Big 12 Football Preview - Bowl Week For Seven League Teams

Not surprisingly, the Big 12 is predicted to come out of the bowl season with just two wins for its seven teams – at least according to one pseudo-sabermetric calculation of a national broadcast outlet with a vested interest in another college football conference. Is that a realistic assessment, with so many close contests forecast?

THE NOTES

 Baylor and Texas Tech finished 1-2 nationally in scoring and total offense. Baylor set a school rushing record with 3,602 yards this year.


The Big 12 has seven bowl squads for the 15th time in the last 16 seasons and two teams in CFP New Year’s Bowls for the second-consecutive year. Oklahoma snared a spot in the College Football Playoff while Oklahoma State will be the league's representative in the Sugar Bowl.


Four Big 12 schools reported average home attendances of at least 1,160 in excess of their stadium capacities.


What hurts the league the most in all the senseless blathering about which conference is best? Obviously, its round robin play. Since starting that path in 2011, no league team has gone undefeated.

To some degree, conference strength is a valid point of comparison when discussing individual teams, but the lengths to which that topic is beaten to death becomes self-defeating, and ends up helping no team.

THE PICKS

Baylor (9-3 / 6-3) faces North Carolina in the Russell Athletic Bowl. This should have been a total offensive shootout, but injuries to the Bears leave them at a disadvantage. The Tar Heels are the pick in the lid lifter of the Big 12 bowl season.


Texas Tech (7-5 / 4-5) caps the first day of play with a visit to LSU in the Texas Bowl. The Tigers have the talent edge, but for a team used to playing in bigger events, will this one have their interest? Tech already owns a win over an SEC team this year, and if LSU isn't paying attention it could grab another. It's tempting, but the power of the LSU ground game will hold sway.


Oklahoma (12-1 / 9-1) rolls into the national semifinal against CFP #1 Clemson, but that's the only place in which the Sooners see a deficit. OU is clicking on all cylinders, and knocks the Tigers our of the favorite perch on New Year's Eve.


Oklahoma State (10-2 / 7-2) gets a Mississippi squad in the Sugar Bowl that had impressive wins and puzzling losses. The Rebels are getting a ton of credit for handing Alabama its only loss of the year, but that victory was a long time ago. The Cowboys roll up enough points to keep Ole Miss at arms length and get the win.


Kansas State (6-6 / 3-6) is one team that is never likely to suffer from the dreaded “don't want to be here” bowl malaise. That's one of the many strengths of veteran head coach Bill Snyder. Will that be enough to knock off an Arkansas team in the Liberty Bowl that displays a similar offensive style, but appears to be healthier? Not quite. The Razorbacks get the victory.


TCU (10-2 / 7-2) has the makings of another shootout on its hands against Oregon in the Alamo Bowl. Can the TCU offense reassemble itself to its early season form? Probably not, and that won't be enough to outscore the Ducks.


West Virginia (7-5 / 4-5) makes its longest trip of the season, and that's saying something, to face Arizona State in its own back yard in the Cactus Bowl. There are plus and minus marks on both sides, making this a close one, but WVU's inconsistent offense and game tactics give the Sun Devils the nod.


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