Today: Feb 18 , 2020

Bowl Season Not Kind To Pac-12

05 January 2018  
18 Devon Modster scampers through the Kansas State defense during the Cactus Bowl in Phoenix. File Photo

Utah is the lone team to win their bowl game

This was clearly the worst bowl season the Pac-12 has ever had. In fact the most losses by any conference. The Pac-12 conference went 1-8, though only favored in three games, the conference could only manage to win one of those.

Why so many losses? Two teams, Arizona and Stanford had great chances to win their games, but just could not finish. UCLA lost a ten point halftime lead to fall by 18. Teams like ASU, Washington State, Oregon, and USC, got blown out. Washington fell behind early, but could never catch up.

Las Vegas Bowl-Boise State 38, Oregon 28
Boise State (11-3), clearly outplayed the Oregon Ducks, but mistakes made the final score a lot closer than the game really was. In fact, the Ducks did not get into Boise State territory till midway through the third quarter. Down 24-0 with under a minute left in the first half, the Ducks (7-6), scored on an 86 yard fumble recovery, and a 100 yard pick-six.

Oregon did manage to score two offensive fourth quarter touchdowns, which was too little too late.

Heart Of Dallas Bowl-Utah 30, West Virginia 14
The Utes showed up and played a good ball game. Utah (7-6) finished their season on a high note by beating the West Viginia Mountaineers 30-14. The Utes used a very effective run-pass dual threat to keep the Mountaineers (7-6), off balance through most of the contest. It was coach Kyle Whittingham's 11th bowl victory, and the fourth straight winning season for Utah.
Congrats to Utah for being the lone Pac-12 winner.

Cactus Bowl-Kansas State 35, UCLA 17
The Bruins opened up a 17-7 lead by halftime, but that is where it ended. In a tale of two halves,  the Wildcats (8-5), clearly outplayed UCLA by a score of 28-0 in the second half, to win going away. The Bruins top four NFL projected quarterback Josh Rosen came out in pads to warm up, but was in street clothes when the game began. Also UCLA (6-7), fired coach Jim Mora, so the Bruins were led by interim head coach Jedd Fisch. 

Foster Farms Bowl-Purdue 38, Arizona 35
The Wildcats and Boilermakers went toe to toe in what turned out to be a very entertaining game. Down 31-14 at the half, Arizona mounted a comeback. Down by three, and with the ball, UofA QB Khalil Tate through an interception to Purdue safety Jacob Thienman with 1:16 left in the game. The Boilermakers ran out the clock to finish (7-6) on the season. Little did anyone know, perhaps for a select few, that this would be coach Rich Rodriquez's last game for the Wildcats, who finished at (7-6), losing four of their last five, after starting (6-2).

Holiday Bowl-Michigan State 42, Washington State 17
The Cougars of Washington State led 3-0 after the first quarter, but it went downhill from there. The Spartans (10-3), woke up in the second quarter to lead 21-3 at the half, and 35-7 after three quarters. The final 45 minutes of action looked like a rerun of the Apple Cup blowout for the Cougars (9-4).

Alamo Bowl-TCU 41, Stanford 38
The Stanford Cardinal jumped out to a 21-3 lead, but the Hornfrogs battled back. Head coach Gary Patterson threw in some trick plays for the TCU offense, that prooved to be very entertaining, despite the fact that some did not work. After seeing what they did in a bowl comeback versus Oregon, nothing was a surprise. The Tree was beginning to wilt by the end of this one. The Cardinal ended at (9-5), while TCU wrapped up at (11-3).

Sun Bowl-North Carolina State 52, Arizona State 31
Todd Graham just had to coach one more game after being fired after beating U of A. To bad it didn't turn out better. The game started off slow, with the Wolfpack leading 7-0 after one quarter. Both teams lit up the scoreboard in the second quarter, but it was NC STate headiong to the locker room with a 28-10 lead. Trailing 38-10 to start the fourth quarter, the Sun Devils showed some life, with just over nine minutes left. ASU cut the deficit in half from 28 to 14, at 38-24. NC State recovered the ensuing onside kick and put the game away with two late touchdowns.

Arizona State finished the season (7-6), while NC State ended at (9-4).

Cotton Bowl-Ohio State 24, USC 7
The Trojans made too many mistakes and the Buckeyes capitalized on them, building a 24-7 halftime lead. Sam Darnold and company just could not put enough positive plays in a row to make a real impact, thus not being able to score. USC (11-3), did miss a field goal early in the 4th quarter, that would have gotten the Trojans within two scores. Ohio State (12-2), won the battle in the trenches, and was able to create turnovers with great defensive pressure, frustrating USC throughout the contest. In an unusual occurance, there were no points scored in the second half. The Trojans had a chance to get within two score scores in the fourth quarter, but a field goal attempt hit the upright. 

Fiesta Bowl-Penn State 35, Washington 28
The Nittany Lions wanted to show they are a top program and they did just that, beating up the Huskies. Penn State (11-2), held Washington to seven first quarter offensive plays in building 14-0 lead. Washington scored one touchdown with the help of a trick play. Then got help by recovering a Penn State fumble, resulting in their second touchdown, but trailed 28-14 at the half. 

Washington (10-3), scored on two separate occasions to get within seven points, finally got the ball with an opportunity to tie with :35 left, but turned it over with :05 left.

Coach Chris Peterson said after his Washington team was the eighth Pac-12 team to lose. "Sometimes you have those years and they say its a bad conference, but I know thats not the way it is. Some years are like that. I know we have good players and good coaches. It was just one of those years."

Conference - Bowl Record W-L
Big 10                                     7-1
Sun Belt                                  4-1
Big 12                                     5-3
American                                4-3
Mountain West                       3-3
Conference USA                     4-5
SEC                                         4-5
ACC                                        4-6
MAC                                        1-4
Pac-12                                    1-8
Ron Williams

Ron Williams is the advisor, broadcaster, and sportswriter for the BBN, Badger Broadcasting Network. The BBN is a community club for high school students enrolled in the Prescott Unified School District.