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Arizona football: Wildcats still have multiple bowl options

Rich Rodriguez has Arizona in the postseason for the second consecutive year. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Rich Rodriguez has Arizona in the postseason for the second consecutive year. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

We’ll know the Arizona Wildcats’ postseason destination after the BCS Selection Show, which begins at 6:30 p.m. MT on ESPN.

There are a few possibilities for Arizona, including San Francisco’s Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, but that would mostly come into play only if the Sugar Bowl takes Oregon as an at-large team instead of Oklahoma.

(Technically, UA could move up to the Las Vegas Bowl in that scenario, but the dominoes don’t fall in Arizona’s favor for that to happen.)

The Sooners, who are expected to move into the top 14 of the BCS standings and therefore be eligible as an at-large team, might not bring the same kind of sizzle as Oregon (TV-wise) in a match-up against Alabama, but their fans would travel better … and here’s the kicker: The Sugar Bowl begins a partnership with the Big 12 next season and probably wants to keep that league happy.

If the Ducks don’t go to the BCS, then the Pac-12 teams fall into their normal bowl places, with Arizona not able to be selected higher than sixth based on the league standings. That sixth-place slot is the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, which is expected to take Washington.

Arizona (7-5 overall and 4-5 Pac-12) could then be selected by the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque for the second consecutive season, but there might be mutual feelings for not wanting a repeat performance. The New Mexico Bowl, which picks seventh from Pac-12 teams, can also take Washington State or Oregon State.

UA athletic director Greg Byrne explored options last week, which likely included at-large openings in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl (formerly Independence), the Heart of Dallas Bowl and the Texas Bowl.

The AdvoCare V100 Bowl is held Dec. 31 in Shreveport, La., vs. a team from the ACC. The Heart of Dallas Bowl is held on New Year’s Day against a team from Conference USA. The Texas Bowl in Houston on Dec. 27 will have an at-large opening vs. a Big Ten team if Oklahoma advances to a BCS bowl.

As of Sunday morning:

Jerry Palm of CBSSports.com predicts Arizona will land in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl vs. Boston College, which would be a very sell-able matchup as a battle between the nation’s top two leading rushers — No. 1 Andre Williams of the Eagles and the Wildcat’s Ka’Deem Carey.

Erick Smith of USA Today puts UA in the New Mexico Bowl vs. UNLV, which would be a rematch of an early-season game in Las Vegas. So, too, does CollegeFootballNews.com. (I find that matchup unlikely.)

Mark Schalbach of ESPN sees Arizona in the Heart of Dallas game vs. North Texas, while colleague Brad Edwards projects the Cats to the Texas Bowl against Minnesota. (All their bowl projections are here.)

We’ll find out tonight.

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