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Foster Farms Bowl emerging as front-runner for the Utes


SALT LAKE CITY — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham thought the Utes might have a pretty good idea where they would be going bowling after Friday night’s Pac-12 championship game between Washington and Colorado.

And he was most likely right.’s Kyle Bonagura, who covers the conference, sent out the following message via Twitter Saturday afternoon:

“Utah is the overwhelming favorite to land in Foster Farms from Pac-12. Most likely opponent: Indiana.”

Although nothing is official until announcements are made on Sunday, there’s a line of reasoning to follow after fourth-ranked Washington’s 41-10 win over No. 8 Colorado in the championship game.

Barring a surprise, like the Huskies not getting into the College Football Playoff and no other team in the conference earning a New Year’s Six bowl invitation, Utah’s options are down to two — Foster Farms or the Sun Bowl.

That’s assuming USC and Colorado fill the Rose and Alamo bowl slots with Washington going to the four-team playoff.

The Pac-12’s three remaining bowl eligible teams — Washington State (8-4, 7-2), Stanford (9-3, 6-3) and Utah (8-4, 5-4) — would then be left for the Holiday, Foster Farms and Sun bowls. Conference arrangements with the Las Vegas and Cactus bowls would not be filled, going to at-large teams instead.

Conference rules in the pecking order prohibit the Holiday Bowl from taking any team with more than a one-game difference in conference play. That eliminates Utah from consideration for the San Diego game. Washington State prevailed at Stanford 42-16 earlier this season and appears to be the logical choice there.

The Foster Farms Bowl then gets to choose between Utah and Stanford. It hosted the Cardinal in 2014 and is believed to favor the Utes for a variety of reasons, including ticket and hotel room sales.

Utah haven’t been to the Bay Area game since 2005 when it was known as the Emerald Bowl and played at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

The 2016 Foster Farms Bowl is scheduled for Dec. 28 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. The Sun Bowl is Dec. 30 in El Paso, Texas.

GOING FOR THREE: Utah sophomore Mitch Wishnowsky will be in Atlanta this week for “The Home Depot College Football Awards Show.” Wishnowsky is one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter — along with Michael Dickson of Texas and Cameron Johnston of Ohio State. Wishnowsky is seeking a three-peat for the Utes. Tom Hackett won the award in 2014 and 2015.

The ESPN show airs Thursday at 5 p.m.

EXTRA POINTS: Senior defensive end Hunter Dimick and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey are the lone Pac-12 players on the COSIDA Academic All-America football team. … Dimick, offensive lineman Isaac Asiata and quarterback Troy Williams are scheduled to attend a press conference regarding Utah’s bowl destination Sunday afternoon. … Whittingham expects the Utes to be back on the practice field next week — at least a little bit — depending on what bowl invitation they get.