Possible Bowl Scenarios For Utes Based On Pac-12 Title Outcome
SALT LAKE CITY- No. 12 Utah is set to take on No. 4 USC in Las Vegas for the Pac-12 Championship on Friday which will ultimately determine their bowl game fate. There is a lot riding on the game and few different bowl game options that could happen for Utah depending on whether they win or lose the conference championship game.
Here is what things look like right now based off of what the experts are saying.
The Rose Bowl
Utah will find itself in Pasadena again in the New Year if they win on Friday. It gets hairier if they lose.
Yes, it’s true, USC has Playoff hopes riding on this game and a win would certainly send them in that direction opening up the Rose Bowl for the runner-up, however, this season comes with a caveat.
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Washington finished their Pac-12 campaign 10-2 on the season and ranked ahead of Utah at No. 9 despite not playing for the Pac-12 Championship. It is thought the Rose Bowl committee will look to the team in the Pac-12 with the better ranking and record should the Trojans advance to the Playoff which would mean the Huskies would jump the Utes for the spot.
It’s not set in stone, the committee could indeed go with runner-up Utah, but in the here and now it doesn’t feel likely which means the Utes’ best chance at being back at the Rose Bowl is to just win on Friday.
Where Does Utah Go If They Lose And UW Goes To The Rose Bowl?
In the event that Utah loses on Friday and the Rose Bowl Committee rolls with Washington, the Utes could find themselves in couple of different spots.
At the moment, the most prevailing thought appears to be a return to the Alamo Bowl which is the second-best bowl tie-in in the Pac-12. What could potentially dissuade the Alamo Bowl Committee from putting Utah in however, is if the other opponent is Texas. Utah and Texas played each other in the Alamo Bowl not too long ago in 2019 so it may be possible the Utes get skipped for someone else so as to not repeat a recent matchup.
If the Alamo Bowl passes on Utah, the next most likely scenario would be a return to the Holiday Bowl against a team like Florida State. This option is most likely to offer Utah a different opponent than they have seen in a while, while also sending them to a desirable location.
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There have also been some outlier picks that don’t seem terribly likely but are worth at least mentioning since the curiosity is there with you, the fan.
If you ask Bill Bender from Sporting News, Utah will end up in the Sun Bowl with a loss on Friday, while if you ask USA Today, the Utes are destined for the Las Vegas Bowl.
The Vegas Bowl is the fourth best bowl game the Pac-12 is tied into after the Holiday Bowl, but with the Utes just barely being in Vegas for the conference championship game there is some question as to whether the City of Sin wants the same team coming back two-weeks later. On the plus-side, Las Vegas is an easy trip and Utah seems to always travel well for the game. Not to mention the upgraded opponent being an SEC team.
In regard to the Sun Bowl, it’s second to last option for the Pac-12 and it just seems unlikely the Pac-12 runner up would be sent to El Paso. Especially with teams like Oregon State and Washington State reaching bowl eligibility.
Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports
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