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Sports >  NCAA football

Pac-12 football: Projections for the CFP, New Year’s Six and Pac-12 bowl games

Aug. 30, 2021 Updated Mon., Aug. 30, 2021 at 6:31 p.m.

By Jon Wilner Bay Area News Group

The Pac-12 has seven bowl slots guaranteed for the 2021 postseason, unless it has eight.

We’re days from kickoff, and the situation remains unsettled – albeit in a favorable fashion for the conference.

Berths in the Rose, Alamo, Las Vegas, Holiday, Sun and Los Angeles bowls await teams with a .500 or better record, along with a slot in one of three ESPN games.

But there could be an eighth bid available for the conference.

Remember the Redbox Bowl, which was based in Santa Clara and matched the Pac-12 against the Big Ten? It went on hiatus last year for reasons only partly related to COVID.

The game hasn’t returned officially to the postseason scene; nor has it been pronounced dead and gone forever.

There’s a chance it could be revived for 2021, giving the Pac-12 eight berths instead of seven.

We should know soon, perhaps before the season.

Our projections for the major bowls and Pac-12 games:

College Football Playoff

Semifinal (Cotton Bowl)

Date: Dec. 31

Matchup: No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 4 North Carolina

Winner: Oklahoma. The Sooners don’t have matchup problems at the line of scrimmage against UNC. But just wait …

Semifinal (Orange Bowl)

Date: Dec. 31

Matchup: No. 2 Georgia vs. No. 3 Ohio State

Winner: Georgia. There’s always a blowout in the semifinals. This isn’t it. Instant classic.

National championship (Indianapolis)

Date: Jan. 10

Matchup: No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 2 Georgia

Winner: Georgia. The Bulldogs dominate up front and quarterback JT Daniels, the former USC starter, fulfills his destiny by winning the national championship … for a school thousands of miles from home.

New Year’s Six

(Rose Bowl listed in next section)

Sugar Bowl

Date: Jan. 1

Matchup: Alabama (SEC) vs. Iowa State (Big 12)

Winner: Alabama. Closer than expected, for three quarters.

Fiesta Bowl

Date: Jan. 1

Matchup: Indiana (at-large) vs. Cincinnati (at-large/Group of Five)

Winner: Cincinnati. The Big 12 would be lucky to have the Bearcats.

Peach Bowl

Date: Dec. 30

Matchup: Clemson (at-large) vs. Texas A&M (at-large)

Winner: Clemson. Big-stage experience is the difference for the Tigers.

Pac-12 bowls

Rose Bowl

Date: Jan. 1

Matchup: Oregon (Pac-12) vs. Wisconsin (Big Ten)

Winner: Wisconsin. Feels like we’ve seen this matchup before, twice.

Alamo Bowl

Date: Dec. 28

Matchup: Arizona State vs. Oklahoma State (Big 12)

Winner: Oklahoma State. Terrific season ends as Sun Devils brace for the NCAA hammer.

Las Vegas Bowl

Date: Dec. 30

Matchup: Washington vs. Iowa (Big Ten)

Winner: Washington. It’s like 1982 all over again, except there’s no Dawgfather, and this isn’t the Granddaddy.

Holiday Bowl

Date: Dec. 28

Matchup: Utah vs. Virginia (ACC)

Winner: Utah. After back-to-back bowl losses, the formerly invincible Utes return to postseason form.

Sun Bowl

Date: Dec. 31

Matchup: USC vs. NC State (ACC)

Winner: NC State. If this is how it plays out, the Trojans will be seeking a new head coach.

LA Bowl

Date: Dec. 18

Matchup: Cal vs. Boise State (Mountain West)

Winner: Cal. Justin Wilcox vs. his former team has some appeal. So does the name of the game: Officially, it’s the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl.

First Responders Bowl

Date: Dec. 28

Matchup: UCLA vs. Wake Forest (ACC)

Winner: UCLA. This is an ESPN pool berth for the Pac-12 and could be the Armed Forces or, perhaps, the Gasparilla.

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