It has been a discussion topic for the last couple of seasons, if not more, about the Pac-12 bowl tie-ins, and how they needed to get some much needed TLC. I mean, outside of the Rose Bowl, the overall body of the bowl lineup did leave a little to be desired. Brett McMurphy of Stadium outlined all of the Power 5 conference bowl lineups starting in the 2020 season, and I think the Pac-12 did make some improvements, but still has a ways to go.
Of course, the Rose Bowl stays, but then the No. 2 bowl, like it is now is the Alamo Bowl against the Big 12. That’s a good bowl, with a good matchup, and has produced great games in the past. I’m a fan of this bowl. Sliding in at the No. 3 spot, and may eventually be the No. 2 is the new look Las Vegas Bowl in the Raiders new stadium. This new bowl will put the Pac-12 vs. either the SEC or the Big Ten. This is the first potential SEC/Pac-12 matchup bowl. With the location and the new stadium, this is a bowl game to watch out for.
Behind those three is a new Los Angeles Bowl against a Mountain West team. With the Vegas Bowl basically booting out the MWC, this could be the MWC champ against the Pac-12 No. 4 team. Many years that could be a solid matchup, and considering this would likely be the only non-P5 bowl for the Pac-12, I’m ok with it. With that said, a bowl game in LA, likely in the Rams new stadium will potentially draw a bigger opponent in the future.
The Holiday Bowl now against the ACC slides in next, and this is a cool bowl game, and one I think the Pac-12 should hold on to, they just need a new stadium to go to. Next is the Redbox Bowl against the Big Ten. The biggest issue with this bowl is usually the timing isn’t the best, and it’s in the Bay Area. No one can afford to go there, and attendance leaves a lot to be desired. Get this game out of Santa Clara and we may be onto something.
In the seven hole for the Pac-12 is the Sun Bowl against the ACC. El Paso leaves a lot to be desired, but I think this is kind of a cool bowl. For the 7th best team in the league, or so, the Sun Bowl is one of the original bowls and is an early afternoon game and often is the only game on TV at that time. Don’t hate this bowl, but I don’t love it. Lastly is the Independence Bowl against the ACC, the third of three potential matchups between the two leagues. I do think it’s cool that the two coastal leagues play each other three times in bowl games. The location sucks in Shreveport, and depending on the ACC, which is basically a one team league right now, the matchup may not be sexy, but as long as it’s a P5 opponent, that gives some consolation.
Here’s the bowl lineup right now
College Football Playoff Semifinal: If Selected
1. Rose Bowl vs. Big Ten
2. Valero Alamo Bowl vs. Big 12
3. San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl vs. Big Ten
4. Redbox Bowl vs. Big Ten
5. Hyundai Sun Bowl vs. ACC
6. Las Vegas Bowl vs. Mountain West
7. Cheez-It Bowl vs. Big 12
So the league added one game, dropped the Cheez-It Bowl, and after this past season’s game that’s for the best, and reshuffled some of the order. They also drop one of the games against the Big 12, added two against the ACC, and potentially one against the SEC. Overall, I’d say it’s an upgrade, and I think those top four bowls in Pasadena, Vegas, San Antonio, LA, and you add in San Diego further down the list, are nice destinations for fans over the holidays and New Years.
CFP if selected
Rose vs. Big Ten
Alamo vs. Big 12
Las Vegas vs. SEC/Big Ten
Los Angeles vs. Mountain West
Holiday vs. ACC
Redbox vs. Big Ten
Sun vs. ACC
Independence vs. ACC
Changes: The NCAA granted the Pac-12 an additional bowl bid in the new cycle and the Pac-12 is expected to add the Los Angeles Bowl vs. the Mountain West and the Independence Bowl against the ACC. The Pac-12 also will play against either the SEC or the Big Ten in the new Las Vegas Bowl. By adding two bowls, the Pac-12 had to drop one – it’s expected to be the Cheez-It Bowl. The Pac-12 will now have Power 5 opponents in seven of its eight bowls, including three from the ACC and at least two from the Big Ten.