College Football's Best Time of the Year: Big 12's Bowl Games Projections
It's the best time of the year for college football fans, bowl season. In the Big 12, there are eight bowl eligible teams: Baylor, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech. Both Baylor and Kansas State snapped Bowl droughts, though Baylor ending a 15 year drought is more impressive. Texas Tech has gone to a bowl game every year in the Big 12. Texas not being eligible is a huge surprise, Mack Brown has never had a losing season at Texas, and now own the worse record for a team that went to the National Title the year before. The eight bowl eligible teams work out well, considering there are eight bowl tie-ins. So who goes where this holiday season?
This lame sounding bowl takes place at the historic Cotton Bowl, and gets the last pick out of the Big 12 bowl games. As such, you can rule the four 10 win teams in the Big 12 and the Big 12 Champion. That leaves us with 7-5 Kansas State, Baylor and Texas Tech. Out of those three, it will probably be the Red Raiders. They will match up against the eighth pick of the Big Ten, who based on standings, will most likely be Northwestern.
It's not the best bowl in the world for the Red Raiders, but it is close to Texas Tech and their fanbase, plus it is a favorable matchup over the injury ridden Northwestern Wildcats.
Projected Matchup: Texas Tech vs. Northwestern
Projected Winner: Texas Tech
This new bowl takes place at Yankee Stadium in New York, and gets the seventh pick out of the Big 12 teams, and matches up against the number four pick out of the Big East. The four 10 win teams should have all been picked up by now, leaving us with Baylor and Kansas State. I think this is where the Wildcats will end up. Based on current Big East standings, they will play against the Syracuse Orangemen.
It will be interesting to see the first bowl game played in Manhattan since the Gotham Bowl between Nebraska and Miami. Kansas State fans get the treat of going to NYC for the holidays; while not a popular travel destination in the winter, it should be enjoyable for the fans.
Projected Matchup: Kansas State vs. Syracuse
Projected Winner: Kansas State
The obvious sounding name Texas Bowl takes place in Houston, Texas, featuring the number six team in the Big 12 versus the sixth pick out of the Big Ten. The four 10 win teams should be taken by now, if not, this is as low as they should be picked. This should be where the Baylor Bears end up. As Baylor has finally broken their bowl drought, they will be a hot commodity, and will probably be the first selected of the 7-5 teams. Based on current Big Ten rankings, it should be Penn State, but Penn State will probably get picked up earlier, so it will probably be Illinois.
This will be a good bowl for Baylor, it is located in Texas for the fanbase, and should provide a favorable matchup over Illinois.
Projected Matchup: Baylor vs. Illinois
Projected Winner: Baylor
This bowl used to be higher in the pecking order for bowl games, but has now fallen to fifth. The opposing pick will be from the Pac-10 conference's number three pick. This is where Missouri will end up. Missouri is technically the co-Big 12 North Champion, but lost the head to head matchup to Nebraska, so will not be in the title game. Missouri gets passed over by bowl games all the time, due to their lack of traveling fans, and this year will probably not be different. They will be matched up against the Washington Huskies, assuming the Huskies get bowl eligible, if not then who knows who they will get.
The fans that do go to the game, will enjoy the San Diego area. Also they get a pretty good matchup over a 6-6 Washington.
Projected Matchup: Washington vs. Missouri
Projected Winner: Missouri
The Insight Bowl has moved in the bowl selection procedure this year, and will get the fourth pick out of the Big 12 teams, and face the fourth pick out of the Big Ten. Co-Big 12 South Champion Oklahoma State needed to beat Oklahoma to get into title game, and a potential BCS Bowl game. Instead they will end up in the lower prestige, but still high paying, Insight Bowl. They will most likely end up against another team with a high power offense, in Michigan.
Never been there, but I heard Tempe is a nice area, so it should be enjoyable for the fans. They also get a favorable matchup with Michigan, as they have a bad offense, whereas Oklahoma State has a decent defense.
Projected Matchup: Oklahoma State vs. Michigan
Projected Winner: Oklahoma State
The loser of the Big 12 title game will end up here. Technically as the second best team in the conference, they should end up in the Cotton Bowl, but apparently not. If Nebraska loses the title game, this is where they will end up, but right now I have Nebraska winning the title game. In this game, we will have the Stoops Bowl, featuring the Mike Stoops led Arizona Wildcats versus the Bob Stoops led Oklahoma Sooners. WHile both have said they would prefer not to play each other, the bowl officials want money, and two big name coaches, that happen to both be brothers, will be a big money maker.
It should be a favorable matchup for the Sooners, against the 7-4 Wildcats. It is also close to Oklahoma making the trip easy of the fanbase.
Projected Matchup: Arizona vs. Oklahoma
Projected Winner: Oklahoma
Cotton Bowl Classic
Well this is the only set in stone spot, as Texas A&M announced earlier tonight that they accepted a bid to the Cotton Bowl. They will be matched up against a team from the SEC, and I am projecting that it will be LSU. Arkansas and South Carolina are also possiblities, but considering the Aggies have already played the Razorbacks, in the Cowboys Stadium, this will not happen, and no way will they pick South Carolina over LSU. This will be a great matchup featuring a very hot Aggies team versus a very good defense in LSU, that has a mediocre offense.
This game is held very close to College Station, meaning fans will be able to pack the stadium in favor of the Aggies. It will be a very good game.
Projected Matchup: Texas A&M vs. LSU
Projected Winner: LSU
I am going to go with Nebraska winning the Big 12 title game and becoming the only Big 12 team to go to a BCS bowl game. The same thing applies to the Alamo Bowl, if Oklahoma wins, this is where they will end up. The game will feature a 11 win Nebraska team and most likely the Big East Champion Connecticut. The Fiesta Bowl gets the Big 12 Champion, as well as the last pick of BCS at-large teams, which is what the Big East Champion that does not have any Bowl tie-ins is classified as. This will not be that great of a game, whether it is Nebraska or Oklahoma, both have the ability to crush Connecticut, and should walk away as winners.
While it might not be a good game, the fans will enjoy going to Phoenix, Arizona; and the university will enjoy the extra money they will get.
Projected Matchup: Nebraska vs. Connecticut
Projected Winner: Nebraska
The Big 12 has favorable matchups in all of their games, except for Texas A&M and possibly Kansas State, depending on who they get. No offense to A&M fans, but their SEC opponent will be favored to win. Kansas State has struggled mightily down the stretch, almost losing to North Texas, they may blow it. The Big 12 has a great shot at claiming conference supremacy, by winning the Bowl Challenge Cup, something they have only won once, and they shared it with the ACC in 2005.
(why is there a photo of Bo? because ABC showed Bo more than the Colorado game. I figured if that is what the people want, I'll put his photo here.)