Oregon seems almost certain to be playing its bowl game on New Year’s Eve.
The Holiday or Redbox bowls appear to be the most likely destination for the Ducks with the Sun Bowl still a possibility as well.
Washington’s victory over Washington State on Friday night strengthened Oregon’s case to spend Dec. 31 playing a Big Ten opponent at the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. UO’s postseason destination will not be finalized until Sunday.
Oregon’s fate will be determined in part by what the College Football Playoff committee does with Washington State. After finishing the regular season at 10-2, the Cougars are a candidate to be selected for one of the New Year’s Six bowls, likely the Fiesta Bowl.
Washington and Utah play in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night with the winner headed to the Rose Bowl. The loser is expected to be picked for the Alamo Bowl.
However, if Washington State is not picked for the Fiesta, it would likely play in the Alamo Bowl with the loser between the Huskies and Utes likely off to the Holiday Bowl. If WSU does get the New Year’s Six invite, that would move the rest of the conference teams up in the bowl order.
If WSU, Washington and Utah are all gone when the Holiday Bowl makes its pick, that choice would likely come down to Stanford, which is 5-3 heading into Saturday’s game at California, or Oregon, which finished 5-4 in conference play. With a win over the Bears, the Cardinal would finish ahead of Oregon in the North Division with a head-to-head victory over the Ducks. The Holiday Bowl's selection must be based on the standings, but it has an option to pick a team that finishes within one game of another school.
So if Stanford beats Cal, the Holiday would have to choose between either the Cardinal, Ducks or Arizona State. The Holiday Bowl may lean toward having Oregon for the first time since 2008 over Stanford, which is not known for having a fan base that travels well for bowl games.
The Holiday Bowl begins at 4 p.m. Dec. 31 with the Pac-12 team likely facing Northwestern, Iowa or Penn State on Fox Sports 1.
If the Holiday Bowl picks Stanford over Oregon, or if WSU does not get into the Fiesta Bowl, the Ducks would likely be headed to the Redbox Bowl, which also puts a Pac-12 school against the Big Ten on Dec. 31. The game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., begins at noon.
If the Redbox Bowl has to choose between Oregon and Stanford, it could pick the Cardinal with the hope of attracting local fans. Under that scenario, the Ducks would likely be knocked down to the Sun Bowl on Dec. 31 to face a team from the ACC at 11 a.m. on CBS.
However, the organizers could pick ASU over Oregon to draw a fan base closer to El Paso, Texas. That still leaves the unlikely chance that Oregon could be headed back to the Las Vegas Bowl or the Cheez-It Bowl in Phoenix.
If WSU does not get a New Year’s Six invitation and Stanford is picked ahead of UO for the Redbox and ASU gets selected for the Sun Bowl, Oregon would likely be slotted for the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 15. If California beats Stanford to finish tied with Oregon at 5-4, the Vegas game could pick the Bears to avoid having a repeat appearance by Oregon and that would push the Ducks into the Cheez-It Bowl on Dec. 26.