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Big 12 Conference (and Baylor) Bowl Scenarios

Now that our Bears are eligible for participation in a bowl game, I thought I'd take a look at the potential scenarios for where we might go.

Ronald Martinez

First and foremost, it's important to realize that with only one exception, since 9 Big 12 teams are eligible for a bowl and the conference has only 8 official bowl affiliations, someone is going to end up in a bowl not generally associated with the conference. Here are the conference standings at this moment:

Big 12 Conference Standings

(updated 11.24.2012 at 1:42 AM CST)

Kansas State and Oklahoma are the only schools still alive in the conference championship hunt, and each has one game left to play against Texas and TCU, respectively. If Kansas State wins, it wins the conference outright and gets the Fiesta Bowl. If it loses and OU wins, OU wins the conference and goes to the Fiesta Bowl, while Kansas State could still potentially, though not likely, end up in another BCS bowl. If both teams win, probably the most likely result, the Big 12 could send two to BCS bowls provided that none of Boise State, Northern Illinois, or Kent State finishes in the top 16 of the BCS.

That last result would be the only way that all of the Big 12's teams end up in Big 12 affiliated bowls, since the second school in the BCS would move everyone up one slot. Boise is 22nd in the last BCS rankings, so it's certainly possible that this happens. Before we start talking about the possibilities, these are the Big 12's bowls and their order of selection.

BCS - Tostitos Fiesta
AT&T Cotton (SEC)
Valero Alamo (Pac-12)
Buffalo Wild Wings (Big Ten)
Bridgepoint Holiday (Pac-12)
Meineke Car Care of Texas (Big Ten)
New Era Pinstripe (Big East)
Heart of Dallas (Big Ten)

2 BCS Schools (Baylor beats OSU)

Provided that two Big 12 schools are represented in the BCS, that leaves 7 eligible teams for 7 bowl slots. In that scenario, which means that KSU and OU both win this weekend, KSU gets the Fiesta Bowl, OU the Sugar, and then we start filling in teams after that. For KSU to win means UT has to lose, so it will finish either fourth or third depending on the outcome of our own game. If KSU wins and we win, UT finishes third (because they beat OSU), OSU fourth, and then we have a logjam of 7-5 teams that have all beaten each other in Baylor, Texas Tech, TCU, and West Virginia. Those hoping for a UT-A&M matchup in the Cotton Bowl should hope for this result, since it basically assures the Cotton selects UT (absent weird selection shenanigans), OSU gets the Alamo, and then chaos ensues with the next four bowls. In this scenario, Baylor could end up anywhere from Tempe, Arizona to San Diego, California to Houston to New York.

Were I to guess, based on the travel patterns of each individual school, we'd end up with something like this:

Fiesta -- Kansas State (11-1)
Sugar -- Oklahoma (10-2)
AT&T Cotton (SEC) -- Texas (9-3)
Valero Alamo (Pac-12) -- Oklahoma State (7-5, but 5-4 in conference)
Buffalo Wild Wings (Big Ten) -- West Virginia (7-5, 4-5)
Bridgepoint Holiday (Pac-12) -- Texas Tech (7-5, 4-5)
Meineke Car Care of Texas (Big Ten) -- Baylor (7-5, 4-5)
New Era Pinstripe (Big East) -- TCU (7-5, 4-5)
Heart of Dallas (Big Ten) -- Iowa State (6-6, 3-6)

My favorite result here would be the Holiday, I think, since it means we could go to San Diego. That could mean a low Baylor turnout due to the distance.

2 BCS Bowls (Baylor loses to OSU)

This is, I think, the most likely scenario of all given the circumstances before us. Provided that two Big 12 teams make the BCS and Baylor loses to OSU this weekend (OSU is favored by 5 as of this writing), that leaves a clump of 7-5 teams just above Iowa State and Baylor at 6-6. That puts us in line for a Big 12 bowl in Dallas against likely opponent Purdue.

Fiesta -- Kansas State (11-1)
Sugar -- Oklahoma (10-2)
AT&T Cotton (SEC) -- Texas (9-3)
Valero Alamo (Pac-12) -- Oklahoma State (8-4, 6-3 but lost to Texas)
Buffalo Wild Wings (Big Ten) -- West Virginia (7-5, 4-5)
Bridgepoint Holiday (Pac-12) -- Texas Tech (7-5, 4-5)
Meineke Car Care of Texas (Big Ten) -- TCU (7-5, 4-5)
New Era Pinstripe (Big East) -- Iowa State (6-6, 3-6)
Heart of Dallas (Big Ten) -- Baylor (6-6, 3-6)

In terms of turnout, this is probably the best result Baylor could hope for since the game would be in Dallas and tickets probably pretty inexpensive. I just don't want to be 6-6.

