Big 12: Advocare V100 Independence Bowl

Big 12 has highest, lowest ratings of 34 bowl games

January, 14, 2010
It was the best of times and worst of times for the Big 12 during the bowl games -- at least as far as television ratings went.

The Big 12 had the bowl with the highest television rating and also the lowest rating, according to information compiled by the Sports Business Daily.

Here's a look at how the Big 12's bowls fared, according to a chart compiled by the Birmingham News.
  • The Citi BCS National Championship Game between Texas and Alabama on ABC garnered a 17.2 ranking -- the top ratings of any bowl and up 9 percent from last season.
  • The controversial firing of Mike Leach helped the Valero Alamo Bowl game between Texas Tech and Michigan State earn the second-highest ranking for the conference and the highest by any bowl shown on ESPN in history. The game earned a 4.8 rating, up 23 percent from last season.
  • The AT&T Cotton Bowl ranked ninth among all bowls and third among Big 12 games. The Oklahoma State-Mississippi game earned a 4.5 rating, up 2 percent from last season.
  • The Pacific Life Holiday Bowl between Nebraska and Arizona checked in at 15th place and fourth among Big 12 games. The game earned a 3.7 rating, down 5 percent from last season.
  • The Brut Sun Bowl was in 17th place and fifth among Big 12 games. The Stanford-Oklahoma game earned a 3.3 rating, up 50 percent from last season.
  • The Texas Bowl was in 23rd place and sixth among Big 12 games. The Missouri-Navy game earned a 2.1 rating during its first time on ESPN, up 2,000 percent from the ratings last season on the NFL Network.
  • The AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl was in 25th place and seventh among Big 12 bowl games. The Texas A&M-Georgia game earned a 2.0 rating, up 150 percent from last season.
  • The Insight Bowl between was in 34th place and eight among Big 12 bowl games. The Iowa State-Minnesota game carried by the NFL Network earned an 0.4 rating, unchanged from last season.

Best and worst of the Big 12's bowl games

January, 11, 2010
Here a look back at some of the highs and lows of the Big 12's bowl games.

Best game: In the grand scheme of things, Iowa State’s 14-13 triumph over Minnesota in the Insight Bowl was a matchup of two 6-6 teams. But the Cyclones’ pulsating victory still provided much excitement for the Cyclones. Alexander Robinson rushed for 137 yards in the victory that was settled by a late fumble recovery by ISU cornerback Ter’ran Benton, who was playing in his first game since breaking his leg on Oct. 24. Benton pounced on the turnover by Minnesota’s MarQueis Gray and the ISU did the rest with a clock-killing drive that provided an unexpected bowl victory for coach Paul Rhoads. Yes, that’s the same team that was expected to struggle to stay out of the North Division cellar before the season.

Best relief performance: Texas Tech starting quarterback Taylor Potts had a strong game in the Valero Alamo Bowl, but the Red Raiders needed a spark as they trailed Michigan State 31-27 early in the fourth quarter. Backup quarterback Steven Sheffield responded by completing his first six passes after relieving Potts, driving for two touchdowns to claim the victory. Potts earned the game’s most valuable player honors, but Sheffield finished by completing 9-for-11 passes for 88 yards as he directed the comeback.

Best use of bowl practice: Nebraska’s maligned offense showed some unexpected punch against Arizona in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl. Nebraska offensive coordinator Shawn Watson took advantage of bowl preparations to rebuild quarterback Zac Lee’s confidence and incorporate freshman Rex Burkhead into the Wildcat formation. The result was a 33-0 victory over the Wildcats with 223 yards of rushing -- most for the Cornhuskers since the first game of the season.

Best bow to youth: Injuries forced Oklahoma to employ freshmen defenders including defensive linemen David King, defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland and cornerback Demontre Hurst against Stanford in the Brut Sun Bowl. The trio came up big throughout the game to spark the Sooners’ 31-27 victory over the Cardinal. “The future’s bright,” Oklahoma defensive ends coach Chris Wilson understated to the Oklahoman after the game.

Most significant injury: Texas moved the ball smartly against Alabama, gaining 26 yards on five plays with Colt McCoy in charge. But McCoy went down with nerve damage to his right shoulder, the Longhorns’ offense unraveled during the rest of the half with backup Garrett Gilbert at quarterback. Alabama took advantage to charge a 24-6 halftime and take control of the Citi BCS National Championship Game.

