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Traditional rivalries survive Pac-12s shuffle

by: Donald Miralle The Pac-12 winner gets an automatic berth in the Rose Bowl.

It's a new season, with a bevy of new possibilities for Oregon and Oregon State in the recently aligned Pacific-12 Conference.

If either the Ducks or the Beavers should be fortunate enough to win the North Division, they would play in the first Pac-12 championship game against the South Division winner. That game would take place Dec. 2 on the home field of the team with the best league record.

The Pac-12 winner gets an automatic berth in the Rose Bowl. Or, a ticket to the BCS national championship game, if that team is rated highly enough, as were the Ducks last season.

The Pac-12 has contracts with seven bowl games, from the Rose Bowl (or other BCS game) to the New Mexico Bowl. If the Ducks or Beavers place seventh in the Pac-12 standings with at least a .500 overall record, they would likely be headed to the New Mexico Bowl, Dec. 17 at Albuquerque.

Bowl placements are determined by Pac-12 records. Head-to-head result and division record are the top two tiebreakers.

A conference championship game provides for some contingencies. Say a 10-2 Oregon team beats a 9-3/two-loss Pac-12 Arizona State team in the conference title game to make the Rose Bowl. If Stanford finishes second in the North Division at 10-2, with a lone Pac-12 loss to the Ducks, the next best bowl - the Alamo - could pick the Cardinal.

The Ducks and Beavers play everybody in their division - with the Civil War set for Nov. 26 in Eugene. Oregon and Oregon State will rotate games against the South Division teams, with UO and OSU assured of one game each year against one of the Los Angeles schools, USC or UCLA.

This year, the Ducks will play host to USC on Nov. 19; the Beavers will play UCLA in Corvallis on Sept. 24. The series against the L.A. schools are done in home-and-home sequence, and then switched.

Stanford and Cal will face USC and UCLA every year, preserving their state rivalries.

And, new Pac-12 schools Utah and Colorado get to play the L.A. schools every year.

It all makes for an uneven schedule each year, even though overall Pac-12 records are used for standings and bowl placement.

'It'd be hard to crown a team a champion when you play five teams in your division and you don't pay attention to the ones in the other division,' says Kirk Reynolds, Pac-12 vice-president of public affairs.


Pac-12 bowl lineup

Rose Bowl - Pac-12 champ vs. Big Ten champ, 2 p.m. Jan. 2, Pasadena, Calif. (ESPN)*

Alamo Bowl - Pac-12 No. 2 vs. Big 12 No. 3, 6 p.m. Dec. 29, San Antonio, Texas (ESPN)

Holiday Bowl - Pac-12 No. 3 vs. Big 12 No. 5, 5 p.m. Dec. 28, San Diego, Calif. (ESPN)

Sun Bowl - Pac-12 No. 4 vs. ACC No. 4, Big East No. 2 or Notre Dame, 11 a.m. Dec. 31, El Paso, Texas (CBS)

Las Vegas Bowl - Pac-12 No. 5 vs. Mountain West No. 1, 5 p.m. Dec. 22, Las Vegas, Nev. (ESPN)

Hunger Bowl - Pac-12 No. 6 vs. Army, 12:30 p.m. Dec. 31, San Francisco, Calif. (ESPN)

New Mexico Bowl - Pac-12 No. 7 vs. Mountain West No. 3/4, 11 a.m. Dec. 17, Albuquerque, N.M.

*Other Bowl Championship Series games

National championship - BCS No. 1 vs. No. 2, 5:30 p.m. Jan. 9, New Orleans, La.

Sugar Bowl - BCS vs. SEC champ, 5:30 p.m., New Orleans, La.

Orange Bowl - BCS vs. ACC champ, 5 p.m. Jan. 4, Miami Gardens, Fla.

Fiesta Bowl - BCS vs. Big 12 champ, 5:30 p.m. Jan. 2, Glendale, Ariz.

Note: Three years remain on each bowl contract.