The Big 12 is the only Power Five Conference to play a true, round-robin schedule. A schedule where everyone plays everyone. There’s no dodging the tougher teams of another division, and there’s certainly no scheduling FCS teams in November. The Big 12 schedule is a gauntlet like no other, and to prove that, the conference is sending eight teams to a bowl game. That’s 80 percent of the conference. That’s unmatched by any other conference.
We’ll have several previews for each bowl, but for now here’s the full slate of Big 12 Bowl games organized by date.
Birmingham Bowl – DEC 23
Texas Tech vs South Florida
The Red Raiders became bowl eligible with a win over Texas in the final regular season game, but making a bowl game was not guaranteed. The Big 12 only has seven guaranteed bowl tie-ins, and since Texas Tech was the eighth team eligible, they needed some help. Thankfully, the SEC needed some assistance filling their bowl obligations, and the Birmingham Bowl turned to the Big 12 for help.
They’ll face a 9-2 USF team. Kliff Kingsbury and company will meet a familiar foe on the other sideline as former Texas head coach Charlie Strong is now at the helm for the Bulls. Keep an eye out for USF quarterback Quinton Flowers. Flowers is one of the most dynamic players in the country, and could give this Texas Tech defense fits.
Cactus Bowl – DEC 26
Kansas State vs UCLA
It wasn’t the season the EMAW faithful were hoping for, but a couple of big wins late helped secure the Wildcats bowl appearance. In particular wins over Oklahoma State and Iowa State to finish the season were unexpected. Kansas State finished the season with a 7-5 record. This will be the 18th bowl appearance for Kansas State under Bill Snyder. The Wildcats are 8-9 under Snyder in those bowl games.
Kansas State will face off against UCLA who recently fired head coach Jim Mora. UCLA moved quickly and securing new head coach Chip Kelly. This will be a great test for the Kansas State defense, as they will face off against one of the top quarterbacks in the nation in Josh Rosen.
Heart Of Dallas Bowl – DEC 26
Utah vs West Virginia
The 2017 season started with tons of promise for the Mountaineers, only to see it fade as the season progressed. West Virginia started the season 5-2, and had one of the most prolific offenses in the country, led by quarterback Will Grier. However, over the last five games the Mountaineers went 2-3 with all three losses coming by double digits. Additionally, Grier had to undergo surgery on an injured finger sustained during the Texas game, and will be questionable to play in the bowl game.
West Virginia will meet Pac 12 member Utah in their bowl game. Utah comes into the game 6-6, and only got to bowl eligibility with a win over Colorado in the last week of the regular season. A player to look out for on Utah’s team is Oregon transfer Darren Carrington. The wide receiver has just under 1,000 yards on the season and six touchdowns.
Academy Sports & Outdoors Texas Bowl – DEC 27
Texas vs Missouri
Texas is BACK….to bowl eligibility. The Longhorns finished Tom Herman’s inaugural season 6-6, but were competitive in almost all of their losses. This will be the first bowl game that Texas has been in since 2014. Texas will be facing a slightly tougher task than normal as two of the team’s best players have already declared for the NFL draft, and will not play in this game. Connor Williams and DeShon Elliot are the two that have already declared, and it is widely expected that linebacker Malik Jefferson will make a similar decision.
Texas gets to square off against former Big 12 conference mate Missouri. Missouri is one of the hottest teams in the nation right now, having won their last six games, and scoring at least 45 points in all six contests. Missouri quarterback Drew Lock set the SEC record for passing touchdowns in a season with 43 touchdowns.
Camping World Bowl – DEC 28
Virginia Tech vs Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State finished their season at 9-3 with losses to Oklahoma, TCU and Kansas State. Despite that, the Cowboys biggest scare came just days ago as head coach Mike Gundy held conversations with Tennessee about their head coaching vacancy. Nothing came of it except for a big raise for Gundy and his assistants. The Cowboys enter this game as the third highest scoring offense in the country, led by Mason Rudolph who leads the country in passing yards.
Oklahoma State will meet ACC member Virginia Tech in the Camping World Bowl. Virginia Tech is 9-3 on the season, and finished second in the ACC coastal. This will be one of the most interesting matchups of bowl season because the Virginia Tech defense is for real. They currently are fifth in the nation in scoring defense, only allowing 13.5 points per game.
Valero Alamo Bowl – DEC 28
Stanford vs TCU
TCU was hoping for a spot in the New Years 6, but got penalized by the committee for playing, and losing, the conference championship game against Oklahoma. TCU will enter the Alamo Bowl at 10-3, and will be trying to get their 11th win on the season. If they win it will be the third time in the last four seasons that TCU will have won 11 games. While an appearance in the Cotton Bowl would have been nice, there is still a lot left for the Horned Frogs to play for.
Their opponent will be Stanford, who also lost in their conference championship game. Stanford is 9-4 heading into this game, and boast one of the best players in the entire country in running back Bryce Love. Love is 27 yards away from eclipsing 2,000 years rushing on the season.
AutoZone Liberty Bowl – DEC 30
Iowa State vs Memphis
Welcome back to the bowl season Iowa State! The Cyclones are back bowling for the first time since 2012. The Cyclones finished the season 7-5, punctuated by huge wins over Oklahoma and TCU. To make things even sweeter for the Cyclones, head coach Matt Campbell signed a six-year extension, keeping him in Ames for the foreseeable future. If Iowa State were to win this game it would be the Cyclones first bowl win since 2009.
Iowa State got one of the toughest draws for the Big 12 teams, getting a game against Memphis. The Liberty Bowl is actually held in Memphis, so this will be a virtual home game for the Tigers. Memphis comes into the game 10-2, with their only two losses coming against UCF. Under head coach Mike Norvell the Tigers have the second highest scoring offense in the country, and will present a huge challenge to the Iowa State defense. This is going to be a great game.
Rose Bowl [CFB Playoff Semifinal] – JAN 1
Oklahoma vs Georgia
Oklahoma might be the hottest team in the country right now. After dismantling TCU 41-17 in the Big 12 championship game, the Sooners secured the #2 ranking in the College Football Playoff. Led by Heisman frontrunner Baker Mayfield, this offense is virtually unstoppable. What has really aided the Sooners this season though is the improved play of their defense in the second half of the season.
Awaiting Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl will be the SEC champion Georgia Bulldogs. Georgia avenged their one loss on the season to Auburn in the SEC championship game, with a thorough 28-7 beat down. Georgia is only giving up 13.2 points per game this season, so it will be fascinating to see who gets the upper hand in this matchup.