Worst reaction to a defensive formation: Navy defensive coordinator Buddy Green dared Missouri to run the ball by using an alignment with two down linemen. Even with Derrick Washington in the backfield, the Tigers could produce only 65 yards rushing as they repeatedly passed and sputtered in a 35-13 loss to the Midshipmen.

Worst finish: Mississippi’s defense took over down the stretch, forcing turnovers on the Cowboys’ final six turnovers. Zac Robinson’s offense contributed four interceptions and his team lost two fumbles as the Rebels claimed a 21-7 victory over Oklahoma State in the AT&T Cotton Bowl.

Worst play call: Texas could have gone to halftime trailing by only 11 points. But Texas coach Mack Brown elected to have Garrett Gilbert attempt a seemingly safe shovel pass to D.J. Monroe. The ball was batted around and finally ended up in the arms of Alabama defensive lineman Marcell Dareus, who then stiff-armed Gilbert to the ground and pirouetted around Kyle Hix en route to a 28-yard touchdown return.

Worst officiating call: With about nine minutes remaining in a tie game, Oklahoma State had the ball on the Ole Miss 19-yard line and appeared poised to claim the lead. Ole Miss defensive tackle Jerrell Powe looked to have obviously jumped offsides on a snap as he charged past center Andrew Lewis before the snap was completed. Feeling that he had a free play, Oklahoma State quarterback Zac Robinson threw to the end zone, where he was intercepted by Ole Miss free safety Kendrick Lewis in the end zone. Robinson begged to have the call overturned, but the officials didn’t do it. The Cowboys unraveled from that point in the game.

Worst special teams: Texas A&M’s struggles on special teams were the biggest reason the Aggies dropped a 44-20 loss to Georgia in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl. The Bulldogs blocked a field-goal attempt, returned a kick for a touchdown and blocked a punt in the first half. The Aggies capped the debacle by snapping the ball over A&M punter Ryan Epperson's head in the third quarter, leading to another Georgia touchdown. The special-teams meltdown was the major reason the Aggies dropped their 11th game in their last 13 bowl games.

Kines retires as Aggies' defensive coordinator

December, 30, 2009
Veteran Texas A&M defensive coordinator has retired as the Aggies' defensive coordinator after serving two years in the position.

Kines, 65, joined Mike Sherman's staff in 2008 after Reggie Herring left the position to join the Dallas Cowboys' staff. The decision came after a mutual decision between Kines and Sherman.

"Joe Kines is a class act in every sense of the word," Sherman said. "At the conclusion of my post-season meeting with Joe Tuesday night, we came to an agreement that this was the appropriate time for Joe to retire."

Kines plans to stay with the Aggies' coaching staff until Sherman hires his replacement.

During an illustrious career as a defensive coach, Kines served three different stints as a defensive coordinator at Arkansas, and also was a defensive coordinator at Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

"God has blessed me so much,” Kines said. “I am a man of faith and family and I feel like it is time for me to retire. I came here to help and I hope I have helped a little. I wish we would have had a little more success. I really want to thank the players because they gave me and the staff everything they had and did everything we asked."

Kines' defense struggled this season, ranking 104th nationally in scoring defense, 107th in total defense and 111th nationally in total defense heading into the bowl games. His defense played well for much of the Aggies' 44-24 loss to Georgia in the AdvoCare Independence Monday night before collapsing in the second half because of poor field position caused by struggling special teams play. It marked the fifth time this season the Aggies yielded as many as 44 points in the game.

But the veteran Kines also was responsible for developing a defense scheme that moved Von Miller to a hybrid "Jack" position where he combined elements of a defensive end and a linebacker. Miller thrived at the new position, leading the nation with 17 sacks during the regular season.

It means that Sherman will be looking for his third defensive coordinator in his coaching tenure with the Aggies.

"Transition is part of life and football,” Sherman noted. “Whether it is players graduating or coaches leaving, you have to adjust and move on. I have no doubt we will attract quality candidates for the defensive coordinator position.”

Big 12-SEC bowl rivalry resumes tonight

December, 28, 2009
You'll never get the folks in the Big 12 office to admit to it.

But be assured they'll be watching the action tonight from Fair Park Stadium in Shreveport, La., a little more closely than some of the conference's other bowl games.

