With four teams ranked in the top 15 of the latest Associated Press poll, the Pac-12 has proven to be one of the nation’s more competitive top-end conferences through the first month of the 2022 season.
That has made many prognosticators elevate two Pac-12 teams into their New Year’s Six bowl projections this week.
As a result, defending Pac-12 champion Utah, which is coming off a 34-13 win over Arizona State in its conference opener, has some competition from other league teams for those coveted spots.
USC is now projected to play in the Rose Bowl by both ESPN projectors, as well as Action Network, College Football News and 247 Sports, and to make the Cotton Bowl by USA Today.
Washington also got three votes to reach the Cotton Bowl (from ESPN, Action Network and 247 Sports), while Oregon had a pair for the Cotton Bowl (CBS Sports and College Football News).
For now, the league is not projected to have a participant in the College Football Playoff.
*-indicates same projection as last week.
Bowl projections for Utah football after Week 4
- Kyle Bonagura, ESPN: Alamo Bowl, vs. Oklahoma State.
- Mark Schlabach, ESPN: Las Vegas Bowl, vs. Arkansas.
- Brett McMurphy, Action Network: Alamo Bowl, vs. Baylor.*
- Jerry Palm, CBS Sports: Rose Bowl, vs. Michigan.*
- Erick Smith, USA Today: Rose Bowl, vs. Michigan.*
- College Football News: Holiday Bowl, vs. Notre Dame.
- Brad Crawford, 247 Sports: Alamo Bowl, vs. Oklahoma.
Last week, the No. 12 Utes (3-1) were projected to make a New Year’s Six bowl in five of the seven bowl projections used for this weekly update. That included four Rose Bowl predictions.
Now, that number has been cut more than in half, though it’s less about Utah and more about the competitiveness of the Pac-12 through the season’s first month.
Two writers, CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm and USA Today’s Erick Smith, still have the Utes making a NY6 bowl — the Rose Bowl.
Things could change quickly, though, in a competitive Pac-12 race, particularly with Utah’s upcoming schedule.
In October, the Utes will face Oregon State (home), UCLA (road), USC (home) and Washington State (road), teams with a combined 14-2 record.
Bowl projections for BYU football after Week 4
- Kyle Bonagura, ESPN: New Mexico Bowl, vs. San Jose State.*
- Mark Schlabach, ESPN: LendingTree Bowl, vs. Appalachian State.
- Brett McMurphy, Action Network: First Responder Bowl, vs. Texas Tech.
- Jerry Palm, CBS Sports: Armed Forces Bowl, vs. Cincinnati.*
- Erick Smith, USA Today: Frisco Bowl, vs. Appalachian State.
- College Football News: Myrtle Beach Bowl, vs. Appalachian State.
- Brad Crawford, 247 Sports: Armed Forces Bowl, vs. Kansas.
The loss to Oregon two weeks ended any talk about No. 19 BYU (3-1) being in contention for a New Year’s Six bowl for now.
There are some interesting bowl projections, still, for the Cougars.
The most popular projection right now is BYU facing Appalachian State.
The Mountaineers have had a wild start to the season, losing to North Carolina 63-61 in the season opener, then knocking off then-No. 6 Texas A&M. In Sun Belt play, Appalachian State beat Troy on a last-second miracle, then blew a 28-3 lead in falling to James Madison.
Sounds like a fun bowl opponent.
A pair of other projections have the Cougars meeting a future Big 12 team — either Cincinnati or currently unbeaten Kansas — in the Armed Forces Bowl.
“With matchups against Notre Dame and Arkansas among others remaining, there’s still a lot of room for BYU to move up in the national rankings and into a higher-tier bowl slot, perhaps in the New Year’s Six,” 247 Sports’ Brad Crawford wrote. “For now, however, we’re keeping the Cougars here against surprise unbeaten Kansas, one of this season’s best stories during the opening month.”
Bowl projections for Utah State football after Week 4
- Kyle Bonagura, ESPN: None.
- Mark Schlabach, ESPN: None.
- Brett McMurphy, Action Network: None.
- Jerry Palm, CBS Sports: None.
- Erick Smith, USA Today: None.
- College Football News: None.
- Brad Crawford, 247 Sports: None.
After a third consecutive loss, Utah State (1-3) was again shut out of the latest bowl projections.
The Aggies will need to turn things around to get back into postseason contention, though their challenge this week is traveling to Provo to play BYU.