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Bowl season a dud for Big 12 Conference

by Berry Tramel Published: December 19, 2010

The Big 12 as we know it will not go out with the bang it could sorely use.

The only unfinished business before the league dips to 10 schools are eight bowl games that can only hurt the Big 12's already-damaged reputation.

It's a dud Big 12 bowl season.

The Big 12 got crowded at the top in 2010, with a combined five teams tying for the two division titles, and four of them winning 10 games.

Their reward was one unimpressive matchup after another.

The Big 12 plays just one top-25 team in a bowl game: No. 11 LSU, which plays 9-3 Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl.

The Big 12's double-digit win teams were each handed a mediocre opponent.

Oklahoma plays 8-4 Connecticut in the Fiesta Bowl. Oklahoma State plays 7-5 Arizona (and loser of four straight) in the Alamo Bowl. Missouri plays 7-5 Iowa in the Insight Bowl. Nebraska plays 6-6 Washington in the Holiday Bowl.

The Big 12 needed more than that to pad its reputation going into the offseason. Even a clean sweep of those five games would bring little acclaim to a league about to lose Nebraska and Colorado. Beating LSU would be a notable achievement, but those other bowls are nothing-to-gain games.

The Big 12 is seen, rightfully so, as a conference with an unsteady future. It also is seen nationally as a top-heavy conference, dominated by Oklahoma and Texas, and while the results of this season refute that, no one will pay much heed at victories over 7-5 teams.

Most of the problem is just plain bad luck:

* OU's draw was the result of the Fiesta Bowl having last pick in the BCS rotation and the Big East sending perhaps the least-accomplished BCS qualifier ever into the pool.

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