Maybe it's the SEC's megabuck television contract. Or it might be their recent dominance of Big 12 teams in bowls (a 9-3 edge in those games since 2003) -- especially in BCS title games in which LSU whipsawed Oklahoma in the 2003 title game and Florida defeated the Sooners in the BCS title game last year.

But the Big 12 will have three shots to knock off the Southeastern Conference in head-to-head bowl games this year. It starts tonight when Texas A&M and Georgia meet in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl.

The old stadium has been the home for many of these SEC/Big 12 matchups over the years. And tonight's game will be the last one between them in Shreveport as both conferences opted for higher payouts in other bowls beginning next season.

The conferences in many cases battle for the best players, particularly in the western part of the SEC and the eastern part of the Big 12.

We don't see the two conferences matched very often in the regular season as teams in both conferences have made a practice in recent years to steer away from the toughest nonconference opponents.

Since the Big 12 began play as a conference in 1996, teams from the conference are 19-23 against SEC teams, including a 9-15 record in bowl games. The Big 12 has not posted a record of above .500 in bowl games against the SEC since 1997.

The SEC and Big 12 squared off twice this season with Oklahoma State beating Georgia in the season opener and Arkansas beating Texas A&M at Arlington, Texas, later in the season.

The two conferences offer an intriguing comparison in athletes as the SEC always seems to have the better defensive athletes, particularly the pass-rushers and defensive backs that have made life miserable for Big 12 passing offenses in recent seasons.

Just ask Graham Harrell and Sam Bradford from last season.

The Big 12 will be an underdog in all three matchups as Alabama is favored to beat Texas in the Citi BCS National Championship Game, Mississippi is favored over Oklahoma State in the AT&T Cotton Bowl and Georgia is picked to beat A&M tonight.

The Big 12 desperately needs to win a couple of these games to restore some lost glory from the disappointments of an injury-filled season across the conference.

Obviously, the national championship game will be watched most closely across the country.

But the other games against the SEC will be just as important for Big 12 supporters over the next several days.

Here's a look at how Big 12 teams have fared against SEC teams since the Big 12 began play in 1996.

Virtual Pressbox will be open during Aggies' game today

December, 28, 2009
Is there any better excuse to open the Virtual Pressbox then for the Big 12's first game of the bowl season?

And making it even better, the Big 12's bitter rivalry with the Southeastern Conference will be played out at the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl when Texas A&M and Georgia meet.

We'll be chatting about all things college football during the game, starting at 4 p.m. ET.

Here's the link to join us. colleagues Heather Dinich, Mark Schlabach and Chris Low will be participating earlier in the game. I'll be on for the end of the game with my old buddy from ESPN Dallas, Richard Durrett, from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. ET.

Please feel free to join us. I'm thinking this might be a better game than some of the prognosticators might think.

Texas A&M AdvoCare V100 bowl facts

December, 28, 2009
Here's a look at a few notable factoids about Texas A&M and its bowl history as the Aggies prepare for the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl (ESPN2, 5 p.m. ET) later today in Shreveport, La.

Bowl record: 13-17

Current bowl streak: Lost 3.

Most memorable bowl victory: 1922 Dixie Classic, Texas A&M 22, Centre College 14. In the game that gave birth to the Aggies' 12th Man legend, coach Dana X. Bible's team stunned the Praying Colonels of Centre College. The victory over the "Champions of the South" at that time put Texas A&M on the national spotlight as the Aggies scored 22 points against a defense that had allowed only six points previously in the season.

Bitterest bowl loss: 1942 Cotton Bowl, Alabama 29, Texas A&M 21. The Crimson Tide stunned A&M despite gaining just one first down, producing 75 yards and punting 16 times. A&M was its own worst enemy as the Aggies threw seven interceptions and lost five fumbles. Alabama's Jimmy Nelson was the standout with two interceptions, a 72-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 21-yard TD run.

Best individual bowl performance: Curtis Dickey churned through Iowa State's defense for a school bowl-record 276 rushing yards and a touchdown to lead the Aggies to a 28-12 victory over the Cyclones in the 1978 Hall of Fame Bowl.

Record against Georgia: 3-1.

Most memorable game against the Bulldogs: Texas A&M claimed a gritty 6-0 victory over the Bulldogs in Athens in 1954. It was notable because it was the first triumph for coach Paul "Bear" Bryant with A&M and the Aggies' only victory in a 1-9 season.

