Big 12 Football: Bowl Projections
In its last week of regular-season football, the Big 12 is guaranteed one spot in a BCS bowl—the Fiesta Bowl. A second BCS bowl berth is in play, but that depends on whether or not No. 17 Kent State beats Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship and moves up to No. 16.
If that scenario took place, the Big 12 runner-up would no longer be an at-large team, and Kent State would take its place.
Here are the latest bowl projections for the Big 12.
Cross your fingers, folks.
Heart of Dallas (nee TicketCity) : Iowa State vs. Minnesota
Last year, the Cyclones went to the Pinstripe Bowl and lost to Rutgers, 27-13. This year, the 6-6 Cyclones won't have to travel as far and will actually stay in Big 12 country for the holidays.
Iowa State is one of the best 6-6 teams in the country and will face the Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-6), who haven't been bowling in two years. The last time that these two teams met was in the 2009 Insight Bowl, and Iowa State won 14-13.
Pinstripe Bowl: Baylor vs. Syracuse
I'm projecting Baylor to lose to Oklahoma State and finish the regular season at 6-6. That would put the Bears in the Pinstripe Bowl against Syracuse (7-5).
It would actually be one of the better December bowls, but Syracuse would definitely have the home-field advantage at Yankee Stadium.
Meineke Car Care of Texas: Texas Tech vs. Purdue
The Red Raiders (7-5) dropped their final two games to Oklahoma State and Baylor (as well as four of their last five), and for that reason, they get picked to go here among the remaining 7-5 teams.
Texas Tech will face the Purdue Boilermakers (6-6) in what will be a prolific scoring game.
Holiday Bowl: West Virginia vs. Oregon State
West Virginia should have no problem with Kansas this Saturday—although the score will be closer than you think—and the Mountaineers will end up with a 7-5 record, winning their final two regular-season games.
Their reward will be a trip out to sunny San Diego, Calif. to face the Oregon State Beavers.
Note: I've been to this bowl numerous times and highly recommend that both fanbases make their vacation plans—it's a great venue with so many things to do and see.
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (nee Insight Bowl) : TCU vs. Michigan State
I have Oklahoma beating TCU this Saturday, which means that TCU will end up 7-5 and will travel to sunny Tempe, Ariz. to play the Michigan State Spartans (6-6).
This will be a great bowl for football purists who love solid defensive battles.
Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. UCLA
I'm projecting Oklahoma State to beat Baylor and end up with an 8-4 record. The Cowboys had a very good season, especially considering all of the talent that they lost from last year's team as well as some significant injuries on this year's team.
I'm projecting UCLA to lose to Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship, and I don't think that the Holiday Bowl will invite an L.A.-based team—the bowl wants a fanbase to spend the weekend and spur on the local economy, not stay for five hours and then drive home.
For that reason, UCLA will be Oklahoma State's opponent in the Alamo Bowl.
Cotton Bowl Classic: Texas vs. Alabama
I don't think that Texas can pull off the upset against Kansas State, so the Cotton Bowl Classic it is with an 8-4 record.
This bowl will have an interesting scenario if Texas A&M is selected as the Big 12's SEC opponent. Would Texas opt for the Alamo Bowl instead?
In any case, I have Alabama losing to Georgia in the SEC Championship because it's time for Georgia to take the next big step up.
Texas vs. Alabama in the Cotton Bowl Classic? This bowl may be sold out an hour after the tickets go on sale.
Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Florida
Oklahoma is projected to beat TCU and end its season with a 10-2 record. The Sooners' bowl options are simple: If Kent State loses in the MAC Championship and Kansas State beats Texas, Oklahoma will go to the Sugar Bowl as an at-large team.
If Kent State and Kansas State both lose, Oklahoma will go to the Fiesta Bowl (again!), and Kansas State becomes an at-large team. If Kent State wins (and moves up one spot in the BCS standings) and Kansas State wins, Oklahoma will be left out of a BCS Bowl.
I think Kent State will lose and Kansas State will win, which means that Oklahoma lands in the Sugar Bowl. This is actually the best possible scenario for Sooners fans who are probably sick of going to the desert to play in a bowl—New Orleans in January sounds fun, doesn't it?
Careful what you wish for, Sooners fans: Your team's opponent will be the Florida Gators.
Fiesta Bowl: Kansas State vs. Oregon
One more win, and the Wildcats are in the Fiesta Bowl. I have them beating Texas, so pack your bags for Glendale, Ariz.
A loss could put Kansas State is a different bowl (as previously explained in the last slide), but I think Bill Snyder will have his team ready, and Collin Klein will be pumped up for one last shot at impressing Heisman voters.
Kansas State's opponent will be the Oregon Ducks.
The Fiesta Bowl will look quite festive with purple, neon green and Hi-Liter yellow colors in the stands.