OU dipped to 19th in the AP and coaches poll, and the Sooners are likewise falling fast in the bowl pecking order. Where will OU end up? Here are the options:
IF OSU MAKES THE BIG BOWL IN NEW ORLEANS…
Kansas State would have Fiesta Bowl hopes. If KSU made it to the Fiesta, the Cotton would choose between OU and Baylor. It appears Arkansas is becoming the likely Cotton team from the SEC.
The Cotton might take Baylor. The Bears are 9-3, have a possible Heisman Trophy winner in Robert Griffin and sport a fan base that has to be jazzed about its team. Unlike the Sooners’. Plus, if you’re the Cotton, you have to be wondering if you’ll ever again have the option of taking Baylor. On the other hand, OU hasn’t been to the Cotton in 10 years, the Cotton will wonder when it could get the Sooners again and OU’s fan base, despite being disappointed, still would help sell out JerryWorld.
If the Cotton passes on OU, then the Alamo Bowl would choose between OU and Texas. The Sooners are 9-3; Texas is 7-5. The Sooners never have played in the Alamo. So OU would be attractive. But so would Texas. The Longhorns have reached the Alamo Bowl just once. Never underestimate Texas politics. The Alamo could take the ‘Horns.
If the Alamo passes on OU, then next up is the Insight Bowl, and there really isn’t a good option for the Insight. OU has been to Phoenix three of the last five years for the Fiesta, so the Sooners don’t want to go back so soon. But Missouri, 7-5, was in the Insight last year. Texas A&M, 6-6 and without a coach, is a mess. Iowa State, 6-6, has little allure and was in the Insight in 2009. The Insight might have to take OU.
IF OSU GOES TO THE FIESTA BOWL
The Cotton seems likely to take K-State. A Kansas State-Arkansas game would match two top-10 teams with fan bases that would drive to Dallas in droves.
So then we get to the OU-Baylor pick for the Alamo or the OU-Texas pick for the Insight. The Insight probably would take the Longhorns, as much as anything as a courtesy to the Sooners, who don’t want to go to Phoenix and play second fiddle to the Cowboys, who would be there for the Fiesta.
In that case, it would be the Holiday Bowl for the Sooners, who have played there only in 2005.
As for matchups, here’s the likely scenario:
Alamo: Washington, 7-5. Not exciting at all. These aren’t the Huskies of 2008, which routed 55-14 in Seattle. Steve Sarkisian is doing a nice job rebuilding the UW program. But still, not sexy.
Insight: Iowa, 7-5. This would be fun. OU-Iowa. Bob Stoops vs. his alma mater. Kirk Ferentz is only five years older than Stoops but was an offensive line coach the last couple of years that Stoops was a Hawkeye safety.
Holiday, California, 7-5. Sorry, not one thing exciting about this matchup.