Common 2009 opponents: Arkansas, Oklahoma State. The Aggies lost to Razorbacks, 47-19, in Arlington, Texas, on Oct. 3, and 36-31 to the Cowboys in College Station on Oct. 10. The Bulldogs lost to the Cowboys, 24-10, in Stillwater, Okla., on Sept. 5, and beat the Razorbacks, 52-41, in Fayetteville, Ark., on Sept. 19.

The number: 6. Texas A&M is 6-0 in games that have not be televised this season and 0-6 in games that have been televised.

Twelve players on the spot during the bowls

December, 23, 2009
The Big 12’s bowl games will start on Monday when Texas A&M and Georgia square off in the Advocare V100 Independence Bowl.

But as we get ready for those eight games, it's clear that several key players need to step up with big games in order to help their team's winning hopes.

Here's my list of 12 players or groups who need to have big games to bolster their team's bowl hopes.
  • Texas quarterback Colt McCoy: His Heisman hopes sank after his nine-sack, three-interception performance in the Big 12 title game. But he has bigger aspirations if he can finish his career by leading his team to the national championship against Alabama in the Citi BCS National Championship Game.
  • Oklahoma tackle Trent Williams: He could become the fourth starter at center for Oklahoma this season if Brian Lepak doesn't respond to treatment before the Sooners' Brut Sun Bowl game against Stanford. Williams has become one of college football's best offensive linemen at tackle and looked good in practice earlier this season at center. He'll face a big test against massive 315-pound Stanford nose tackle Ekom Udofi if he plays at center in the bowl game.
  • Oklahoma State running back Kendall Hunter: After struggling with a nagging foot injury most of the season, Hunter has been diagnosed at "close to 100 percent" by Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy. The Cowboys had a strong running game and led the conference in rushing but still missed a true breakaway threat without Hunter in the lineup. His return will provide an infusion of speed that could be important for their hopes against Mississippi in the AT&T Cotton Bowl.
  • Texas guards Michael Huey and Charlie Tanner and center Chris Hall: After their struggles against Ndamukong Suh in the Big 12 championship game, this trio will really be under the gun against Alabama All-American tackle Terrence Cody and All-American middle linebacker Rolando McClain. They must play better than they did against Nebraska if they have any hopes of bringing the national title home to Austin.
  • Oklahoma State quarterback Zac Robinson: After gamely trying to play against Oklahoma on a sprained ankle, Robinson says that he's healthy for Mississippi in the AT&T Cotton Bowl. Robinson's injury and a sputtering attack helped explain the Cowboys' difficulties in a 27-0 loss that ultimately cost them a shot at a BCS at-large berth. Robinson must run the offense better against a similarly strong Mississippi defensive front if the Cowboys are to pull off an upset victory.
  • Texas Tech running back Baron Batch: Batch is one of the Red Raiders' most consistent receivers and top rushing threats. He'll be critically important in the Valero Alamo Bowl as he goes up against Michigan State All-Big Ten linebacker Greg Jones. Michigan State is being universally dismissed because of their suspension-wracked roster. All of that will make Jones and the defense eager to become involved early. Batch will be tested to keep Jones and the Spartans away from starting quarterback Taylor Potts.
  • Missouri's defensive front: The grouping of defensive ends Aldon Smith and Brian Coulter, tackle Dominique Hamilton and nose tackle Jaron Baston played very well down the stretch as they allowed only 52.4 yards rushing per game during a strong 4-1 finish. But the Tigers' defensive front will be facing a huge challenge in stopping Navy's unique run-based offense in the Texas Bowl. The Midshipmen rank fourth nationally in rushing and are keyed by quarterback Ricky Dobbs, who averages 85.5 rushing yards per game and ranks second nationally with 24 rushing touchdowns. Keeping Navy in check will be a big challenge for the Tigers, particularly the defensive front.
  • Iowa State cornerback Ter'ran Benton: The suspension of Kennard Banks will thrust Benton into the starting lineup for the Cyclones in the Insight Bowl against Minnesota. Benton is recovering after breaking his left leg Oct. 24 against Nebraska and missing the final four games of the season. Top Minnesota receiver Eric Decker is injured and will miss the bowl game, but Troy Stoudermire and Brandon Green will no doubt test Banks early and often in the Dec. 31 game.
  • Iowa State running back Alexander Robinson: When Robinson is an effective ball-carrying threat, the Cyclones have a much better chance at winning. That's why it will be important to get him going early against a Minnesota defense that tends to wear down if it plays too much. Robinson's running will be an important part in trying to do just that.
  • Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones: When he was on, Jones was one of the most effective passers in the Big 12, torching Tulsa for six touchdown passes, Texas A&M for five touchdown passes and Kansas State for four. But he also struggled with five interceptions against Nebraska. He'll need a big game against a similarly streaky Stanford team that ranked 95th in pass efficiency defense, 105th in pass defense and allowed 15 touchdowns in its last five games.
  • Texas A&M safety Jordan Pugh: He'll be important in coordinating work in a secondary that features two sophomores and a freshman in the starting lineup. After A&M's struggles in a 49-39 loss to Texas in the regular-season finale, the group will be facing a similarly high-powered offensive threat from Georgia. Joe Cox and A.J. Green no doubt saw the Aggies' struggles against Texas and will be intent on duplicating them in the Independence Bowl. It will be important for Pugh to keep his young teammates focused -- particularly if they struggle early.
  • Nebraska quarterback Zac Lee: His struggles running the Nebraska offense were apparent in the Cornhuskers' loss to Texas where they produced only five first downs and amassed only 105 yards in the game. The offense must perk up against Arizona in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl and Lee will be most under the gun to make it happen. He showed flashes of a passing touch earlier in the season, but the Cornhuskers relied on a run-heavy game down the stretch to win the North Division. A couple of well-timed passes from Lee early in the game against the Wildcats could open up the Nebraska offense for the rest of the game.

