Arizona State and UCLA have emerged as the likely Pac-12 teams, while the Big Ten picture for the Las Vegas Bowl has become more cloudy.
Four Pac-12 teams remain under consideration, but Oregon State and Washington State are behind Arizona State and UCLA — schools within driving distance of Las Vegas.
Michigan State could wind up as a candidate from the Big Ten if the Spartans lose to Penn State. The loss would drop them out of consideration for a New Year’s Six bowl.
Most projections, however, have Penn State or Purdue competing in the Las Vegas Bowl.
This year’s game is scheduled for Dec. 30 at 7:30 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN. The Las Vegas Bowl shares the second selection from the Pac-12 with the Holiday Bowl after the College Football Playoff pick. From the Big Ten, the bowl gets its choice after the CFP, Citrus and Outback selections.
■ Big Ten candidates: No. 12 Michigan State (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten), No. 17 Iowa (9-2, 6-2), Minnesota (7-4, 5-3), Penn State (7-4, 4-4), Purdue (7-4, 5-3), Wisconsin (8-3, 6-2)
■ Pac-12 candidates: Arizona State (7-4, 5-3 Pac-12), Oregon State (7-4, 5-3), UCLA (7-4, 5-3), Washington State (6-5, 5-3)
■ Big Ten game to watch: Penn State at No. 12 Michigan State
■ Pac-12 game to watch: Oregon State at No. 11 Oregon
■ Projected matchup: Iowa vs. Arizona State (Bleacher Report), Minnesota vs. Arizona State (ESPN), Penn State vs. Arizona State (247Sports, Athlon), Penn State vs. UCLA (Action Network, The Athletic), Penn State vs. Washington State (USA Today), Purdue vs. Arizona State (CBS Sports, Yahoo), Purdue vs. Oregon State (Sporting News), Purdue vs. UCLA (College Football News), Wisconsin vs. UCLA (ESPN).
■ Las Vegas Bowl officials’ visits this weekend: None
Mark Anderson Las Vegas Review-Journal