EUGENE, OR - DECEMBER 02 : Quarterback Kevin Prince #4 of the UCLA Bruins throws a pass during the third quarter of the Pac-12 Championship against the UCLA Bruins at Autzen Stadium on December 2, 2011 in Eugene, Oregon. The Ducks won the game 49-31 to earn a berth in the Rose Bowl. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

Bowl Projections 2011: UCLA Bruins To Play Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Against Illinois

The NCAA approved a petition to allow UCLA into a bowl game despite their 6-7 record.

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Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: UCLA Bruins Vs. Illinois Fighting Illini, December 31 On ESPN

The UCLA Bruins have had a bizarre season, to say the least. Their season will conclude on Saturday, December 31 in San Francisco, as the Bruins will play the Illinois Fighting Illini in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. The game will be played at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, on New Year's Eve at 12:30 p.m. PST and will be televised on ESPN.

This Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl will have an interesting twist, as both teams fired their coaches at the end of the regular season. UCLA will be coached on an interim basis by offensive coordinator Mike Johnson, in place of the departed Rick Neuheisel. Illinois will be coached on an interim basis by defensive coordinator Vic Koenning, replacing the fired Ron Zook. Illinois began their season 6-0 but finished the year with six straight losses.

One on hand, the Bruins were 5-1 at home this season and had the best conference record among eligible teams in the Pac-12 South Division, representing the division in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game. On the other hand, the Bruins did lose five different games in which they gave up 45 or more points, and allowed a school record 419 points on the season, an average of over 32 per game.

UCLA is also under .500 at 6-7, and had to petition the NCAA for a special waiver of bowl eligibility, which was granted. "We will be able to give our 18 seniors one more chance to represent their university and end their collegiate careers on a high note," said UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero in a statement on Wednesday. "We'd like to thank the NCAA for considering the unique situation in which we find ourselves this year and rewarding us with this opportunity."

The Bruins' offense is led by a three-pronged rushing attack, featuring tailbacks Johnathan Franklin (947 yards, 6.0 yards per carry) and Derrick Coleman (726 yards, 5.1 ypc), as well as quarterback Kevin Prince (455 yards, 4.1 ypc). Wide receiver Nelson Rosario gives UCLA a legitimate deep threat, and at 1,106 yards receiving this year he is one of just seven Bruins to crack the 1,000-yard mark in a season.

The Bruins' last bowl appearance came two years ago, as they beat the Temple Owls 30-21 in the EagleBank Bowl in Washington D.C. on December 29, 2009.

For more news about UCLA football, be sure to read Bruins Nation.

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2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Illinois To Play Yet Unnamed Pac-12 Opponent; UCLA Likely

The 2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl is one of the seven college football bowl games with ties to the Pac-12 Conference. Mike Thomas, athletic director for the Illinois Fighting Illini, announced on Sunday that the team would be playing in the December 31 bowl against a yet unnamed Pac-12 team. That team is likely to be the UCLA Bruins.

Illinois, like UCLA, fired their head coach after the regular season, as Ron Zook was let go after a six-game losing streak to end the season. Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning will coach the team on an interim basis, including through the bowl game. During the press conference to announce their bowl destination, the Twitter account for the Illini football team tweeted this:

It's official, the #Illini are headed to San Francisco for the @KraftBowl on Dec. 31! Haven't been given OK to announce opponent yet. #B1G

The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, a 12:30 p.m. PST game that will be televised on ESPN on New Year's Eve, has the sixth choice among bowls with Pac-12 ties after the BCS bowls have been determined. UCLA at 6-7 has the worst record among the seven bowl-eligible teams in the conference.

For more news about UCLA football and their potential bowl destination, be sure to read Bruins Nation.

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2011 Bowl Projections: Commitments Rolling In Ahead Of Official Announcement

The one 2011 Pac-12 Bowl matchup known for sure is the Oregon Ducks vs. the Wisconsin Badgers in the 2012 Rose Bowl. Other than the Ducks and Badgers marching in the Rose Parade and taking a tour of Disneyland, the rest of the match-ups have been projections, however commitments are starting to roll in over twitter. 

bcondotta
San Antonio Express-News now reporting Baylor has been invited to Alamo Bowl: http://t.co/raZuVrnz
12/4/11 2:57 PM

This tweet from the Huskies beat reporter for the Seattle Times, based on a report in the San Antonio Express-News would put the 9-3 Baylor Bears in a matchup against the Washington Huskies matchup in the Alamo Bowl. Early projections had either Baylor or Oklahoma in the bowl. 

The Holiday Bowl previously had second pick of Pac 12 teams, but the Alamo outbid the Holiday last year to make them the second choice bowl. The third choice Holiday Bowl also appears locked in. 