Texas A&M's bowl practices providing benefits for young players

December, 18, 2009
Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman is excited about his team's upcoming Advocare V100 Independence Bowl game for a variety of reasons.

The biggest is because of the extra work it is providing for his young team.

A&M's early practices have resembled a three-ring circus with a variety of work going on at the same time among all members of the team.

"We're really pushing the envelope and getting everybody work," Sherman said. "We have a maroon team and a white team. The white team are the redshirt guys, and the guys that will not play in the game. They are preparing this week."

"It’s been kind of an exciting part of practice. Everyone's getting reps. From that standpoint, the young guys are really getting valuable practice time. They’re (on) video tape so we can get a look at them and see where they’re at and what they need to accomplish in the spring. And from the other side, we have our starters and backups working on the other end. They’re getting more work against each other as well as against the looks that we perceive Georgia will give us.”

Not only is the extra work beneficial, but the Aggies could set the tone for spring work and the 2010 season by springing an upset over Georgia in the Dec. 28 game.

The Aggies have lost three-straight bowl games with their last victory coming in the 2001 Bowl over TCU. A&M has lost seven of its last eight bowl games since beating Michigan in the 1995 Alamo Bowl.

"Every game that we enter in to is very important to win obviously. And a bowl game is no exception," Sherman said. "A bowl game is somewhat of a reward, but at the same time is a tremendous challenge for us. I know the quality of football team we are playing. Our guys are very excited and the coaches are very excited about being involved in this game in Shreveport.”

My Big 12 confidence picks

December, 17, 2009
Many of you have written to me over the last several days asking me about my bowl picks for various confidence pools.

Obviously, these games aren't quite as prevalent as bracket sheets during the NCAA men's tournament, but they assuredly are growing. I know I have several offers and have to get my sheets ready by Saturday's games.

Here are my picks for Big 12 bowl games ranked one through eight in terms of my confidence in the results of the games. I'll have much more extensive previews before the games and I reserve my right to make a last-minute change, but here are my picks in place for Saturday's confidence-pick deadline.

8 points: Texas Tech over Michigan State, Valero Alamo Bowl. The Red Raiders are catching the Spartans at exactly the right time. And the fact that Michigan State is riddled with suspensions only makes the Red Raiders' opportunity to win that much greater. Tech's Taylor Potts should have a huge game against the Spartans' struggling secondary that ranks 96th in pass-efficiency defense and 103rd in pass defense.

7 points: Missouri over Navy, Texas Bowl. The Tigers played well late in the season when Blaine Gabbert was healthy. Danario Alexander was the Big 12's most explosive player down the stretch. And while the defense isn't their best quality, I like their chances of being able to stuff Navy's run-heavy offense. Missouri limited four of its last five opponents to 77 yards rushing or less and Dave Steckel's group will have a long time to prepare for the option.

