With the Oregon Ducks’ victory in the Rose Bowl over the Wisconsin Badgers, the Pacific-12 Conference finished another successful season of competition. Overall, the league’s 12 teams posted an 83-70 record for a .542 winning percentage, the third-best mark in the country among all Football Bowl Subdivision conferences.
We went 6-1 in our bowl predictions, too, bringing our overall season mark to 68-29, which is just a little bit worse than our 73-27 record from the 2018 season. But hey, it’s still pretty good: We do know our Pac-12 football here.
Now, here is our final water-cooler column of the season. Enjoy!
What Pac-12 team’s fans will be happy?
We’re going to go with the California Golden Bears, who finished with eight victories for just the second time in the last 10 seasons. With a 35-20 win over Illinois in the Redbox Bowl, too, it was just the second bowl triumph for the Golden Bears since 2008. This sets Cal up as a semi-legit contender for the Pac-12 North Division next season, when you consider the school also won the Big Game for the first time in forever this year, too.
What Pac-12 team’s fans will be mad?
Definitely the USC Trojans here as the team took it on the chin from Iowa Hawkeyes in the Holiday Bowl, losing by 25 points. The Trojans had momentum on their side, down just four points in the third quarter when their quarterback was knocked out of the game. Somehow, that caused the whole USC roster to throw in the towel, and the rest was ugly. If the Trojans can’t get ready for 2020 and contend for the Pac-12 title, the alums will get restless!
Big Performers of the Bowl Season
Cal QB Chase Garbers had himself a stellar bowl game against the Illini, throwing for four touchdowns on 22-of-31 passing for 272 yards. The sophomore also ran for a TD, thus accounting for all five Golden Bears scores in the game. If Garbers can stay healthy next year, he should be in a great position for a breakout season in the Pac-12.
Arizona State freshman defensive back Willie Harts had a career day in the Sun Bowl for the Sun Devils against the Florida State Seminoles. Not only did Harts force a fumble and make three tackles, he returned an interception 25 yards for the go-ahead/winning score in the game as well. Overall, ASU forced six FSU turnovers in the 20-14 victory.
Unlucky Team of the Bowl Season
Can we say it’s Washington State for getting stuck with such a bad coach? Sure, but it’s too easy. Utah lost its motivation, but that’s not unlucky, per se. In the end, it’s still USC here, because Kedon Slovis was starting to shred the Iowa defense. He was 22-of-30 for 260 yards and two TDs when he got injured, and considering the freshman was so good this year, the Trojans just didn’t have much else to turn to after that. That’s bad luck.
Big picture heading into 2020
Washington’s Chris Petersen decided to step down, leaving a coaching void in the conference that cannot be filled, really. The Huskies will be fine, but for now, the future of the North Division could be between Cal and Oregon. Look for those two schools to get a lot of hype next summer. Meanwhile, in the South, it’s going to come down to the Trojans and the Utes again. The real question will be whether or not a team can get through the tough conference schedule unblemished enough to make it into the corrupt playoff system. That’s beyond everyone’s control, sadly.
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