Previewing Big 12 bowl matchups
The Big 12 sent six teams to bowls this year, only a decent figure when you consider the amount of schools that usually have quality programs. Of course, the two biggest programs are the ones grabbing the most attention.
On one hand, you have the Oklahoma Sooners. Oklahoma only lost one game throughout the regular season and won the conference championship. The campaign earned the Sooners the No. 4 spot in the College Football Playoff and now they square off against the only undefeated team in the land, the Clemson Tigers. Clemson has one of the best offenses in college football, making this game one of the must-watch contests of the year.
On the other side of the coin, there are the Texas Longhorns. Nobody believed that Texas would be back to its 10-win ways this year, but the performance was still terrible. Head coach Charlie Strong simply could not get the program going in the right direction, and the folks in Austin had to sit through the unfathomable; a losing season.
Without question, it is going to be a different kind of December for those two schools. However, let’s look at a few of the Big 12 participants in the bowl games:
Baylor Bears vs. North Carolina Tar Heels – Russell Athletic Bowl (Dec. 29)
After being ranked so high for much of the season, this has to be a tough pill to swallow for Art Briles and his Bears. Baylor was thought by some to be the best team in the country through the first two months of the season, but losses to Oklahoma and TCU derailed those dreams. The Tar Heels also have to be feeling disappointed after all that happened to them. North Carolina lost the first game of the season to the woeful South Carolina Gamecocks and then ran the table before losing 45-37 in the ACC championship game to Clemson.
LSU Tigers vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders – AdvoCare V10 Texas Bowl (Dec. 29)
Let’s keep this short and sweet. Leonard Fournette is going to run all over the Red Raiders, who simply put, are not in the same class as the Tigers. LSU should have a field day in this game, provided it shws up with any kind of motivation. This is the type of game where Texas Tech would do well to stay in the contest through the first half.
Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Ole Miss Rebels – Allstate Sugar Bowl (Jan. 1)
This is a great matchup. Oklahoma State has been a balanced group and one of the most underrated teams of the season. The Cowboys will try to end the season on a high note against an Ole Miss group that has a tremendous offense, led by quarterback Chad Kelly and wide receiver Laquan Treadwell. Both could end up in the National Football League down the line, with Treadwell projected by most to be a first-round pick this spring.
We will break down the other three bowls for Big 12 teams next Friday.