Pac-10 scenarios

A co-worker, who’s a Oregon fan, and I looked over the scenarios for the finish of the Pac-10 and what place teams are likely to get. This early in the season, one has to make some assumptions to be able to start this type of analysis, so I’ll list those assumptions first:

1. USC will beat everyone
2. Cal, Oregon, UCLA and ASU will not lose to any of the rest of the Pac-10.

With those assumptions, there are only two games left that matter:

Cal at Oregon on 11/5
ASU at UCLA on 11/12

Assuming my assumptions are correct, here are the final 2nd to 5th place standings based on the outcome of those two games:

Cal and ASU win (the above games):
4 way tie for 2nd with 2 losses.

Cal and UCLA win:
UCLA 2nd, Cal 3rd, Oregon 4th, ASU 5th

Oregon and ASU win:
Oregon 2nd, ASU 3rd, UCLA 4th, Cal 5th

Oregon and UCLA win:
UCLA and Oregon tie for 2nd (no head to head), Cal and ASU tie for 4th (no head to head)

Now, let’s remove some of those assumptions. First, everyone doesn’t lose to USC:

Oregon and ASU have already lost this matchup, so it is only Cal and UCLA who can accomplish this upset (Cal on 11/12 and UCLA on 12/3). If only UCLA beats USC, they at least share the Pac-10 title, even if they lose to ASU. Here is how the rest of it would work out in this case (now including USC):

Cal and ASU win:
UCLA 1st, USC 2nd, 3-way tie for 3nd (Cal, Oregon and ASU).

Cal and UCLA win:
UCLA 1st, USC 2nd, Cal 3rd, Oregon 4th, ASU 5th

Oregon and ASU win:
3-way tie for 1st (UCLA, Oregon and USC), ASU 4th, Cal 5th

Oregon and UCLA win:
UCLA 1st, USC 2nd, Oregon 3rd, Cal and ASU tie for 4th (no head to head)

If only Cal beats USC, things are just as confusing so I best repeat the 4 above scenarios with USC included:

Cal and ASU win:
Cal 1st, USC 2nd, and 3-way tie for 3rd (Oregon, UCLA and ASU)

Cal and UCLA win:
3-way tie for first (Cal, UCLA and USC), Oregon 4th, ASU 5th

Oregon and ASU win:
USC 1st, Oregon 2nd, 3-way tie for 3rd (Cal, UCLA 3rd and ASU)

Oregon and UCLA win:
USC 1st, Oregon and UCLA tie for 2nd (no head to head), Cal 4th, ASU 5th

The scenarios change yet again if USC loses to both UCLA and Cal but simplify to some degree. If this happens, UCLA again wins share the Pac-10 even if they lose to ASU, the the Cal at Oregon game will decide most of the rest. If Oregon wins, they tie UCLA for the title, Cal takes #3 over USC or is in a 3-way tie with USC and ASU, the second scenario being if ASU beats UCLA. If Cal wins, the ASU vs. UCLA game is irrelevant in all aspects as Cal takes 2nd, USC 3rd, Oregon 4th and ASU 5th no matter what the outcome of the game.

OK, on to the other assumption. Any of these top 5 teams lose one or more of their other games:

There are too many scenarios here to list if I am being thorough, so I won’t do that but what I will do is list the games that I think are the most likely upsets (in team order of likelihood):

UCLA: UCLA has a lot of weaknesses and I think is most ripe for an upset. One of their weaknesses so far is overlooking weaker teams (as noticed in the 21-17 come from behind victory over Washington). This makes next week’s late afternoon game at WaZoo somewhat troubling for them. They’re also on the road 3 out of the 4 next weeks, with probably the strongest of the 4 teams being the last (Arizona). OSU is also one of those teams that loves to play the upset, but they do have them at home. Overall, I’d say this team is the most likely to lose at least one to other teams (at WaZoo, OSU, at Stanford, at Arizona in that order over the next 4 weeks), but it is not clear which one is the most likely candidate.

ASU: ASU seems to have a real weak spot for rivalry games, particularly following a disappointing season. If they lose to UCLA, particularly in a close one, I’d say the Arizona game is almost worth betting on for the upset. Outside of that, they do have game against WaZoo on the frozen potato patch (WaZoo being only a handful of miles from Idaho) and the time is still TBA. A night game could be a real problem for this somewhat wimpy team. I don’t think the other games against Stanford on the road and Washington at home are likely candidates.

Oregon: Their “Civil war” rivaly game against OSU is a likely candidate and they do have to play a night game at WaZoo on the frozen potato patch. They also have an overlooked rivalry game against Washington. Seeing as how that last game is at home, WaZoo is looking REALLY bad and OSU is at home as well, I wouldn’t go to Vegas with the odds of an upset. Nevertheless it’s definitely an outside shot worth being concerned about.

Cal: Stanford is most likely one just because it’s the Big Game. That said, it should be an easy victory and I don’t think it’s likely that Cal will lose any of it’s 3 remaining games (OSU and WaZoo, both at home, being the other two).

USC: This team is just too strong to lose to any of Washington, WaZoo or Stanford particularly since the only away game is Washington. Of note for them is that they still have two non-conference games left: at Notre Dame and Fresno St. at home. While that doesn’t affect their Pac-10 standings, it is of issue with their pursuit of the national title.

So what does this all mean to Cal fans? Well, it means that we’re in general big fans of the upset! We should also be big fans of ASU (unless we lose to Oregon) because they’re the key to us keeping towards the top. Since ASU is a team that can sputter out, particularly after letdowns, we want them to finish out strong. Probably most importantly, we have to take care of our own business and beat a VERY tough Oregon team on the road. This is key. If we can do it, we can finishing close to the top and get a good bowl berth (at least the Insight). Finally, we can REALLY shake things up by beating USC. While I’ll keep that prayer alive, because it guarantees us at least the Holiday bowl (assuming we beat Oregon) and could give us a BCS berth by winning the Pac-10 (with an ASU over UCLA victory (and USC beating UCLA)), I’m not going to be talking up any trash between now and then.

4 Responses to “Pac-10 scenarios”

  1. Ken's Brother Says:

    I don’t know about you, but I’d rather get into the Holiday Bowl than the Insight bowl because I know Uncle Rick will get us tickets to the Holiday Bowl.
    Whereas the Insight bowl… do we have any Uncles in Phoenix I *don’t* know about?

  2. Ken Crawford Says:

    Well me too but seeing as how we’re season ticket holders, we should be able to get tickets to either game. A place to stay… that may be a little more tricky. How far is Uncle Rick’s ranch from Pheonix?

  3. Ken's Brother Says:

    I don’t know how far Uncle Ricks ranch is from Phoenix. What do I look like an atlas map of Arizona.

    Plus I don’t think I should go to Phoenix considering what happened the last time I was there…

  4. Ken Crawford Says:

    No, you look like an inverted relief map of the Mariana Trench.

    Maybe the next time you go to Pheonix you shouldn’t psychologically spit in the face of the airport police. Instead of “What kind of drug addict would live in a dump like Pheonix” and “I’ve never seen a town with so many ugly people; look at the airport police!?!” try something like “hey, this is a pretty nice place.”