Schrotenboer
Texas vs. Cal in Holiday Bowl
12/4/11 2:58 PM

This from a reporter from the San Diego Union Tribune. Cal was considered a lock for the Holiday Bowl, but it was unconfirmed whether they would face 7-5 Texas or 7-5 Missouri. The means Missouri is likely headed for the Pinstripe Bowl in New York. 

Schrotenboer
Boise State and TCU are not in the BCS. Boise to Vegas. TCU to Poinsettia. Possible late deal to get Air Force into Military.
12/4/11 3:06 PM

Boise St. dropping out of BCS range means they'll take on 6-6 Arizona State in the Las Vegas bowl most likely. The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl has all but confirmed UCLA, but their opponent is rumored to be any number of teams. Illinois, Iowa St, Wyoming, San Diego State, and Nevada have all been thrown out as possible opponents. 

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2011 Bowl Projections: Big 10, Big 12, ACC Face Pac-12 Opponents

Update: Latest BCS Rankings are here.

Things have settled in the Pac 12, such that the projections for the 2011 Bowl season are fairly locked in. The Oregon Ducks are the Pac-12 participant in the 2012 Rose Bowl Game, the 98th edition of the annual game. The Stanford Cardinal, sitting at #4 in the BCS last week and unlikely to move. The Sugar Bowl will have first at-large selection, as they will love SEC Champion LSU to the BCS Championship game, but most likely the Cardinal will play the Fiesta Bowl which has the second at-large selection. 

For both Oregon and Stanford, their BCS opponents are already determined. The Wisconsin Badgers won the Big 10 championship game in a rematch against Michigan State Saturday night. The Fiesta Bowl has a tie in to receive the Big 12 champion, which is Oklahoma State.

Both the Ducks and the Badgers are 11-2, and both the Cowboys and the Cardinal are 11-1. The Rose Bowl will be played the day after New Years, due to the committee having a "never on Sunday" policy. The Fiesta Bowl will be played on Monday, January 2nd as well.

The non-BCS Pac 12 opponents are more of a mystery. With the Washington Huskies likely selected by the second choice pick Alamo Bowl, they will face a third choice Big 12 team. With Virginia Tech losing to Clemson in the ACC Championship game yesterday, this likely means Kansas State picks up a second BCS bid for the Big 12, unless TCU finishes in the top 16 of the BCS. That puts Baylor in the Cotton Bowl, and the 7-5 Huskies facing the 9-3 Oklahoma Sooners in the Alamo Bowl. 

The 7-5 California Golden Bears appear a lock for the third choice Holiday Bowl, where they'll face the fifth choice Big 12 team. They'll face whichever 7-5 team the Insight Bowl doesn't take, which is either the Missouri Tigers or the Texas Longhorns. The Utah Utes fall to the Sun Bowl, where they'll face either Georgia Tech or Virginia. 

The Las Vegas Bowl will have to chose between the 6-6 Arizona State Sundevils or the 6-7 UCLA Bruins, who had to submit a waiver in order to go to a bowl game. The Sundevils will face perennial BCS buster Boise St. in the Vegas Bowl, while UCLA would face a WAC team (likely Nevada) as Army are not bowl eligible in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (Army is guaranteed a bid to this bowl if they are bowl eligible). 

The Pac 12 will not have an eligible team to send to the New Mexico Bowl. 

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2011 Bowl Projections: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl And UCLA Bruins Seem Like A Match

The UCLA Bruins may have lost the Pac-12 Championship Game, but that doesn't mean they have to go out on a losing note this college football season. The 6-7 Bruins asked for and received permission from the NCAA for bowl eligibility despite their under-.500 record, basically removing any punishment for the loss to the Oregon Ducks. UCLA finds out their bowl fate today, and several people are picking UCLA for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

Sending UCLA to San Francisco on December 31 seems logical since the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (12:30 p.m. PST, on ESPN on New Year's Eve) has fifth choice among Pac-12 teams after the Rose Bowl, and the Bruins have the worst record of all the conference's bowl eligible teams.

In the latest bowl projections at SB Nation, Jason Kirk projects the Bruins to battle the Illinois Fighting Illini (6-6), who are a story in their own right. Illinois began their season 6-0 but ended with six straight losses, resulting in the firing of head coach Ron Zook. That would make the Kraft Fight Hunger bowl a battle of teams with interim coaches, as Rick Neuheisel was fired by the Bruins earlier this week. Offensive coordinator Mike Johnson will lead UCLA on an interim basis, while defensive coordinator Vic Koenning is the interim head of the Illini.