1 BCS School (Baylor beats OSU)

Should Kansas State and/or Oklahoma lose, leaving only one BCS spot for the conference, someone is going to get pushed into a bowl not affiliated with the conference. If Baylor wins, we're almost certainly going to have the same logjam at 7-5 we already had, just with fewer teams provided that TCU beats OU. If KSU is the one to lose (to Texas), the result remains largely the same as above with Iowa State pushed out the bottom.

Fiesta -- Kansas State or Oklahoma
AT&T Cotton (SEC) -- Kansas State or Oklahoma
Valero Alamo (Pac-12) -- Texas (8-4 or 9-3)
Buffalo Wild Wings (Big Ten) -- Oklahoma State (7-5, 5-4) or TCU (8-4, 5-4 if they beat OU)
Bridgepoint Holiday (Pac-12) -- Baylor (7-5, 4-5) or TCU (same if they lose to OU)
Meineke Car Care of Texas (Big Ten) -- Baylor (7-5, 4-5) or TCU (same if they lose to OU)
New Era Pinstripe (Big East) -- West Virginia (7-5, 4-5)
Heart of Dallas (Big Ten) -- Texas Tech (7-5, 4-5)
Somewhere else -- Iowa State

I pushed WVU down not out of disrespect but because I assumed a western bowl would prefer not to have a school whose fanbase would have to travel across the entire country. Oklahoma State would still finish above the rest of the 7-5 pack even if they lose to us and travels well. Mainly, this is just a way to get back to the Holiday Bowl, which would be awesome. Wouldn't Mountaineer fans want to go to NYC for a matchup with a former conference foe?

1 BCS School (Baylor loses to OSU)

Should we lose to OSU, we drop to 6-6 (3-6) on the season and actually fall beneath Iowa State in the standings by virtue of losing to them in Ames. That alone doesn't mean they would definitely be selected ahead of us, since bowls aren't bound strictly by conference standings, but it could push things that direction. That's what Jason Kirk's latest bowl projections say, anyway. In that scenario, things basically finish the same as above without the added team to the 7-5 group.

Fiesta -- Kansas State or Oklahoma
AT&T Cotton (SEC) -- Kansas State or Oklahoma
Valero Alamo (Pac-12) -- Oklahoma State (9-3, 7-2, lost to Texas, beat TCU) or Texas (9-3, 7-2)
Buffalo Wild Wings (Big Ten) -- Texas (8-4 or 9-3, beat OSU, lost to TCU, can't finish with more than 4 conference losses) or TCU (7-5 or 8-4 with win over OU)
Bridgepoint Holiday (Pac-12) -- TCU (7-5 or 8-4 with win over OU) or Texas Tech (7-5, 4-5)
Meineke Car Care of Texas (Big Ten) -- TCU (7-5 or 8-4 with win over OU) or Texas Tech (7-5, 4-5)
New Era Pinstripe (Big East) -- West Virginia (7-5, 4-5, lost to both Tech and TCU)
Heart of Dallas (Big Ten) -- Iowa State (6-6, 3-6, beat Baylor)

Somewhere else -- Baylor

Ok, this one is more convoluted since there are so many balls in the air. We know by now that if we send one team to the BCS, the other will play in the Cotton Bowl, probably against A&M. If Texas wins over Kansas State, they earn a tie with Oklahoma State for third. If they don't, the Alamo will be forced to either take OSU in accordance with conference standings or eschew the unwritten rules and take UT anyway. They'd want the Longhorns due to the fanbase and proximity, meaning Buffalo Wild Wings and the Holiday Bowl get OSU and TCU in some order. I'd guess BWW takes OSU, Holiday gets TCU, and the rest fill in after that. That's assuming TCU beats OU; if not, TCU could fall as far as the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Houston.

What you came here for is Baylor. Jason Kirk's projections above put us in the Music City Bowl in place of the ACC's sixth team. The only reason that is a legitimate possibility is that Miami and UNC, two of the ACC's eight teams with 6 wins, are not eligible for a bowl this season. That's the right direction to look since we'd need an affiliated bowl to suddenly not have the teams it needs. The Independence Bowl in Shreveport is another potential option.

I think all of this is right, but please correct me if I have something wrong.