There was no dominant team in the Big 12 this season, as it seemed on a weekly basis someone stepped to the forefront to claim the top spot and squander it away soon thereafter. The result was a mashing of 10-2 and 9-3 teams and a pair of tiebreakers to settle who got to play for the conference title.
We already know that despite losses to Oklahoma State and Missouri, both of whom finished one game better than the 9-3 Aggies, Texas A&M is headed to the Cotton Bowl. Which leaves the next bowl in the Big 12 order, the Valero Alamo Bowl, to presumably take the loser of the conference championship.
Next in line is the Insight Bowl, which will be played at Sun Devil Stadium on Dec. 28 at the witching hour of 10 p.m. ET. So, between the Tigers and Cowboys, who gets the nod to head to Tempe?
Its fan base (myself included) will view it as another bowl snub, but Missouri gets the invite to the Insight Bowl, leaving MU loyalists to wonder why a Texas A&M team the Tigers beat by 21 points on the road gets to prance around Jerry World in prime time. Meanwhile, Pokes fans cite similar circumstantial evidence, while also lamenting that a season-ending loss may have cost OSU more than just a shot at a BCS bid.
Things are just as muddled in the Big Ten, where as many as five 7-5 teams could be battling for pecking order. With 6-5 Illinois yet to play its season finale (Dec. 3 at Fresno State), Northwestern, Penn State, Michigan, and Iowa all stand on fairly even ground as of now, and the only thing that could distinguish one team from the other is who managed to finish the season the least poorly.
Despite Iowa’s season-ending three-game skid, the Hawkeyes head to the Gator Bowl, sending Michigan to the desert to face Missouri.
Losers of five of their last seven, the Wolverines are invited on brand name, setting up a battle between the electric Denard Robinson and a Mizzou defense that gives up yards but few points.