College Football 2011: Ranking the Big 12 Teams' Bowl Chances
The Big 12 is full of talented teams for 2011, and a number of them have great chances at making a bowl game this season.
Many teams, like the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas A&M Aggies, are expected to make either a BCS Bowl game or another significant one.
Others, like the Kansas Jayhawks and Iowa State Cyclones, may struggle to get to six wins and become bowl eligible.
Let's take a look at the chances that each team has at making a bowl game in 2011.
10. Kansas Jayhawks
The Turner Gill has gotten off to a terrible start in Lawrence.
The Kansas Jayhawks embarrassed themselves in a number of games last season en route to a 3-9 season.
Kansas has taken a hard fall since the uprising of the program behind quarterback Todd Reesing's arm.
Those glory days that included an Orange Bowl victory are now distant memories for Jayhawks fans.
This year, Gill needs to turn things around.
Their difficult schedule that includes a game at Georgia Tech and lack of returning talent make for a tough road to a bowl game in 2011.
Bowl chances: 10 percent
9. Iowa State Cyclones
The Iowa State Cyclones football program has had a tough time getting over the hump to six wins consistently.
They seem to always put up 5-7 seasons like last year that consists of both blowout losses (52-0 against Oklahoma) and surprising wins (28-21 at Texas).
Still, the Cyclones have not been able to put together a few good years in a row that make them bowl contenders on a regular basis.
This year, their schedule that includes Connecticut and Iowa in the nonconference makes it seem extremely improbable that Iowa State get to six wins in 2011.
Bowl chances: 15 percent
8. Kansas State Wildcats
The Kansas State Wildcats surprised a lot of people last season putting up a solid 7-6 season with a near win in the Pinstripe Bowl.
This year, they will have an experienced defense that must improve to make a second straight bowl.
A new quarterback, which may turn out to be Colin Klein, will have to learn quickly on the job.
If the offense can get back to 2010 form, the defense should help push this team over the top to at least six wins.
Bowl chances: 45 percent
7. Texas Tech Red Raiders
No matter who plays quarterback for the Texas Tech Red Raiders, they seem to have one of the most powerful passing attacks in the country each year.
This year it will likely be Seth Doege, and we will see if he can handle the offense like Taylor Potts did.
Ironically, the strength of the defense will be in the secondary this year where they return all four starters from last year.
Tommy Tuberville appears to have this program on the right track, but the schedule does not bode well for his team this year.
They must go on the road to face Oklahoma, Texas, and Baylor.
If they can beat teams they are supposed to beat, they should still find themselves in a bowl game.
Bowl chances: 50 percent
6. Baylor Bears
The Baylor Bears football program has had a number of talented players come through its doors in the past few years, including NFL offensive tackle Jason Smith.
Robert Griffin III is no exception.
He is one of the more dynamic quarterbacks in the Big 12.
His offense will be filled with upperclassmen, and it should be the strength of the team.
If the defense can prove to handle the Big 12 competition, this team will make a bow for the second straight year.
Bowl chances: 60 percent
5. Texas Longhorns
The Texas Longhorns struggled far beyond anyone's predictions in 2010.
This year, whether it is based off of tradition or not, this team should be ready to make a comeback.
After missing a bowl game last season, quarterback Garrett Gilbert will get this team back on track.
He has a full starting year under his belt, and will be able to adjust and excel in 2011.
This team will go as far as Gilbert takes them, and it is likely a bowl game.
Bowl chances: 80 percent
4. Missouri Tigers
The Missouri Tigers are expecting big things for 2011.
The offense is sure to be potent once again this season, despite the loss of quartberack Blaine Gabbert.
Nine players return to one of the best offenses in the Big 12.
Mizzou's schedule can be dealt with fairly easily, although they do have to play at Arizona State in their second game of the season.
If they can play well on the road, this team will easily make a bowl game.
Bowl chances: 90 percent
3. Oklahoma State Cowboys
The Oklahoma State Cowboys are going to score in 2011.
Quarterback Brandon Weeden and wide receiver Justin Blackmon return to form the scariest duo in the country.
The defense has some holes to fill, returning only six players.
Still, the offensive prowess should make up for a defensive shortfall in most cases.
Bowl chances: 95 percent
2. Texas A&M Aggies
The Texas A&M Aggies challenge the Oklahoma Sooners as the clearest lock in the Big 12 to make bowl in 2011.
They return 18 starters total, a high mark for a team coming off a very solid 9-4 campaign.
The only extremely difficult road game they have is the matchup at Oklahoma.
If they can dominate at home, this team is guaranteed a bowl game.
Bowl chances: 98 percent
1. Oklahoma Sooners
The Oklahoma Sooners are as close to a lock for a bowl game as a team can get in the Big 12.
They return 16 starters, including nearly the entire offense that became one of the best in the country over the course of last season.
Quarterback Landry Jones has stepped out of Sam Bradford's shadow and may be a Heisman candidate in 2011.
This team will manage its schedule on their way to a great season and a big bowl game.
Bowl chances: 99 percent