The Big 12 has been incredibly tough to predict in 2023, and all it takes is a quick glance at the conference standings to see why. If you told me you had West Virginia in second place coming into Week 7, I’d say you were lying.
However, we’re at the halfway point of the season, so it’s time to update the expectations for what Big 12 teams go bowling and where they’ll end up come December and January.
Here’s how we project things after six weeks’ worth of action to go off.
College Football Playoff
Rose Bowl (CFP Semifinal)
Rose Bowl (Pasadena, California)
Monday, January 1, 4:00 p.m. (ESPN)
Texas vs. Michigan
After winning a Big 12 Championship rematch vs. Oklahoma in what turns out to be another classic, the Longhorns get the nod as the No. 4 seed in the final four-team College Football Playoff. Their reward? A date with the undefeated Michigan Wolverines in the Rose Bowl. While the top-seeded Wolverines are the toast of college football, the line in this game will be less than a touchdown. Plus, the last time the Longhorns were in Pasadena, things ended pretty well.
New Year’s Six
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Texas)
Friday, December 29, 7:00 p.m. (ESPN)
Alabama vs. Oklahoma
After an undefeated regular season, Oklahoma loses a nail-biter to Texas in a monster matchup in Arlington, dropping them to No. 5 in the final College Football Playoff rankings. There, the Sooners will earn a date with the SEC runner-up, Alabama. In a preview of next year’s matchup in Norman, Dillon Gabriel, and the Sooners’ offense will face the best defense they’ve seen all season, but their defense will have the opportunity to take advantage of a relatively problematic Alabama offense. This one will be fun.
Valero Alamo Bowl
Alamodome (San Antonio)
Thursday, December 28, 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Kansas vs. USC
After finishing tied for third place in the Big 12, Kansas is rewarded with a trip to the Alamo Bowl to take on Lincoln Riley and the USC Trojans. Bring your popcorn for this one, as there will be points-a-plenty in the Alamodome with these two offenses on the field.
Camping World Stadium (Orlando, Florida)
Thursday, December 28, 4:45 p.m. (ESPN)
West Virginia vs. Miami
In one of the stories of the season, Neal Brown and the West Virginia Mountaineers finish tied for third in the Big 12 after being picked to finish last in the conference. In a wild turn of events, they’ll get a chance to make it to 10 wins against an old Big East rival, the Miami Hurricanes.
TaxAct Texas Bowl
NRG Stadium (Houston)
Wednesday, December 27, 8:00 p.m. (ESPN)
Kansas State vs. Kentucky
Considering their preseason expectations, the Texas Bowl isn’t quite what Kansas State had in mind for 2023, but after the injuries they’ve sustained, it’s an accomplishment. K-State draws Kentucky, giving it a chance to even the score against SEC opponents in 2023.
Autozone Liberty Bowl
Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium (Memphis, Tennessee)
Friday, December 29, 1:00 p.m. (ESPN)
Oklahoma State vs. Missouri
Mike Gundy finds a way to keep his bowl streak alive and gets the Cowboys into the Liberty Bowl, where they’ll face a former Big 12 opponent in the Missouri Tigers. Missouri already has a win against the Big 12 this year, taking down K-State on a 61-yard walk-off field goal.
Guaranteed Rate Bowl
Chase Field (Phoenix)
Tuesday, December 26, 8:00 p.m. (ESPN)
BYU vs. Minnesota
BYU manages to get to bowl eligibilty in its first season in the Big 12 and lands in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl out in Phoenix. There, they land P.J. Fleck and the Minnesota Golden Gophers out out the Big Ten.
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
Amon G. Carter Stadium (Fort Worth, Texas)
Saturday, December 23, 2:30 p.m. (ABC)
Texas Tech vs. Texas State
Despite a terrible start to the season, Joey McGuire and Texas Tech get back to a bowl game and get a team that’s already picked up a win against the Big 12 this season, Texas State. Hopefully things go different this time around.
Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl
Independence Stadium (Shreveport, Louisiana)
Saturday, December 16, 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Cincinnati vs. Colorado
Scott Satterfield and the Bearcats do just enough to get into a bowl game and land in a favorable matchup against Colorado. Not only is this a future Big 12 matchup, but the nation will be tuned in to see Deion Sanders coaching in a bowl game and Cincinnati’s rushing attack should give the Buffs all kinds of trouble.