 Championship Game and getting an invite to participate in the College Football Playoff. That opens the door for another Pac-12 school to represent the conference at the Rose Bowl.
Earlier in the week, a report by ESPN revealed slightly different Utah Utes bowl predictions. The college football experts at the site projected that it would either be Utah vs. Iowa in the Holiday Bowl or Utah vs. Wake Forest in the Sun Bowl. Both invites would be a step up from the Las Vegas Bowl, where Utah played BYU last year. Either bowl would also be a step down from participating in the Rose Bowl.
The latest Pac-12 standings reveal that there are six schools that could be in the running for a spot in the Rose Bowl. The simplest route for the Rose Bowl Committee, is for the school that wins the Pac-12 Championship Game to receive the invite. If the Washington Huskies win the Pac-12 title game, but don’t get invited to the College Football Playoff, the team will head straight to Pasadena. Likewise, if the South Division champion wins the title game, that school would get an invite to play in the Rose Bowl.
The scenario where things get really interesting, and which CBS Sports is projecting will happen, is that Utah beats Colorado on Saturday, Nov. 26. In that situation, USC would then win the division, putting the Trojans in the Pac-12 Championship Game against UW. This is where it gets tricky, as CBS Sports also projects that Washington will beat USC, and that Utah will vault up the College Football Playoff rankings. What follows is how the site predicts the Pac-12 standings will look in two weeks.
CBS Sports Pac-12 Projections
Washington Huskies 12-1 (8-1)
USC Trojans 9-4 (7-2)
Colorado Buffaloes 9-3 (7-2)
Washington State Cougars 8-4 (7-2)
Utah Utes 9-3 (6-3)
Stanford 9-3 (6-3)
Arizona State 6-6 (3-6)
To get that ninth win, the USC Trojans also have to win a game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday. USC is done with conference games, but is still behind Colorado for the South Division title. If Colorado beats Utah on Saturday, then the Buffaloes win the South and advance to play the Washington Huskies in the Pac-12 Championship Game. In those scenarios, the Utah Utes bowl projections will shift, because the team would no longer be in the conversation for a Rose Bowl invite. Finishing 8-4 (5-4) wouldn’t be good enough for the Utes.
The Pac-12 Conference will have seven bowl-eligible teams by the end of the weekend if Arizona State takes care of Arizona. As it stands, though, the conference won’t have a representative to send to the Cactus Bowl if the Washington Huskies are invited to play in the Peach Bowl. It’s also possible that if not enough schools become bowl eligible across the country that a 5-7 Oregon Ducks team could still receive an invite to that game. Would Oregon fans be enthusiastic about seeing a struggling Oregon team play in a bowl game though?
For Utah to achieve that “best case scenario” and get invited to the Rose Bowl, it may also require the team to run up the score on Colorado this weekend. Doing so would catch the eye of the national voters and likely get reflected in the Week 14 college football rankings. That’s what the USC Trojans are also rooting for, but with the hope that the team could then beat Washington for the second time this season. Stay tuned, because all the Utah Utes bowl predictions and projections hinge on what takes place during Saturday’s games.
[Featured Image by Gene Sweeney, Jr./Getty Images]