With the regular season behind us the Utes can now turn their focus to the postseason. By securing the PAC-12 South title and beating BYU in the final week, we have a clearer picture of exactly where Kyle Whittingham and company could be slotted, and for the first time since joining the PAC-12, fans can look forward to one of three top bowl bids, including the “Granddaddy of them All”.
Rose Bowl – Pasadena, California
When: January 1st, 2019
Possible Opponents: Ohio State, Northwestern, Michigan
The road to the Rose Bowl is a simple one; win and you’re in. Whomever claims victory between the Utes and Huskies on Friday night will automatically qualify to fill the PAC-12’s slot in the coveted Rose Bowl. For the Big Ten’s part things are a little more complicated. Should Northwestern topple Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship, the Wildcats would clinch their spot and the matchup would be set. However, if Ohio State wins, it’s very possible they could secure a top four ranking, qualifying the Buckeyes for the College Football Playoff. The selection committee would then be faced with slotting either an 8-5 Northwestern or a 10-2 Michigan team, who was a playoff favorite for most of the season until a blowout loss to the Buckeyes eliminated the Wolverines from contention. It is still possible that Ohio State could claim the Big Ten title and fail to make the playoff if Oklahoma or even Georgia win their respective conference championships, leaving no room for the Buckeyes to break in.
Alamo Bowl – San Antonio, Texas
When: December 28th, 2018
Possible Opponents: Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia, Iowa State
Historically, the loser of the PAC-12 Championship has been slotted in the Alamo Bowl, making San Antonio the most likely landing spot for the Utes should they fail to defeat the Huskies. Meeting them would likely be the losing team from the Big 12 Championship, either Oklahoma or Texas. What could possibly alter this is if Oklahoma wins and earns a spot in the CFP, which would then move Texas into the Sugar Bowl, leaving either West Virginia or Iowa State to fill the Big 12’s spot in the Alamo Bowl. While the Rose Bowl is the goal for the Utes, an Alamo matchup, especially if it were against Texas, would be great for national exposure, and a perfect recruiting tool seeing how the Utes have opened a successful pipeline in Texas.
Holiday Bowl – San Diego, CA
When: December 28th, 2018
Possible Opponents: Penn State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Iowa
In what could be a worst-case scenario, the Utes lose to the Huskies in the PAC-12 Championship giving Washington the Rose Bowl. If the selection committee bypasses the Washington State Cougars for a NY6 (which now seems more than likely), it’s possible the Alamo opts to invite WSU with a 10-2 record, bumping the Utes down to the Holiday Bowl against the Big Ten. The good news for Utes fans is this is likely the lowest bowl they could possibly fall to, meaning a match-up against a Power Five team and a seven-figure payout is all but confirmed no matter where the final bowl game may be.