Sunday, November 13, 2016

Four Big 12 teams bowl eligible, three one game away.

Bowl Eligibility Watch

Oklahoma State. Image via The Tulsa World. 

The Big 12 was the only conference that survived the mega-chaos that shook up the rest of the FBS division. Not that it really helps the conference's College Football Playoff chances, but it does shake up who projected conference winner Oklahoma plays in the 2017 Sugar Bowl.

 West Virginia kept Texas from advancing to the ranks of the bowl eligible, and Kansas State and TCU had bye weeks. Oklahoma State edged out Texas Tech, keeping the Red Raiders in a four-win holding pattern.

Basically, Week 12 is where push could come to shove for the four Big 12 schools that are in the hunt for bowl eligibility. Kansas St, TCU, and Texas still need one win to become bowl eligible, and Texas Tech needs one.

The Longhorns and Red Raiders luck out by facing the bottom of the Big 12 barrel. As for the Wildcats and Horned Frogs - well, it won't be quite that easy.

Here's the rundown of where the Big 12 stands. Bowl projections for the bowl eligible teams are from SB*Nation's Jason Kirk.

Bowl Eligible (Six-plus wins)

Oklahoma (8-2)
Bowl projection: 2017 Sugar Bowl vs. LSU (Jan. 2, 2017, New Orleans, La.)

Jason Kirk has The Sooners facing Auburn in the Superdome last week. With the Tigers going down to Georgia, LSU is the projected SEC representative this season. Bob Stoops vs Ed Orgeron? Yes, please.

Oklahoma State (8-2)
Bowl projection: 2016 Alamo Bowl vs. Washington (Dec. 29, San Antonio, Tx.)

Cowboys' head coach Mike Gundy might be feeling some of the pain Bob Stoops felt when facing a Chris Petersen-coached team. Stoops lost to the Petersen-led Boise State in the legendary 2007 Fiesta Bowl.

The one disappointment might be in knowing that Kirk had projected Oklahoma St. facing Washington State last week. meaning we could now be missing out on seeing the Gundy vs. Mike Leach coaching battle we've all missed since Leach was fired by Texas Tech.

West Virginia (8-1)
Bowl projection: Russell Athletic Bowl vs. Miami (Dec. 28, Orlando, Fl.)
West Virginia has only faced Miami twice. They tied the first time in 1995, then the Mountaineers beat the Hurricanes in 1999. Interesting side note: West Virginia defeated the then Mark Richt-led Georgia Bulldogs in the 2006 Sugar Bowl.

Baylor (6-3)
Bowl projection: Armed Forces Bowl vs. Navy (Dec. 23, Ft. Worth, Tx.)

If Baylor has a shred of decency, it will decline a bowl bid at the end of the season. Will it make up for everything that has happened with the scandal-ridden program this season? No, but the act could help the program's healing and rebuilding process in the long run.

On the Brink (Five wins, one win away)

Kansas State (5-4)
Week 12: vs. Baylor (Nov. 19)

Baylor is the first of Kansas State's three chances to become bowl eligible this season. The game won't be a must-win, and a win won't knock Baylor out of bowl season. It would get bowl eligibility out of the way for the Wildcats.

Kansas St. faces 1-8 in-state rival Kansas on Nov. 26. The Jayhawks haven't beaten the Wildcats since 2008, and have really shown nothing this season to make any rational person believe that a upset is likely this season.

TCU (5-4) 
Week 12: vs. Oklahoma St. (Nov. 19)

TCU has only won against Oklahoma St. once since the Horned Frogs joined the Big 12 in 2012. Of course, anything in the upset-happy conference is possible, however.

It won't get any easier for TCU, with Texas scheduled for Nov. 25, then Kansas St. on Dec. 3. The Horned Frogs are 3-1 vs. the Longhorns since 2012, and 2-2 against the Wildcats.

Texas (5-5)
Week 12. @Kansas (Nov. 19)

It won't be the end of the world if Kansas beats Texas this coming Saturday, but it'll be drop dead embarrassing for the Longhorns, and would turn the heat back on the Hot Seat that head coach Charlie Strong has been sitting on.

Texas' last hope for bowl eligibility would be against TCU at home on Nov. 25. It looks like a very winnable game against the struggling Horned Frogs.

All or Nothing (Four wins, two wins away)

Texas Tech (4-6)
Week 12: @Iowa State (Nov. 19)

Texas Tech lost a close game to Oklahoma St. on Saturday. Iowa St. (Nov. 19) and Baylor (Nov. 25) are next on the schedule for the Red Raiders. The pressure will be on to beat the 1-8 Cyclones.

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