There have been plenty of complaints on the Twitters (and I’m sure on Facebook too, but I never spend any time on there) about the landing spots for some of the Big 12 teams. While I don’t neccesarily disagree that some teams got rewarded for things other than what they did on the field this past season, what I won’t complain about are some of the match-ups those bowls are giving us.
Seriously! Five out of the six opponents will enter the game ranked, with four of those teams in the top 15. Those are some serious opportunities for the Big 12 to make a splash at the end of the year.
So with that said, let’s rank the bowl match-ups.
6. Alamo Bowl
Texas VS 11 Utah
So let me get this straight. A Utah team that has dominated underwhelming 7-5 programs all season and was one win away from a berth in the college football playoff, is going to go up against a 7-5 Texas team that has been… underwhelming this season. Hoo boy.
Considering this bowl is reserved for the Big 12’s second place team (or third) this isn’t exactly a sexy match-up. Yes, I know the “Texas brand” and am told that Longhorn fans will be excited to be at this game. And technically Texas finished in third due to the tie-breaker. But this is a Texas program that just got done either firing or “repositioning half of its coaching staff. I just have a hard time seeing this one be competitive.
Look. I don’t hate this match-up. But someone has to be sixth, and this one takes that spot for me.
5. Liberty Bowl
Kansas State VS 23 Navy
I don’t dislike this bowl game, I really like the match-up. Kansas State’s run-first style and excellent line-play on both sides of the ball, versus Navy’s triple option. This is such a unique match-up it could be fun.
It could also be a game with a final score of 10-7. I’m a Big 12 fan. I like offense. If I wanted to get excited for 10-7 games I’d go be a Big Ten fan.
That said, this will be a close, physical game with a short game clock. It’s not for everyone, but it should be some quality football.
4. Texas Bowl
25 Oklahoma State VS Texas A&M
This would have been No. 1 if Texas and A&M could get over themselves and just play in a damn bowl game. Alas, this is a pretty solid consolation prize. Plus, any opportunity for a Big 12 team to remind A&M why they had to leave for the SEC to win games is fun.
Considering this might be the Big 12 offensive player of the year Chuba Hubbard’s final game for Oklahoma State, it’s definitely one to watch, especially if you haven’t seen him yet. It should be fun watching him run all over the greatest 7-5 team in football history.
3. Peach Bowl
4 Oklahoma VS 1 LSU
I know it’s customary to just rank all the highest rated team match-ups at the top, but I think that’s lazy and disingenuous. This SHOULD be a good play-off semi-final match-up, something we’re not really used to seeing. But considering how often these games have been duds, I try not to get too excited for them.
That said, the Sooners got the match-up they wanted; against an SEC team disguised as a Big 12 team. I don’t think LSU has faced an offense the caliber of Oklahoma’s. Meanwhile the Sooners have been playing 8-9 games a year for the last decade against a team like LSU.
Two high powered offenses and underrated defenses? Sounds like a Big 12 classic! Sign me up.
2. Sugar Bowl
7 Baylor VS 5 Georgia
One of the best defenses in the country going against the Big 12’s best defense? Yep. Sign me up.
One of two things will happen in this game; either Georgia will beat Baylor, or Georgia won’t really care and won’t Baylor. I’m kidding. If Baylor wins this one, I don’t think Georgia will have the “didn’t care” argument to make this year.
I know we make a lot of jokes about Baylor, deservedly so, but this is a BIG opportunity for one of the Big 12’s best to knock off one of the mighty SEC powerhouses. I’ll be tuned in.
1. Camping World Bowl
Iowa State VS 15 Notre Dame
Yup. I really like the quarterback battle that’s going to happen here between Ian Book and Brock Purdy.
More than anything, this is a HUGE opportunity for Iowa State to get a big win on the national stage against a blue blood program outside of the Big 12. Considering how disappointing the season was for the Cyclones, finishing 6th despite expectations, ending the season with a win over Notre Dame, in a stadium that will have a LARGE Cyclone presence, is too big an opportunity not to get excited about.
I expect a close, back-and-forth game with plenty of points and big plays on both sides of the ball. I can’t wait!