The final weekend of the 2023 regular season is upon us as Week 13 approaches with four Big 12 schools still reasonably in the hunt for a Big 12 title.
Eight teams from the 14-team league are bowl-eligible, while up to three more teams can reach the six-win threshold this weekend.
This has been one of the wildest Big 12 races in conference history, and while that will be the main topic of the weekend, it is time to start peeking ahead at Bowl Season.
So, how will the Big 12 pan out when it comes to bowl games? Here’s how things project heading into Week 13.
Allstate Sugar Bowl (CFP Semifinal)
Georgia (13-0) vs. Texas (12-1)
The loss of Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis opened up a rather significant door for Texas if the Longhorns can seize the moment. A loss at Florida or to Louisville in the ACC Championship Game would clear the path for a one-loss Big 12 Champion to move into the top four. With the losers of Ohio State/Michigan and Oregon/Washington falling below Texas at some point, the only team standing in UT’s way is Florida State, and I’d bet they fall at some point. Their reward? A date with Georgia, who hasn’t lost in 28 games.
Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl (New Year’s Six)
Missouri (10-2) vs. Oklahoma (10-2)
Texas’ elevation into the College Football Playoff helps the rest of the Big 12 in a big way. With the Longhorns getting into the Field of Four, the rest of the Big 12 moves up in the order of bowl games. With Oklahoma finishing tied for second in the Big 12, and with a 10-win regular season, the Sooners get a bid to a New Year’s Six Bowl, pitting them against future SEC foe, Missouri, in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl.
Valero Alamo Bowl
Oklahoma State (9-4) vs. Arizona (9-3)
Who’s down for a future Big 12 matchup in the Valero Alamo Bowl? Ollie Gordon and the Cowboys facing off against Noah Fifita and the Wildcats sounds like the kind of matchup I’d stay up for, considering that the Alamo Bowl typically starts after 8:00 p.m. local time. Oklahoma State’s fourth loss of the year didn’t come until the Big 12 Championship game, so landing the top non-NY6 Big 12 bowl is perfectly feasible.
Kansas State (9-3) vs. Notre Dame (9-3)
Formerly known as the Cheez-It Bowl, the Pop-Tarts Bowl pits one of the top Big 12 schools against one of the top ACC teams (traditionally). However, Notre Dame fills in here just fine, giving K-State a great opponent to prepare for in one of the most intriguing matchups of the bowl season. Sam Hartman vs. Will Howard sounds like one hell of a QB matchup.
TaxAct Texas Bowl
West Virginia (8-4) vs. Texas A&M (7-5)
Yes, legally we’ve got to call this the TaxAct Texas Bowl, but anyone who isn’t calling this the Jimbo Fisher Bowl is just not tied into college football. Fisher, who grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia, was recently fired at Texas A&M and could be the man to replace Neal Brown if he were to get the hook. However, if Brown and the Mountaineers go 9-4, I’m quite certain he’s not going anywhere this offseason.
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Kansas (8-4) vs. Auburn (6-6)
Lance Leipold and the Kansas Jayhawks finish the 2023 regular season with a victory over the Cincinnati Bearcats, moving them to 8-4 on the year and back in a bowl game. For the second straight season, the Jayhawks will head to Memphis for the Liberty Bowl. This year though, the Jayhawks draw Hugh Freeze and the Auburn Tigers out of the SEC and will have a fight on their hands to get to 9-4.
Guaranteed Rate Bowl
Iowa State (6-6) vs. Wisconsin (7-5)
Iowa and Wisconsin are fierce rivals, and obviously, there’s not much love for the Hawkeyes in Ames… So does that make Iowa State and Wisconsin, friends? Well, they won’t be in this game, as bragging rights and a winning season will be on the line for the Cyclones. These two teams have met seven times, with the Badgers being 7-0 all-time in the series.
Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl
Texas Tech (6-6) vs. UCLA (7-5)
Joey McGuire and Texas Tech looked doomed to miss a bowl game after an atrocious start to the season, and now they’ll get a shot to finish the season above .500. Meanwhile, Chip Kelly is hanging onto his job by a thread after being USC 38-20, and has a chance to win eight games with a victory in Shreveport, Louisiana. Two sons of modern offense (Zach Kittley and Chip Kelly) means points upon points. Sign me up.
SERVPRO First Responder Bowl
UCF (6-6) vs. USF (6-6)
How about some “War on I-4” bowl edition?! The rivalry between UCF and USF has been a lot of fun to watch over the years, but with the Knights leaving the American for the Big 12, it was thought to be a thing of the past. Well, one of the beauties of bowl season is getting to face teams that you never would’ve expected! Give me the Knights and Bulls doing battle in Dallas, Texas, with a trophy and bragging rights on the table.