Big 12 Football: Projecting each team’s bowl selection after title games

Steve Sarkisian, Sonny Dykes, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Steve Sarkisian, Sonny Dykes, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Following the conclusion of championship game weekend on Dec. 3, we have a good idea of how the postseason picture could play out for each bowl-eligible Big 12 football team. The Big 12 proved to be a much more formidable conference this season in college football.

There are a whopping eight bowl-eligible Big 12 teams. And the West Virginia Mountaineers were one win away from reaching bowl eligibility, as it wrapped up the regular season with a record of 5-7.

The Big 12 heads into the postseason with one team in the College Football Playoff, with the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs and head coach Sonny Dykes set to face the two-seed Michigan Wolverines in the VRBO Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 31.

TCU made it into the four-team Playoff field despite falling short in overtime to the No. 10 Kansas State Wildcats in the Big 12 Championship on Dec. 3. Head coach Chris Klieman and the Wildcats got the best of Dykes and the Horned Frogs at the Big 12 title game in Arlington on Dec. 3 by the final score of 31-28 in overtime after a short field goal make from kicker Ty Zentner.

Moreover, here is a list of the bowl-eligible Big 12 teams at the conclusion of conference championship weekend.

  • TCU (12-1, 9-0 Big 12)
  • Kansas State (10-3, 7-2 Big 12) Big 12 Champion
  • Texas (8-4, 6-3 Big 12)
  • Texas Tech (7-5, 5-3 Big 12)
  • Oklahoma State (7-5, 4-5 Big 12)
  • Baylor (6-6, 4-5 Big 12)
  • Oklahoma (6-6, 3-6 Big 12)
  • Kansas (6-6, 3-6 Big 12)

To find the last time that the Big 12 had 80 percent of the conference’s teams eligible for the postseason, you have to go back to the 2017 campaign. But this season proved to have even more depth top-to-bottom in the conference.

You can see the depth this year compared to 2017 in the Big 12 with the fact that the bottom two teams in the conference this season had a combined nine wins. Meanwhile, the bottom two teams in the Big 12 in 2017 had just two wins combined.

Here’s a look at the bowl projections coming out of conference championship weekend for the eight postseason-eligible teams.

Sonny Dykes and No. 3 TCU lead the way for the post-title game weekend bowl projections for Big 12 football

College Football Playoff (Fiesta Bowl): Dec. 31, 3 p.m. CT

Opponent: No. 2 Michigan

We already mentioned that Dykes and the Horned Frogs were selected for the College Football Playoff on Dec. 3. Despite losing to Kansas State in the Big 12 title game this weekend, the Horned Frogs had a solid enough resume to get the three seed to face the Big Ten Champion Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl on New Years Eve.

Dykes will be looking to continue his magical first season in Fort Worth as the Horned Frogs get the first Playoff selection in program history.

Sugar Bowl (Big 12 vs. SEC): Dec. 31, 11 a.m. CT

Projected opponent: Alabama

Kansas State is the other Big 12 team that has locked in its bowl berth this postseason. Klieman and the Wildcats will likely face head coach Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide out of the SEC West. Alabama finished up the regular season with a record of 10-2 (6-2 SEC) and was the first team out of the Playoff.

Alamo Bowl (Big 12 vs. PAC-12): Dec. 29, 8 p.m. CT

Projected matchup: Texas 8-4 (6-3 Big 12) vs. Washington 10-2 (7-2 PAC-12)

The Utah Utes taking down the USC Trojans in a convincing PAC-12 Championship Game win on Dec. 2 shook up the College Football Playoff picture and locked in the spot for head coach Kyle Whittingham’s squad in the Rose Bowl.

This leaves the Texas Longhorns and head coach Steve Sarkisian with an almost-guaranteed spot in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29 against the No. 9 Washington Huskies. Sark will get to face his former team if this projection holds firm.

Cheez-It Bowl (Big 12 vs. ACC): Dec. 29, 4:30 p.m. CT

Projected matchup: Texas Tech 7-5 (5-4 Big 12) vs. Florida State 9-3 (5-3 ACC)

A rejuvenated Florida State Seminoles squad under head coach Mike Norvell made waves in the ACC this season. A top-25 ranked Florida State team will face an improved Texas Tech Red Raiders squad looking to wrap up its first year under head coach Joey McGuire on a high note in the Cheez-It Bowl.

Texas Bowl (Big 12 vs. SEC): Dec. 28, 8 p.m. CT

Projected matchup: Oklahoma State 7-5 (4-5 Big 12) vs. Arkansas 6-6 (3-5 SEC)

It would be exciting to see a former Southwest Conference matchup in the Texas Bowl this postseason. If this projection holds, it would pit the sliding Oklahoma State Cowboys and head coach Mike Gundy against head coach Sam Pittman and the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Both teams underachieved this season, with Arkansas having lost three of its last four and Oklahoma State losing four of its last five.

Liberty Bowl (Big 12 vs. SEC): Dec. 28, 4:30 p.m. CT

Projected matchup: Baylor 6-6 (4-5 Big 12) vs. Florida 6-6 (3-5 SEC)

There are a few different possibilities that remain for the Texas Bowl and Liberty Bowl this postseason with multiple Big 12 teams finishing up the regular season with six wins. But we’re going to place head coach Dave Aranda and the Baylor Bears against a first-year head coach in Billy Napier and the Florida Gators out of the SEC East.

Guaranteed Rate Bowl (Big 12 vs. Big Ten): Dec. 27, 9:15 p.m. CT

Projected matchup: Oklahoma 6-6 (3-5 Big 12) vs. Wisconsin 6-6 (4-5 Big Ten)

In most years, a postseason matchup between the Oklahoma Sooners and Wisconsin Badgers would be at a minimum a top non-New Years Six bowl game. Yet, both Oklahoma and Wisconsin struggled amid the grind that coaching turnover can present.

Wisconsin parted ways with Paul Chryst five games into the season. And Oklahoma struggled through the first year under new head coach Brent Venables.

Armed Forces Bowl (AAC vs. Pool): Dec. 22, 6:30 p.m. CT

Projected matchup: Kansas 6-6 (3-5 Big 12) vs. Air Force 9-3 (5-3 MWC)

There will be one Big 12 team that likely either plays in the Armed Forces Bowl or the First Responders Bowl this postseason. We’re going with the Kansas Jayhawks here to face the Air Force Falcons out of the Mountain West in the Armed Forces Bowl.

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But there could technically be three or four different Big 12 teams that get to play in the Armed Forces Bowl or First Responders Bowl. Those teams that could be selected for either of these bowl games include Oklahoma State, Baylor, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Granted, I don’t think some of these middle-tier bowls are going to pass at the chance to have Oklahoma in their game.