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Based on record alone, the Pac-12 might’ve just had the worst bowl season ever

Bowl results always need some context, but there aren’t a ton of ways to sugarcoat this one.

Goodyear Cotton Bowl - USC v Ohio State Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Missing the College Football Playoff was bad enough for the Pac-12, but now its teams appear to have set a record for modern-era bowl futility.

This was already a record for Pac-12 bowl losses, per Kyle Bonagura, even before conference champ USC lost by 17 in the Cotton Bowl and Washington lost a Fiesta Bowl thriller to make it 1-8.

  • No. 8 USC lost 24-7 to No. 5 Ohio State
  • No. 11 Washington lost 35-28 to No. 9 Penn State
  • No. 13 Stanford lost 39-37 to No. 15 TCU
  • No. 18 Washington State lost 42-17 to No. 16 Michigan State
  • Arizona State lost 52-31 to No. 24 NC State
  • Oregon lost 38-28 to No. 25 Boise State
  • Arizona lost 38-35 to Purdue
  • UCLA lost 35-17 to Kansas State

Those involve some key injuries, such as Wazzu’s Luke Falk and UCLA’s Josh Rosen, though as the Pac-12’s winner’s list shows, major injuries go both ways:

  • Utah beat West Virginia 30-14

The Pac-12’s only bowl win so far came against a WVU without starting QB Will Grier and multiple other offensive starters. Still, aren’t you glad you added Kyle Whittingham, who’s 11-1 in bowls as a head coach?

Basing conference quality entirely on bowl results is an annual fallacy, but a popular activity.

The Pac-12’s a good conference with a lot of good teams, regardless of results in one-shot games that aren’t always as nearly matched as they look. Six of the Pac-12’s eight losing teams entered as underdogs, and note two unranked Pac-12 teams faced ranked teams in bowls.

It ain’t a good look, but we already knew the Pac-12 was down this year.