ARIZONA FOOTBALL

Bowl rumors abound, but Cats focus on wins

2010-11-20T00:00:00Z 2013-11-13T19:32:50Z Bowl rumors abound, but Cats focus on winsRyan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
November 20, 2010 12:00 am  • 

The Arizona Wildcats are making their bowl game plans, one rumor at a time.

"It's part of the locker room chat every day," guard Conan Amituanai said. "We have a lot of wannabe experts on the team who are working this out for us.

"We just want to get ourselves in the best position - whatever that means."

Arizona (7-3 overall, 4-3 Pac-10) will finish its season with games against No. 1 Oregon and rival Arizona State.

There's still plenty at stake.

Though the Wildcats have been eliminated from Rose Bowl contention - even if they win out and Oregon loses out, the Ducks or possibly Stanford would play on New Year's Day - a handful of other games are still in the mix.

Depending on how Arizona finishes its season, it will likely end up in the Alamo, Holiday, Sun or MAACO (formerly Las Vegas) bowls. But as defensive end Ricky Elmore admits, bowl talk can be self-defeating with so much football left to play.

"We have a couple games we need to worry about winning first before we can think about going to bowl games," he said. "Coach mentioned maybe going back to the Holiday Bowl, but it doesn't matter, because every week, somebody can lose. Don't worry about what you can't control. Worry about winning games."

Amituanai agreed.

"It's so confusing," he said. "You have to remind yourself when you're losing sleep at night, 'All we have to do is win, and it'll fall into place.'"

Here's a look at Arizona's bowl scenarios and where the Wildcats could end up next month:

Alamo Bowl

Date: Dec. 29

Location: The Alamo-dome, San Antonio (capacity: 65,000)

Matchup: Pac-10 No. 2 vs. Big 12 No. 3

Payout: $3 million per team

Arizona's in if … Top-ranked Oregon defeats Arizona and Oregon State for a berth in the BCS National Championship Game, the UA wins its Territorial Cup Game against the Sun Devils, and Auburn loses to either Alabama or South Carolina. That scenario would likely vault either TCU or Boise State, assuming one of those two teams wins out, to the national title game. Stanford would then play in the Rose Bowl against the Big Ten Conference champion, leaving Arizona to play a Big 12 team in the Alamo Bowl.

But … The Wildcats face a few more hurdles. They must finish ahead of Oregon State, which sits a game behind them, with matchups looming against USC, Stanford and Oregon. Stanford could also drop to the Alamo Bowl if Rose Bowl officials believe the Cardinal won't be able to fill enough seats.

Holiday Bowl

Date: Dec. 30

Location: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego (capacity: 67,500)

Matchup: Pac-10 No. 3 vs. Big 12 No. 5

Payout: $2.3 million per team

Arizona's in if … It wins at least one of the next two games and Oregon either plays for a national championship against Auburn, forcing TCU or Boise State to the Rose Bowl, or falls to a traditional Rose Bowl matchup against the Big Ten champion. That scenario would drop Stanford to the Alamo Bowl and place the Wildcats in San Diego for a second consecutive year.

But … Holiday Bowl officials could balk at a second straight UA appearance, especially after Nebraska blew out the Wildcats 33-0 a year ago. The Holiday Bowl hasn't had a repeat competitor since 2001, when Texas defeated Washington in its second consecutive trip to San Diego. Perhaps a so-called "Stoops Bowl" - Arizona and coach Mike Stoops versus Oklahoma and his brother, Bob Stoops - would convince bowl officials to give the Wildcats a second chance.

Sun Bowl

Date: Dec. 31

Location: The Sun Bowl, El Paso (capacity: 52,000)

Matchup: Pac-10 No. 4 vs. ACC No. 5

Payout: $2 million per team

Arizona's in if … The UA loses out and gets jumped in the Pac-10 standings by Oregon State, or if the Wildcats and Beavers finish tied in the Pac-10 standings.

But … Even if Arizona finishes ahead of Oregon State in the standings, the Holiday and Sun bowls could orchestrate a trade in the name of variety. OSU has played in two of the last four Sun Bowls, and Arizona hasn't played there since 1992. Although the Holiday Bowl appreciates Arizona's rabid Southern California fan base, it could be intrigued by a familiar face: Beavers coach Mike Riley used to coach the hometown NFL Chargers.

MAACO Bowl

Date: Dec. 22

Location: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas (capacity: 36,800)

Matchup: Pac-10 No. 5 vs. Mountain West Conference champion, or best remaining team

Payout: $1 million per team

Arizona's in if … Arizona State, Cal, UCLA or Oregon State win out, and if Sun Bowl officials select a hot team over the UA. It's not beyond the realm of possibility: Whoever wins out would enter the postseason on a winning streak, and the Wildcats would have lost four in a row.

But … The odds of any team winning out are long. Oregon State finishes its schedule with games against USC, Stanford and Oregon, while Cal must play Stanford and Washington. Arizona State and UCLA will play next week in what is, essentially, a bowl elimination game: The loser will be guaranteed no more than five victories this season.

 

Pac-10 Standings

Team Record Pac-10 Remaining games

1. Oregon 10-0 7-0 bye, Arizona, at Oregon St.

2. Stanford 9-1 6-1 at Cal, Oregon St., bye

3. USC 7-3 4-3 at Oregon St., Notre Dame, at UCLA

4. Arizona 7-3 4-3 bye, at Oregon, Arizona St.

5. Oregon St. 4-5 3-3 USC, at Stanford, Oregon

6. Cal 5-5 3-4 Stanford, Washington, bye

7. Washington 4-6 3-4 at Cal, at Washington St.

8. UCLA 4-6 2-5 at Arizona St., USC

9. Arizona St. 4-6 2-5 bye, UCLA, at Arizona

10. Washington St. 2-9 1-7 bye, bye, Washington

NOTE: USC is prohibited from playing in the postseason because of NCAA sanctions.

Up next

• What: Arizona at Oregon

• When: 5 p.m. Friday

• TV: ESPN

• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM

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