A year ago, the Big 12 enjoyed a successful bowl season with a combined record of 4-3. A competitive season in 2019 ended with six bowl-eligible teams from the conference, but the prospects for success this postseason don’t look promising.
All six Big 12 teams are underdogs in their bowl matchups, and the point spreads in four of the six games currently sit at a touchdown or more. Of course, bowl season usually produces an outsized share of wacky results, but an even record for the conference overall this year would likely be the best possible outcome.
There’s still plenty of intrigue to go around, though, as conference representatives prepare for their final games of the season.
1. Peach Bowl/College Football Playoff Semifinal - Oklahoma (12-1) vs. LSU (13-0)
Dec. 28 – 4 p.m. ET, ESPN
Oddsmakers have installed the Tigers as 14-point favorites in this game, which doesn’t sound all that watchable. However, the stakes add plenty of drama here. Additionally, either Jalen Hurts or Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow will be making his final appearance as a starting college quarterback.
Sounds like viewers have plenty of reasons to tune in.
2. Camping World Bowl - Iowa State (7-5) vs. Notre Dame (10-2)
Dec. 28 – 12 p.m. ET, ABC
The game formerly known as the Russell Athletic Bowl doesn’t have a marquee timeslot. It does have a compelling matchup between the bluest of bloods in college football and one of the sport’s trendier upstarts.
The Fighting Irish may not have that much fight in them for this game after playing in the College Football Playoff last season. Even so, they should count on getting the Cyclones’ best shot. A win would generate all kinds of enthusiasm in Ames this offseason.
3. Sugar Bowl – Baylor (11-2) vs. Georgia (11-2)
Jan. 1 - 8:45 p.m. ET, ESPN
The Bulldogs offered up a lackluster effort in this game last season, a 28-21 loss to the Texas Longhorns. Will that keep them motivated this year, or do they plan on laying another egg?
The Bears won’t have any trouble getting up for this game, which has to be seen as the high point of head coach Matt Rhule’s tenure so far. His team may surprise Georgia with their physicality on defense, the strength of both squads.
4. Liberty Bowl - Kansas State (8-4) vs. Navy (10-2)
Dec. 31 - 3:45 p.m. ET, ESPN
Here’s a game for Xs-and-Os junkies, as two teams with some of the most enviable ground attacks in college football square off. The Wildcats predicate their running game on power, while the Midshipmen’s option-heavy O relies on timing, deception and execution. The end result may be the same, but how they get there is wildly different.
Purists rejoice, along with anyone with New Year’s Eve plans – this could be the shortest game of the year.
5. Alamo Bowl – Texas (7-5) vs. Utah (11-2)
Dec. 31 - 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Tough break for Utah: The Utes were in the running for a playoff bid and got busted down to a pre-New Year’s Day bowl game. They’re taking on a 7-5 Texas team coming off a disappointing season in which the Longhorns were expected to compete for a conference crown. A virtual home game for UT doesn’t sound like much of a reward for Utah’s otherwise great season.
With UT going through major changes to its coaching staff, the possibility of a sloppy effort from the Horns seems high. It might be worth watching for the debacle factor.
6. Texas Bowl - Oklahoma State (8-4) vs. Texas A&M (7-5)
Dec. 27 - 6:45 p.m. ET, ESPN
Mike Gundy supposedly believes OSU is taking on the best 7-5 team in college football history. No one would mistake the Cowboys for an underrated 8-4 outfit, on the other hand. The Pokes beat two FBS teams with winning records. Moreover, they definitely won’t have star receiver Tylan Wallace’s services for this game, and first-string QB Spencer Sanders looks doubtful.
Frankly, neither of these teams did a lot this season to inspire much excitement for this game. The stars won’t burn all that bright for this year’s edition of the Texas Bowl.
— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is founder and editor of BlatantHomerism.com and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.