Big 12: Bowl picks 0802
Here's a look at my predictions for the first three bowl games involving the Big 12.
Missouri 38, Northwestern 27 -- The Tigers have had to stew over their championship game loss for nearly a month, wondering why they ended up in San Antonio in a season that opened with BCS promise. I'm expecting Chase Daniel and Chase Coffman to step up for one more huge offensive game in their final games together. Jeremy Maclin could be leaving the program and offensive coordinator Dave Christensen will be leaving for the head coaching job at Wyoming. Even with a struggling defense, I think the Tigers can outscore Northwestern and finish off back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time in school history.
Kansas 45, Minnesota 20 -- Coach Mark Mangino has already made history by taking the Jayhawks to back-to-back bowl trips for the first time in school history. And this bowl game looks promising for them. The Jayhawks struggled in pass defense all season, but Minnesota couldn't move the ball late in the season in a late collapse that saw them lose its final four games. Coach Tim Brewster hired assistant coach Tim Davis to juice production in the Gophers' run offense that struggled all season. The guess here is that he hasn't had enough time to do that, especially against Kansas' underrated corps of linebackers. If Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing has protection, he should have a lot of fun against Minnesota's leaky secondary.
Oklahoma State 49, Oregon 47 -- Brace yourself for one of the best of the bowl games - particularly if you like high-octane offenses. Both teams scored at least 40 points six times during the season. Neither defense looks that imposing. It looks like a recipe for points and yards by the bunches. And that game could favor the Cowboys, because of their varied offensive weapons. Look for Zac Robinson to be more of a running threat -- like he was in the Oklahoma game -- and for Oklahoma State's advantage in special teams to be magnified with playmakers like Dez Bryant and Perrish Cox. But still, it won't be easy as the Cowboys will be playing this game without defensive coordinator Tim Beckman. He's gone to his new job as head coach at Toledo and it will be up to the rest of the defensive staff to pick up the slack against Oregon's potent offense keyed by head coaching designate Chip Kelly.
My record for championship week: 1-0 (100 percent)
My record for the season: 84-13 (86.6 percent)