Here are situations the place UCLA can go bowling this season

The Faculty Soccer Playoff dream died with the stumble towards Arizona. Returning to the Rose Bowl sport for the primary time since 1999 was out after the heartbreaker towards USC.

Again-to-back losses have left UCLA to ponder one thing lots much less enjoyable than a path to the Pac-12 championship sport.

Now it’s all about which mid-tier bowl sport the Bruins would possibly discover themselves in subsequent month.

First, a fast primer on Pac-12 bowl alternatives. If the Pac-12 champion makes the CFP, the Rose Bowl picks a alternative staff (presumably the one with the next-best CFP rating). The Alamo Bowl will get the following choose, adopted by the Vacation Bowl and the Las Vegas Bowl. These bowls can select based mostly on their very own choice as long as there isn’t greater than a one-game distinction in convention document between their choice and groups remaining on the board.

Beginning with the Solar Bowl, which picks subsequent, the alternatives are based mostly strictly on convention document. The Jimmy Kimmel Bowl goes subsequent and the Pac-12 additionally will fill one slot from both the Armed Forces Bowl, First Responder Bowl or Gasparilla Bowl.

If every part breaks proper, UCLA followers may get to spend a couple of days on San Antonio’s River Stroll as a part of a visit to the Alamo Bowl. In a far much less attractive situation, they’d get to roam their very own houses earlier than making a a lot shorter commute to SoFi Stadium for the Jimmy Kimmel Bowl.

One place UCLA most likely gained’t be for the vacations is the Vacation Bowl. The Bruins’ last-minute withdrawal from the sport a yr in the past over a roster depleted by COVID-19 didn’t give bowl officers sufficient time to discover a alternative staff.

“In general, bowl games prefer to avoid back-to-back bowl trips,” Mark Neville, government director of the Vacation Bowl, informed The Instances when requested about taking the Bruins once more within the wake of their pullout.

Translation: A SeaWorld orca is extra prone to throw a go within the sport than Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

Here is a have a look at UCLA’s best-case, worst-case and most probably bowl situations:

Finest-case situation

The Bruins (8-3 general, 5-3 Pac-12) enter the ultimate week of the common season tied with Oregon State for fifth place within the convention standings. That’s not an excellent place to be.

However simply as shortly as issues have deteriorated, they might reverse course in a extra upbeat trend.

If USC beats Notre Dame and wins the Pac-12 championship sport en path to the CFP, that will elevate one other convention staff — most likely the title-game loser, however not essentially — to the Rose Bowl. In 2016, Washington beat Colorado to win the Pac-12 title, and the Rose Bowl picked USC.

(No, there’s no practical likelihood of the Bruins leapfrogging sufficient groups to spend Jan. 2 taking part in of their house stadium. Oregon, Utah and Washington are all extra seemingly alternatives.)

With a victory over California on Friday, UCLA may end in a three-way tie for third place with Washington and Utah if the Huskies lose their Apple Cup battle on the highway towards Washington State (a definite risk) and the Utes do a faceplant towards Colorado (extremely unlikely).

The Alamo Bowl, which will get the following choose within the Pac-12 pecking order after the Rose Bowl, may go for the Bruins based mostly on their breathtaking offense that averages 40 factors per sport, which ranks fifth nationally. UCLA additionally has not performed within the sport since 2015, elevating its desirability and the probability of followers desirous to journey to San Antonio for the sport Dec. 29.

A number of the Bruins’ youngest followers may not even bear in mind the Alamo.

Worst-case situation

This bowl sport could be a punchline. Actually.

UCLA showing within the Jimmy Kimmel Bowl on Dec. 17 would spark all kinds of jokes, some presumably humorous. How may the Bruins get there? Envision a doomsday situation and also you’ve bought it.

USC loses to Notre Dame however wins the Pac-12 championship sport, sending the Trojans to the Rose Bowl after they miss out on the CFP. The Alamo Bowl takes convention runner-up Utah, and Oregon goes to the Vacation Bowl.

Washington will get chosen for the Las Vegas Bowl and Oregon State, recent off a Civil Struggle upset of Oregon, heads to the Solar Bowl.

You’re questioning the place the Bruins are in all this? They’ve fallen right into a tie for sixth place alongside Washington State after dropping the final word letdown sport towards Cal, which proves extra irritating than the dilly-dallying UC regents.

The one salvation is that the Jimmy Kimmel Bowl picks UCLA, protecting the Bruins house whereas Washington State heads to the Dec. 23 Gasparilla Bowl, wherever that’s.

Most definitely situation

In case you prefer to play the percentages, wager UCLA going to the Las Vegas Bowl.

In what can be a heartwarming sendoff for Thompson-Robinson, who starred at Bishop Gorman Excessive, the quarterback will get to play his remaining sport as a Bruin only some miles from house at Allegiant Stadium on Dec. 17.

This situation includes the fewest upsets. USC wins out and goes to the CFP, capping a surprising Yr 1 for Lincoln Riley and the Trojans. The Rose Bowl takes Oregon (the Pac-12 runner-up, on this mannequin) and Washington heads to the Alamo Bowl.

The Vacation Bowl chooses Utah, and UCLA, having defeated Cal to keep away from that post-Thanksgiving hangover, will get a brief flight to Las Vegas.

The one caveat right here is that if USC doesn’t make the CFP, everybody will get bumped down a spot, beginning with the Trojans going to the Rose Bowl. In that situation, the Bruins drop to the Tony the Tiger Solar Bowl on Dec. 31.

After beginning the season 8-1, reviving hopes of a return to the Rose Bowl, that ending wouldn’t be g-r-r-reat!