Big 12 looks solid for two BCS bowl bids
Nov 13, 2012 (Menafn - Austin American-Statesman - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Pop quiz: What in the world is the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and who the heck plays in it?
If you knew it's in Tempe, Ariz., and matches a midtier Big 12 team against a similarly middling Big Ten opponent, step right up to the head of the bowl class.
Yes, the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, which traces its roots to the Copper Bowl and was most recently the Insight Bowl, is part of an eight-game Big 12 postseason lineup.
Bowl bids go out Dec. 2, and the speculation is piling up faster than points on a Big 12 scoreboard. A Kansas State-Oregon BCS title game? An Oklahoma-LSU Fiesta Bowl? A Texas-Texas A&M; Cotton Bowl?
The Big 12 looks good for two Bowl Championship Series bids since six of the top nine teams in the BCS standings are from the SEC and no league can send more than two teams to the BCS. K-State and Oklahoma are the obvious choices, but Texas still has a chance if it wins out and gets help.
Six Big 12 teams are bowl-qualified, West Virginia and Iowa State need one more win, Baylor is in trouble, and Kansas is out.
Here are the bowl outlooks for the eligible Big 12 teams:
Kansas State (10-0): If the BCS No. 1 Wildcats beat Baylor and Texas, they will play in the national championship game. First things first, though. The Cats still need one win -- Saturday night at Baylor? -- to clinch the Big 12 title and, at minimum, a Fiesta Bowl berth.
Oklahoma (7-2): The Sooners, No. 12 in the BCS, are all but a sure thing to play in a BCS bowl if they win out. But that's no given, considering a finish at West Virginia, at home against Oklahoma State and at TCU. A 10-2 Oklahoma would be scooped up by the Fiesta, unless K-State drops a game, which would probably push the Sooners to the Sugar Bowl.
Texas (8-2): There's a wide range of possibilities for the Longhorns, depending how they finish against TCU and K-State. A 10-2 record should land them a BCS invitation if OU loses another game. A 9-3 mark probably puts the Horns in the Cotton Bowl. An 8-4 record would drop them to the Alamo or perhaps the one, the only, Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
Oklahoma State (6-3): The Cowboys are an entertaining, attractive team whose fans travel pretty well. Saturday's home game against Texas Tech will play a major role in determining their options. The upper end would be the Cotton or Alamo, the lower end the Holiday or Meineke (Houston). The Cowboys finish with trips to Oklahoma and Baylor.
Texas Tech (7-3): The record looks good, but the Red Raiders are close to slipping. They finish on the road in Stillwater and Arlington, playing Baylor at Jerry World. Tech is nearly a mirror image of OSU in terms of watchability and traveling quotient, and if the Red Raiders lose to OSU and beat Baylor, the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl comes into play.
TCU (6-4): The Horned Frogs, one of the youngest teams in the nation, are bowl-qualified but treading water after losing four of six. And they've still got Texas on the road and Oklahoma at home. Good luck with that. They'll gladly take a low-rung bowl with a 6-6 mark. If they upset someone for 7-5, the Meineke Car Care is a good fit since they can tap into Houston-area recruits.
West Virginia (5-4): The great unknown. Nobody expected the Mountaineers, with QB Geno Smith and his star receivers, to be this bad. They've lost four straight. Does a Western bowl dare take them and hope a disgruntled fan base is willing to take one more long, expensive trip? If they finish 7-5 or 6-6, the Pinstripe (New York) makes the most sense.
Iowa State (5-5): A bowl no longer is a given for the fading Cyclones, mired in a 1-4 run. They had better beat Kansas on the road Saturday, or else they'll have to knock off West Virginia at home. We'll give them a 70 percent chance of winning one of those, which might put them in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Baylor (4-5): It's far less than a 50-50 proposition for the Bears, who must win two of three from a closing schedule of K-State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. If Baylor does make it as a ninth Big 12 team, it might have to scrounge around for a non-Big 12-aligned bowl that can't fill its two slots.
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