Oklahoma, Oklahoma State bowl projections

The Oklahoman's staff takes a look at college football's postseason picture.
by John Helsley and Jason Kersey and Gina Mizell Published: November 26, 2012

OU bowl prediction: Sugar Bowl

BCS rules created to provide worthy mid-majors access to big bowl games could end up knocking Oklahoma from a likely Sugar Bowl tilt with Florida.

A mid-major conference champion is guaranteed an automatic BCS berth if it finishes ranked in the top 16, as long as it's also ranked higher than the champion of any BCS-conference champion.

No. 17 Kent State, No. 20 Boise State and No. 21 Northern Illinois are all currently ranked higher than any Big East Conference team.

Boise State ends its regular season at Nevada, and would be a long shot to reach a top-16 ranking.

But Kent State and Northern Illinois meet next Saturday in the MAC championship game. The team ranked directly in front of Kent State, No. 16 UCLA, plays No. 8 Stanford in the Pac-12 title game.

Stanford easily handled UCLA just last weekend; if the Cardinal wins again, and Kent State wins the MAC, it's highly probable that the Golden Flashes would vault into the top 16 and swipe an at-large BCS berth that looks — at this point — to have Oklahoma's name written all over it.

The Sooners wrap up their regular season Saturday at TCU; if OU wins and Kansas State loses to Texas, the Sooners would be headed to the Fiesta Bowl, likely against Oregon.

If Kansas State beats Texas, though, the Wildcats are Fiesta Bowl-bound, leaving OU hoping for one of the four BCS at-large bids.

Three of those are virtually accounted for; No. 1 Notre Dame has locked up a title-game spot against the winner of next Saturday's SEC title game.

No. 4 Florida and No. 5 Oregon, both off next weekend, each figure to be ranked in BCS' final top four, guaranteeing their bids.

That leaves one spot, and — because of rules limiting each conference to two BCS bids — a two-loss, co-Big 12 champion Oklahoma would be very attractive for the Sugar Bowl to match against Florida.

That is, unless Kent State creeps into the top 16.

OSU bowl projection: Alamo Bowl

After its overtime Bedlam loss to Oklahoma in Norman Saturday, Oklahoma State has been eliminated from consideration for a BCS bowl.

Yet there are still a slew of options for where the Cowboys could be playing their postseason football.

The Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29 in San Antonio, though, still appears to be the most probable destination.

The Cowboys would be pegged against a Pac-12 team, likely the loser of the conference's championship game between Stanford and UCLA. Oregon State could also be a potential opponent.

Where OSU falls in the bowl pecking order largely depends on if one or two Big 12 teams get berths to BCS bowl games.

Most projections tab Kansas State for the Fiesta Bowl with the Big 12's automatic berth, and OU to the Sugar Bowl with an at-large bid.

But mid-majors Boise State, Kent State or Northern Illinois are potential BCS busters. If one of those teams finishes in the top 16 of the final standings, it would earn an automatic berth and most likely knock K-State or OU — whichever team doesn't earn the Big 12's automatic spot — out of the BCS entirely.

The Cotton Bowl is still very much in play for the Cowboys if they beat Baylor and K-State beats Texas. That would give OSU a third-place finish in the conference standings, ahead of UT, though the Cotton Bowl could still select the Longhorns if it meant matching them up against Texas A&M.

Politics could also knock OSU out of the Alamo Bowl and into the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe, Ariz. TCU could be an attractive option to go to San Antonio because of the proximity, expected fan travel and the fact that the Horned Frogs are new blood in the Big 12.

If OSU loses to Baylor Saturday, it could fall to the Holiday Bowl in San Diego or the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Houston.

BCS National Championship (BCS vs. BCS), Jan. 7, 2013

Notre Dame vs. Alabama. Macho man football — points and playmakers are the undercard to these defenses.

GoDaddy.com (MAC vs. Sun Belt), Jan. 6, 2013

Kent State vs. Middle Tennessee. Oh, daddy. Does anybody really care about these teams on this date?

BBVA Compass (Big East vs. SEC), Jan. 5, 2013

Toledo vs. Vanderbilt. Programs headed in the right direction (see what I did) for a change, with 17 wins between them.



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