6 points: Georgia over Texas A&M, Advocare V100 Independence Bowl. Which Aggies team will show up for this game? The one that nearly beat Texas or the one that was blown out by Oklahoma or Kansas State? I think that Joe Cox and A.J. Green will have a lot of success against the Aggies' struggling defense, providing they can effectively keep Von Miller out of the Georgia backfield.

5 points: Oklahoma over Stanford, Brut Sun Bowl. The Sooners are intent on turning around after losing five of their last six bowl games. Oklahoma gets a break because of Andrew Luck's iffy status for the Cardinal. Look for the Sooners' run defense to clamp down on Toby Gerhart and Ryan Broyles and Landry Jones to make enough big plays to win.

4 points: Mississippi over Oklahoma State, AT&T Cotton Bowl. How much will that blowout loss at Oklahoma in Bedlam harm the Cowboys' psyche? I'm thinking more than might be expected as underrated bowl game coach Houston Nutt will assuredly have the Rebels ready to play. Look for a game similar to last year's Cotton Bowl against Texas Tech where the Rebels win the game in the trenches.

3 points: Arizona over Nebraska, Pacific Life Holiday Bowl. Look for a defensive struggle between good buddies Mike Stoops and Bo Pelini. But with Nebraska's well-chronicled offensive struggles against better opponents, it might be more of the same for the Cornhuskers in the bowl game. This one should be tight, but look for Arizona quarterback Nick Foles to make enough big plays to give the Wildcats a narrow victory.

2 points: Iowa State over Minnesota, Insight Bowl. The Cyclones definitely are happy to move up this far in the bowl pecking order. That attitude, along with strong inside running by Alexander Robinson, might be enough to catapult them to a big effort over the Gophers. Minnesota has been to the Insight Bowl three times in the last four seasons and might be a little bored with another trip to the desert this time around.

1 point: Texas over Alabama, Citi BCS National Championship Game. The Longhorns are underdogs in this one, but I'm thinking they are going to be a little tired about pundits talking about how fortunate they are to be playing in this game. The Longhorns are actually a better match for the Crimson Tide than they would have been against Florida. Will Muschamp's expertise on Nick Saban and his system will be pivotal. And I think Texas' run defense will keep Mark Ingram bottled up and that Colt McCoy will outplay Greg McElroy for his fourth bowl victory.

That would produce a 5-3 bowl record for the Big 12 this time around. It might be a little optimistic, but I'm fairly confident the teams can play to my expected levels.

What about some of your picks? I'm curious what you believe is a legitimate record the Big 12 can achieve this season.

It's the most wonderful time of the year for Big 12 bowl participants

December, 10, 2009
It's time we check under the Christmas tree and see what Big 12 players fortunate enough to be making bowl trips will be receiving in gifts from their postseason activities.

As always, it looks like a good haul.

The NCAA allows each bowl to award up to $500 in gifts to 125 participants from each school. Those schools can and typically do purchase additional packages that they can distribute to participants beyond those at a school. Additionally, each school can provide players with gifts up to $350 from its own budget.

The Sports Business Journal reports that these gift packages provide a gift niche that is worth more $12 million in direct spending.

Here's the haul of gifts for each Big 12 school from a master list including all bowls.

Advocare V100 Independence Bowl (Texas A&M): Sony gift suite, Timely Watch Co. watch, New Era hat, football.

Pacific Life Holiday Bowl (Nebraska): Flo TV personal television (includes one year of service), Best Buy gift card, Tourneau watch, Sports Tek hooded sweatshirt, cap.

Brut Sun (Oklahoma): Sony gift suite, Timely Watch Co. watch, Majestic fleece pullover, VP Sports cap, Ogio Politan laptop pack, Brut hair dryer, coin.

Texas (Missouri): $300 Best Buy gift card, Fossil watch, Under Armour shirt and hat, Texas Bowl T-shirt, Under Armour backpack, belt buckle.

Insight (Iowa State): Sony gift suite, Fossil watch, hat, Ogio Bounty Hunter or Hermit laptop pack.

Valero Alamo Bowl (Texas Tech): 32-gig iPod Touch, Dr. Dre Monster Beats headphones, Fossil watch, Oakley Antix sunglasses, Shutt mini-helmet, panoramic photo.

Citi BCS National Championship (Texas): Sony gift suite with Trek and Garmin, Fossil watch, New Era 59Fifty hat, Ogio Politan laptop pack.

