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Exploring the Colorado Buffaloes bowl game options

There are a wide range of possibilities if CU can come away with a win Saturday.

While the second half of the Buffaloes football season hasn’t gone as planned, a win Saturday against Cal would make them bowl eligible for just the second time in ten years.

With seven Pac-12 bowl eligible teams competing for placement in seven conference affiliated bowls, things have gotten a little bit murky. If CU wins, one or more of the teams could find themselves bidding for a non-conference bowl game. Here is the complete breakdown of the conference seedings and how Colorado fits into the equation:

-The Pac-12 bowl affiliation order (high to low) is: Rose, Alamo, Holiday, Redbox, Sun, Las Vegas, Cheez-It

-Since Washington State, Washington, Utah, and Oregon have 7 or more wins they’ll likely be the top four seeds in terms of bowl games. Especially considering Utah and Oregon have games they’re heavily favored in against BYU and Oregon State, respectively.

-The winner of Arizona-Arizona State will get a higher bowl game than the Buffs. Arizona (5-6) won the head-to-head matchup against CU meaning they own the tiebreaker. Although ASU (6-5) lost to Colorado back in early October (it feels like eons ago, I know), with a win they’ll advance to 7-5 and have one more win than the Buffs making them higher up in the bowl ranking.

—> If the Sun Devils lose in Tucson and Colorado wins, things would really get complicated as there’d be nine bowl eligible teams, two of whom would likely be searching for outside bowls. As Colorado won the head-to-head, they’d get a better bowl than ASU in this situation. No matter what, this’ll be the game to keep an eye on for Buffs fans.

-If Stanford (6-4) beats UCLA on Saturday and/or Cal the following week, they’ll automatically have a higher bowl than the Buffs with seven wins on the season. If the Cardinal losses both games and CU beats Cal, the Bears will still have more wins than the Buffs, and thus make a higher bowl game. Buffs fans should root for Stanford to lose to UCLA but beat Cal.

—> If Stanford wins this week but losses to Cal, the Buffs will fall to eighth with both teams reaching 7 wins, and the winner of ASU-Arizona ranking one slot ahead of them. In this scenario, Colorado need to seek a bowl game outside the Pac-12. Last year, a 6-6 Utah team played in the formerly known Heart of Dallas bowl (now the First Responder Bowl), and that would be the likely option.

-The best bowl Colorado could make at this point would be the conference worst Cheez-It bowl. As they play each other in two weeks, Stanford or Cal will finish with a higher win total, and the winner of ASU-Arizona will get a higher seed, making up the 5th and 6th slots respectively.

While running through all the scenarios will inevitably create cobwebs in the minds of fans, all of this means nothing if Colorado can’t come away with a win Saturday. For now, that should be the only point of focus.