UCLA's bowl opponent could be any number of teams, as other than the Pac-12 tie-in, the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl will choose an at-large team. Jerry Palm of CBS Sports projects the Bruins to play the Wyoming Cowboys, who were 8-4 out of the Mountain West Conference. ESPN has their own bowl projections, and Mark Schlabach predicted UCLA would face the Temple Owls (8-4 out of the Mid-American Conferece) while Brad Edwards has the Bruins matching up with the Iowa State Cyclones (6-6 from the Big 12).

We will know for sure UCLA's official bowl fate sometime after 6 p.m. PST, on the bowl selection show on ESPN.

For more news about UCLA football and their potential bowl destination, be sure to read Bruins Nation.

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BCS Selection Show 2011: Stanford Cardinal Await Their Fate Sunday Night On ESPN

Now that college football's regular season is over, the penultimate college football rankings are due to be released on Sunday. The final BCS standings will be revealed on Sunday night, which will also help determine the fate of five bowl games. One thing we do know, before the standings are released, is that the Oregon Ducks and Wisconsin Badgers will face one another in the 2012 Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

As for the rest of the BCS, that will be determined Sunday night on ESPN. At 5:15 p.m., the final BCS standings will be revealed. We know for certain that the undefeated LSU Tigers will be number one, but the issue will be whether Alabama will remain at its strong No. 2 position last week or will Oklahoma State move up one spot after their destruction of Oklahoma on Saturday night.

Also waiting for their fate is the No. 4 Stanford Cardinal, who look to give the Pac-12 Conference a second team in a BCS bowl. Stanford and Andrew Luck could be headed for the Fiesta Bowl.

At 6 p.m. PST on ESPN, the bowl selection show will reveal the participants of the 30 - yes, 30 - non-BCS bowls. The UCLA Bruins, even while under .500 at 6-7, are one of seven Pac-12 teams eligible for a bowl. The Bruins are likely either headed to the Las Vegas Bowl on December 22, or the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco on December 31.

For more news on the UCLA Bruins and their bowl destination, be sure to read Bruins Nation.

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College Football Bowl Schedule: Pac-12 Bowls To Begin On December 22

The college football bowl selections won't be made official until 6 p.m. PST Sunday night on ESPN. But one bowl involving Pac-12 Conference teams is already set, as the 2012 Rose Bowl will pit the Oregon Ducks against the Wisconsin Badgers. But there are six other bowl eligible teams in the Pac-12, and here is where they are likely to end up.

First, the Stanford Cardinal are likely to remain at No. 4 in the BCS standings this week and seem headed for a BCS bowl, either automatically or not. The Fiesta Bowl seems the most likely destination for the Cardinal. If for some reason Stanford doesn't get selected for a BCS bowl, the will head to the Alamo Bowl with the other teams sliding down the scale. In that case, the Gildan New Mexico Bowl will get to choose a Pac-12 team for its December 17 bowl game on ESPN. If Stanford goes to a BCS bowl, the New Mexico Bowl will have to select an at-large team instead.

Here is the schedule of bowls with Pac-12 ties:

MAACO Las Vegas Bowl - December 22, 5 p.m. PST on ESPN (fourth choice): The likely team here is the Arizona St. Sun Devils (6-6, 4-5), who would battle the No. 1 team in the Mountain West Conference, which would be the Boise State Broncos if they aren't chosen for a BCS bowl.

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl - December 28, 5 p.m. PST on ESPN (second choice): The likely team here is the Cal Bears (7-5, 4-5), who would battle a team from the Big 12 in San Diego.

Valero Alamo Bowl - December 29, 6 p.m. PST on ESPN (first choice): The Washington Huskies (7-5, 5-4) seem like the choice here to head to San Antonio to battle a team from the Big 12.

Hyundai Sun Bowl - December 31, 11 a.m. PST on CBS (third choice): The Utah Utes (7-5, 4-5) started their first year in the Pac-12 by losing their first four conference games, but will end up bowl eligible, likely for El Paso on New Year's Eve, battling a team from the ACC.

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl - December 31, 12:30 p.m. PST on ESPN (fifth choice): The UCLA Bruins (6-7, 5-4) are under .500 but received permission from the NCAA to be bowl-eligible. They could be headed for San Francisco here to battle an at-large team.

Rose Bowl presented by Vizio - January 2, 2 p.m. PST on ESPN (automatic bid): Oregon will battle Wisconsin in the Granddaddy of them all.

For more news about UCLA football and their potential bowl destination, be sure to read Bruins Nation.

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2011 Bowl Projections: UCLA Bruins Could Be Headed For Las Vegas Or Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl

The NCAA approved a petition to allow UCLA into a bowl game despite their 6-7 record.

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