The Big 12 has contracts with eight bowl games this season, and the conference sports nine bowl-eligible teams. If the Big 12 gets two teams into the BCS, all eligible Big 12 teams will be accommodated.
Who are the Big 12 teams likely to face in bowl matchups? Here’s a look at the Big 12 bowls and the possible opponents:
Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 3, Glendale, Ariz.: Oregon, almost surely. The fifth-ranked Ducks seem shut out of the national title game and definitely are shut out of the Rose Bowl, since Oregon did not make the Pac-12 title game. The Fiesta figures to get second pick, just after the Sugar Bowl, and 11-1 Oregon will be the best team on the board. Big 12 team: Kansas State, if the Wildcats beat Texas. If KSU loses, OU goes, provided it beats TCU.
Sugar Bowl, Jan. 2, New Orleans: Florida, almost surely. The fourth-ranked Gators appear to be shut out of the Big Bowl, which will match Notre Dame and the Alabama-Georgia winner in the SEC title. The Sugar Bowl would get first pick under such a scenario, and 11-1 Florida would be the best team available. Likely Big 12 team: OU, if K-State wins the Big 12′s BCS berth and if Kent State doesn’t crash the party by making the top 16 of the BCS and earning an automatic bid, which would push the Big East champ to the Sugar Bowl.
Cotton Bowl, Jan. 4, Arlington, Texas: The Cotton traditionally gets the No. 4 team from the SEC – after two in the BCS and one in the Capital One Bowl. Six SEC teams are ranked in the top 10, so the quality will be there no matter what for the Cotton. The Cotton would love to have 10-2 Texas A&M, particularly against Texas. But LSU remains a good option for the Cotton, too. Alabama probably won’t be available; the Crimson Tide probably would go to the Capital One Bowl, if Bama loses the SEC title game. Likely Big 12 team: The 8-3 Longhorns could be playing their way out of this bowl. If they lose to K-State, the Cotton would take 10-2 OU over the ‘Horns. Plus, there are UT alums on the Cotton Bowl board, and the Longhorns can’t be fired up to play the Aggies. Texas might politick to stay out of the Cotton.
Alamo Bowl, Dec. 29, San Antonio: The Alamo gets the No. 2 Pac-12 team, but two Pac-12 squads figure to make the BCS this season. And the Pac-12 contract mandates that bowls must pick in the order of the conference standings, with an allowance to drop one slot. That means the Alamo is bound to take 8-3 Oregon State or the loser of the Pac-12 title game matching 9-3 UCLA and 10-2 Stanford. Likely Big 12 team: Oklahoma State. If the Big 12 gets only one team in the BCS, then Texas or OU would be headed to the Alamo, particularly since OSU was in San Antonio just two years ago.
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Dec. 29, Tempe, Ariz.: The former Insight Bowl gets the No. 5 Big Ten pick, which this year is really the No. 7 team, since Ohio State and Penn State are ineligible. That means the Wild Wings figures to take 6-6 Michigan State, though 7-5 Minnesota is a possibility. Likely Big 12 team: TCU. If OSU gets bumped from the Alamo — which could happen other ways; say Baylor beats OSU and TCU beats OU — then the Cowboys could drop here.
Holiday Bowl, Dec. 27, San Diego: The Holiday gets the No. 3 Pac-12 team, which this year will be No. 4 with two Pac-12 teams in the BCS. That means the Holiday can choose from 7-5 Southern Cal, 7-5 Arizona and whichever team the Alamo passes on. Likely Big 12 team: West Virginia. A bowl source said the Holiday was big on the West Virginia-Iowa State winner, since neither has played in San Diego. West Virginia won that game.
Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl, Dec. 28, Houston: The former Houston Bowl gets the Big Ten No. 6 (which this year is Big Ten No. 8). That likely will be 7-5 Minnesota, though 6-6 Michigan State might be available and 6-6 Purdue will be. Likely Big 12 team: Texas Tech. TCU is a possibility to drop this far, if the Big 12 only gets one team in the BCS.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Dec. 29, New York: The Yankee Stadium game gets the No. 4 Big East team. The Big East is a jumbled mess – a four-way tie for the title is possible – but the most likely scenario is the Pinstripe chooses Cincinnati (8-3 with one game left), Pitt (5-6) or Connecticut (5-6). In trying to get to 6-6 and bowl eligibility, Pitt plays South Florida and UConn plays Cincinnati. Likely Big 12 team: Baylor. I know, it seems natural to put West Virginia here, but I think the Holiday jumps on the Mountaineers.
Heart of Dallas Bowl, Jan. 1, Dallas: The former TicketCity Bowl gets the Big Ten No. 7 team (which this year is No. 9). That probably means 6-6 Purdue, which rallied to get bowl eligible. Likely Big 12 team: Iowa State. The Cyclones went to New York last year.