Note: AT&T Cotton Bowl officials did not make their information available. Gift suites are arranged as private events where game participants and often bowl VIPs are given an order form and allowed to select gifts up to a value that is determined by each specific bowl, not exceeding the NCAA’s limit of $500 per bowl game.

Source: Sports Business Journal.

How I rank the Big 12's upcoming bowls

December, 7, 2009
The array of Big 12 bowl treats over the next month will feature a little of everything.

We've got some good games and others that might not be as appealing for those from outside the respective fan bases. Here's a look at how I rank the Big 12's eight bowl games this season.

I based my selections on importance, style of the two teams, coaching and starpower. Here are my rankings.

1. Citi BCS National Championship Game

Texas vs. Alabama

My take: The national title will be decided between two tradition-steeped programs with Heisman finalists Colt McCoy and Mark Ingram. Who could ask for more?

2. Brut Sun Bowl

Oklahoma vs. Stanford

My take: Even if Andrew Luck doesn't play, we'll have an intriguing battle between Toby Gerhart and the Sooners' defense. Toss in the Sooners' need for a bowl victory and this could be a good one.

3. Pacific Life Holiday Bowl

Nebraska vs. Arizona

My take: Two strong defenses will square off in this game. Throw in two fiery coaches like Mike Stoops and Bo Pelini and it should be an intriguing coaching matchup.

4. Advocare V100 Independence Bowl

Texas A&M vs. Georgia

My take: Sure, the Georgia staff has been blown up after the firing of Willie Martinez. But two high-powered offenses keyed by Jerrod Johnson and Joe Cox should result in a lot of points and passing yards.

5. Texas Bowl

Missouri vs. Navy

My take: The Tigers slid all the way into the bottom of the Big 12's pecking order, but this game still will be interesting. Danario Alexander and the potent Missouri passing game against Navy's option attack should be an interesting contrast of styles.

6. AT&T Cotton Bowl

Oklahoma State vs. Mississippi

My take: The Cowboys must rebound from their final-game struggles at Oklahoma, or they will face a difficult challenge against Jevan Snead and the Rebels.

7. Valero Alamo Bowl

Texas Tech vs. Michigan State

My take: Texas Tech's high-powered offense and underrated defense will be going against an undermanned Spartan team wracked by suspensions. I have no idea how either team will approach their trip to San Antonio.

8. Insight Bowl

Iowa State vs. Minnesota

My take: Insight Bowl officials jumped all over the Cyclones, hoping they will drive tickets for this battle of 6-6 programs. They better hope the Arizona golfing is good, because Minnesota's struggling offense produced no touchdowns in the last two games of the season.

Big 12 television bowl schedule features eight games

December, 7, 2009
Several readers have asked for a handy television schedule of the Big 12's upcoming bowl games.

Here's a list with all of the dates, times and networks, along with who will be the home team in the game. All times are ET.
  • Citi BCS National Championship Game, Jan. 7, 8 p.m. ET, FOX Sports, Pasadena, Calif. -- Texas (13-0) vs. Alabama (13-0). Alabama will be the home team.
  • AT&T Cotton Bowl, Jan. 2, 2 p.m., FOX Sports, Arlington, Texas -- Oklahoma State (9-3) vs. Mississippi (8-4). Mississippi will be the home team.
  • Pacific Life Holiday Bowl, Dec. 30, 8 p.m., ESPN, San Diego -- Nebraska (9-4) vs. Arizona (8-4). Nebraska will be the home team.
  • Valero Alamo Bowl, Jan. 2, 9 p.m., ESPN, San Antonio – Texas Tech (8-4) vs. Michigan State (6-6). Texas Tech will be the home team.
  • Brut Sun Bowl, Dec. 31, 2 p.m., CBS, El Paso, Texas -- Oklahoma (7-5) vs. Stanford (8-4). Stanford will be the home team.
  • Insight Bowl, Dec. 31, 6 p.m., NFL Network, Tempe, Ariz. – Iowa State (6-6) vs. Minnesota (6-6). Iowa State will be the home team.
  • Advocare V100 Independence Bowl, Dec. 28, 5 p.m., ESPN, Shreveport, La. -- Texas A&M (6-6) vs. Georgia (7-5). Georgia will be the home team.
  • Texas Bowl, Dec. 31, 3:30 p.m., ESPN, Houston -- Missouri (8-4) vs. Navy (8-4) - Missouri will be the home team.