It’s almost time for bowl season. The Big 12 Championship is here. Flights, hotels and rental cars skyrocket the closer we get to those bowl games. Let’s help you out by providing you a glimpse into my crystal ball with bowl projections.
Unlike those cheaters from the SEC and ACC, the Big 12 has an alignment to go by. The bowls will draft the Big 12 team remaining they want in a certain order. In this set of projections, Oklahoma beats Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game. We will do a set of projections again tomorrow showing where teams will go if Texas pulls off the upset for the second time this season
Let’s assume Alabama and Clemson win their conference championship games. They will be No.1 and No.2. Notre Dame has finished the season undefeated. They will be No.3. If Oklahoma defeats Texas, we are confident they will jump Georgia and hold off Ohio State.
Semifinals: No.1 Alabama vs. No.4 Oklahoma
Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla., ESPN
No.1 vs. No.4
Being the worst seed in the College Football Playoff and the lone team with a loss, there is no way Oklahoma plays in Arlington. Alabama also receives the shortest distance. Still, even ESPN’s Jake Trotter has said Oklahoma is better than Alabama. Here’s the golden opportunity to prove it. Kyler knows.
Allstate Sugar Bowl: West Virginia vs. Georgia
8:45 p.m. ET, Jan. 1, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, New Orleans, ESPN
Big 12 vs. SEC
The Big 12 Conference is guaranteed a spot in the Sugar Bowl. After Texas loses, we’re assuming West Virginia moves ahead of the Longhorns. Texas entered this week’s rankings two spots ahead of West Virginia. The Mountaineers went to Austin and took down the Longhorns. I did take into account the fact Texas is the bigger brand name, but I’m providing the committee the benefit of the doubt here.
Valero Alamo Bowl: Texas vs. Utah
8 p.m. CT, Dec. 28, Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas, ESPN
Big 12 vs. Pac 12
Texas narrowly misses the New Year’s Six Bowl, but virtually receives a home game. The Longhorns stay in Texas for the second consecutive year and get the team who loses the Pac-12 Championship Game. It should be fun time on the Riverwalk, and a cheap staycation for some. Save up your money Texas fans, you may be going out of state next year (i.e. the College Football Playoff).
Camping World Bowl: Iowa State vs. Syracuse
4:15 p.m. CT, Dec. 28, Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Fla., ESPN
Big 12 vs. ACC
Matt Campbell, you just became the hottest commodity in the coaching ranks. Where are you going next? “I’m going to Disney World……and I’m staying at Iowa State.” Okay, so Campbell didn’t really say that quote, but he certainly deserves to with the amazing job he’s done with this program. Despite seeing their first game get cancelled, Campbell damn well nearly got the Cyclones to the Big 12 Championship Game. The ACC was awful this year. An abhorrent Pitt team is in the ACC Championship Game after winning the Coastal Division. Assuming Virginia Tech takes care of business against Marshall, only one team from the division will not be bowl eligible. Five teams, including its champion, is 7-5. Syracuse, meanwhile, comes from the Atlantic Division. Quarterback Eric Dungey presents a major challenge for the Iowa State defense with his feet. He is arguably the best running quarterback in the nation. This should be a fun game for two programs who have seen successful times, but do not go to a bowl game year-in and year-out.
Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl: TCU vs. Mississippi State
8 p.m. CT, Dec. 27, NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas, ESPN
Big 12 vs. SEC
This game really is a toss-up between TCU and Baylor. This bowl could go either way. I chose TCU to go to Houston for two reasons. 1) TCU beat Baylor. 2) Baylor has been to the Houston Bowl more recently than TCU has. Of course, the SEC likes to place its teams into a position for the conference to have the best record. For the SEC, it’s not about where a team finishes. The SEC places teams in matchups to make the SEC look good. The Texas Bowl isn’t going to “choose” Mississippi State. The Bulldogs will be sent specifically to face TCU because the SEC thinks that is the best matchup for the conference as a whole. Too bad for the SEC, this plan has backfired in each of the last two seasons. Texas beat Missouri in 2017 while the punter received the MVP award. Missouri coach Barry Odom had to admit that clowns like Paul Finebaum are wrong for saying the Big 12 lacks defense. Kansas State fans chanted “We own Texas” in 2016 after beating Texas A&M and completing the sweep of Power 5 Texas teams.
Autozone Liberty Bowl: Baylor vs. Missouri
2:45 p.m. CT, Dec. 31, Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tenn., ESPN
Big 12 vs. SEC
Missouri gets another Big 12 opponent after embarrassing the SEC last season. Once again, the SEC likely underestimates a rising Big 12 program and thinks Missouri is the perfect antidote to place against them. This is a bowl trip well earned by Matt Rhule and the Baylor program. I hope all enjoy the sights and sounds of Elvis’ hometown. This is just another step on the ladder of success during the Rhule rebuild. It will be interesting to see how far the Bears continue their climb in 2019. These extra practices are going to provide a catalyst to the already ultraquick rebuild.
Cheez-It Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Fresno State
8 p.m. CT, Dec. 26, Chase Field, Phoenix, Ariz., ESPN
Big 12 vs. Pac 12
*Mountain West has agreement for a conditional spot in case the other conferences are unable to fill its slots.
This was, by far, the hardest matchup to piece together. The Pac 12 is two teams short of filling its bowl slots. Thus, the Mountain West Conference fills in its conditional spot. Furthermore, the only slot the Mountain West reserves for a particular spot is the Las Vegas Bowl for its champion. Boise State hosts Fresno State, so we are assuming the Broncos take care of business. Since a 10-win Fresno State team would be thrust back into the pot, we feel the Mountain West would use that team to show off its best against the a Power 5 school. Oklahoma State faces a solid Fresno State team, and this should be a close battle. Don’t overlook the Bulldogs. They’re 1-1 against Power 5 teams on the road, and that one loss came by a touchdown at Minnesota. Another team to watch for is Utah State, but it would be smart for the Mountain West to avoid providing Big 12 teams exposure to head coach Matt Wells.
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