Power Ranking The Big 12 Bowl Game Matchups
The regular season is over, and the champion has been decided. Oklahoma won their seventh Big 12 title by beating Nebraska, and earned a trip to the Fiesta Bowl as Big 12 Champion.
The other seven bowl eligible teams had to wait until Sunday to find out their postseason destinations. The Big 12 filled up its eight bowl tie-ins, with Oklahoma, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Missouri, Baylor, Kansas State, and Texas Tech.
Two teams from last year that went to a bowl game, Iowa State and Texas, both fell short in their bid for a bowl game. With that quick recap of the season, which Big 12 Bowl games rank as the best games?
Ticket City Bowl: Texas Tech Vs. Northwestern
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Texas Tech owns the longest bowl streak in the Big 12, getting to a bowl game for the last 14 seasons. This year they got picked last by a bowl, and end up in the lowest spot in this power rankings.
This is somewhat of a mismatch, both Tech and Northwestern have bad defenses, but Tech has a potent offense whereas the Wildcats have been hampered by injuries.
The Red Raiders should have their way with the Wildcats in this one.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Kansas State Vs. Syracuse
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If this was a basketball matchup, this would be awesome, but it isn't. Kansas State and Syracuse will play the first bowl game in New York City since the Gotham Bowl that pitted Nebraska against Miami.
Syracuse has one of the worst offenses in the country, but they have a very sound defense, ranking as the fifth best. Kansas State has a decent offense led by Daniel Thomas at running back. The Wildcat defense is bad, ranking as one of the worst in the country.
So to break it down, we have a terrible Syracuse offense vs. a terrible Kansas State defense. As well as a decent Kansas State offense vs. a excellent Syracuse defense. I just hope the bowl officials don't screw this game up like Wrigley Field officials did.
Texas Bowl: Baylor Vs. Illinois
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In this bowl game, we have two teams that have not been to a bowl game in years. Of course Baylor's bowl drought is way worse than Illinois'.
Both these teams have potent offenses that rank in the top half of the country. However, Baylor's offense is better than Illinois'. The Bears can effectively move the ball on the ground and the air, and overall rank 12th in the country.
However, Baylor has one of the worst defenses in the country, while Illinois has one of the better defensive units. This should be a pretty good game.
Holiday Bowl: Nebraska Vs. Washington
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Why? Does anyone in Nebraska want to see the Huskers play Washington again? Oh well, time for Round 2. Because Nebraska was selected for the Holiday Bowl, they will play Washington three times in the span of a year.
Since these two teams played earlier, we have a pretty good idea of what will happen. Nebraska's QB Taylor Martinez should be healed by the game, along with Niles Paul.
The defense that made Jake Locker miserable has gotten better, and the three-headed rushing attack of Nebraska is better as well.
Washington is riding a three-game winning streak, but has not shown much improvement on either side of the ball since they last met. Jake Locker looks less like a first-rounder, and the defense can't stop the run. Pretty big mismatch.
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma Vs. Connecticut
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The Big 12 Champion versus the Big East Champion. An 11-2 Oklahoma versus a 8-4 Connecticut. Say what you want about Oklahoma's BCS struggles, but they should be able to beat the Huskies.
Oklahoma has a high powered offense that can trash a defense, mostly through the air. Connecticut has a decent defense, and might be able to slow down and stop the Sooners at times.
The Huskies have a terrible offense, and that is almost entirely dependent on the run. The Sooners defense has improved in the later half of the season, and were able to shut down Nebraska's offense in the second half. Oklahoma and will most likely shut down the Huskies as well.
Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma State Vs. Arizona
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The Alamo Bowl will feature the Oklahoma State Cowboys facing off against the Arizona Wildcats, who have slipped in the last month of the season.
Both teams have good offenses, but the Cowboys boast the best offense in the country. Arizona has one of the better defenses in the country and should be able to challenge the Oklahoma State offense.
The Wildcats have the advantage when their offense is on the field. Their offense ranks 23rd in the country, while Oklahoma State ranks 90th in defense, and they are especially bad at pass defense, where they rank 115th.
This game might turn into a shootout, but even if it doesn't, it will be a good game.
Insight Bowl: Missouri Vs. Iowa
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The Insight Bowl features a border war between Missouri and Iowa. This should be a very good game. Iowa has a stingy defense, and should test Missouri's spread offense, that has finally found its running game.
Missouri rotates three running backs, which keeps them fresh and ready to run. It will be great to see them try and get yards against Iowa's rush defense, which ranks sixth best in the country.
Iowa's offense has struggled recently, but with a month to heal they should be good. The Missouri defense is better than last year's unit, and should test and be able to stop the Hawkeyes at times.
This should be a great game.
Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M Vs. LSU
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This is the best bowl game that Big 12 has this year. Texas A&M will take on the LSU Tigers in the Cotton Bowl.
Texas A&M is an a roll right now, and boast one of the best offenses in the country, ranking 20th. LSU has one of the best defenses in the country, ranking eighth in the country. These two units matchup well against each other and should be great.
The Tiger offense is one of the worst in the country, and at times is inept. Texas A&M does not have the best defense, but they are improved, and are improving since the beginning of the year.
Texas A&M has the advantage when they are on defense, and that may be the deciding factor in this game. This is the best game the Big 12 has to offer, it should be a good one.