Big 12: Insight Bowl

Halftime analysis: Oklahoma 14, Iowa 0

December, 30, 2011
12/30/11
11:51
PM ET
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Oklahoma hasn’t gotten much going on offense, but still leads 14-0, thanks largely to a Jamell Fleming interception early in the game that set up the Sooners' first touchdown.

Stat of the half: The Sooners have now gone 15 straight quarters without a touchdown pass. Landry Jones has completed 7 of 11 passes for 70 yards. But he has been stuck on 28 touchdown passes since the Texas A&M game on Nov. 5, when favorite target Ryan Broyles suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Best player in the half: How about Belldozer package fullbacks Jaydan Bird and Trey Millard? Bird, a linebacker filling in for the injured Aaron Ripkowski, plowed a hole behind the left guard for Blake Bell’s first touchdown. Millard cleared out Iowa cornerback Shaun Prater on a sweep for Bell’s second. The Sooners continue to struggle offensively, but have made the most of their red-zone opportunities thanks to the Belldozer.

What Oklahoma needs to do: Keep everything in front of them on defense. The Hawkeyes have had some success offensively with 11 first downs (compared to OU’s six). But as long as the Sooners keep Iowa from connecting on the big pass play, they should be able to put this one away. On the other hand, one big play could get the Hawkeyes right back in it.

Big 12 has highest, lowest ratings of 34 bowl games

January, 14, 2010
1/14/10
4:27
PM ET
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.

All-Big 12 bowl team dotted by seven Cornhuskers

January, 12, 2010
1/12/10
11:00
AM ET
It was a forgettable bowl season for much of the Big 12.

But there were still enough top producers to fill out a team of top performers from the conference's 4-4 bowl season.

Here's a look at my top performers:

OFFENSE

QB Landry Jones, Oklahoma: Passed for career-best 418 yards and added three passing TDs to direct Sooners’ Sun Bowl victory over Stanford.

RB Alexander Robinson, Iowa State: Rushed for 137 yards -- his sixth 100-yard game of the season -- to pace Cyclones’ victory over Minnesota in the Insight Bowl.

RB Baron Batch, Texas Tech: Rushed for 100 yards, scored two TDs and produced six receptions for 85 yards in Red Raiders’ comeback victory in the Alamo Bowl over Michigan State.

WR Jordan Shipley, Texas: Overcame slow start to produce 10 catches for 122 yards and two TDs against Alabama, becoming Texas’ leading career receiver.

WR Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma: Produced career-best totals of 13 receptions, 156 receiving yards and also matched career high with three TD receptions to help beat Stanford in the Sun Bowl.

TE Trent Ratterree, Oklahoma: Grabbed three receptions for 86 yards, including pivotal 38-yard catch that was Jones’ longest pass of game in Sun Bowl victory over Stanford.

OL Ricky Henry, Nebraska: Helped Cornhuskers dominate in the trenches in biggest Cornhuskers' bowl victory since 2000.

OL Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State: Dominant effort helped Cyclones claim first bowl victory since 2004 and only third bowl victory in school history.

OL Jacob Hickman, Nebraska: Cornhuskers’ center set the tone for easy victory over Arizona.

OL Brandon Carter, Texas Tech: Colorful lineman helped Tech roll up school bowl-record 31 first downs, 579 total yards against Michigan State.

OL Trent Williams, Oklahoma: All-American moved from tackle to center and didn’t miss a beat in the Sooners’ Sun Bowl triumph.

DEFENSE

DL Sergio Kindle, Texas: Had his best game of the season with eight tackles, 2.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for losses against Alabama.

DL Pierre Allen, Nebraska: Set the tone for Nebraska’s pass rush with two sacks, four tackles, forced a fumble and notched a quarterback hurry in the Cornhuskers’ shutout over Arizona -- first for a Big 12 team in a bowl game in conference history.

DL Christopher Lyle, Iowa State: Insight Bowl defensive MVP produced five tackles, including two for losses and one sack to lead Cyclones’ victory over Minnesota.

DL Rajon Henley, Texas Tech: Four tackles, four quarterback hurries, one sack against Michigan State.

LB Phillip Dillard, Nebraska: Produced team-high seven stops, broke up one pass in Cornhuskers’ shutout over Arizona.

LB Ryan Reynolds, Oklahoma: Produced 12 tackles (three solo, nine assists), two quarterback hurries and one tackle for loss against Stanford.

LB Andre Sexton, Oklahoma State: Produced 10 tackles, two interceptions and one tackle for a loss in Cotton Bowl loss to Mississippi.

DB Matt O’Hanlon, Nebraska: Earned Holiday Bowl defensive MVP honors with five stops, a 37-yard interception and a pass broken up against Arizona.

DB Ter’ran Benton, Iowa State: In his first game back after recovering from mid-season broken leg, notched five tackles and game-clinching fumble recovery in Cyclones’ Insight Bowl victory over Minnesota.

DB Jamar Wall, Texas Tech: Produced six tackles, broke up two passes and one interception against Michigan State.

DB Quinton Carter, Oklahoma: Notched eight stops (five tackles, three assists) and added an interception in Sun Bowl victory over Stanford.

SPECIALISTS

P Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State: Averaged 50.2 yards per punt on his eight punts, including four punts inside 20 in Cotton Bowl.

K Alex Henery, Nebraska: Converted all four field goals of 47, 50, 43 and 22 yards to set the Holiday Bowl record. His big night gave him a Nebraska single-season record of 24 for the season.

RET Niles Paul, Nebraska: The Holiday Bowl offensive MVP amassed 94 yards in returns, including a 49-yard kickoff return and a 28-yard punt return. He also added four catches for 123 yards, including a clinching 74-yard TD grab from Zac Lee.

ISU AD takes shot at Tech during pep rally

December, 31, 2009
12/31/09
9:59
AM ET
Texas Tech's misfortune apparently is becoming a punchline for other schools around the conference.

Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard got a laugh at the Red Raiders' expense during a pep rally for his school Wednesday before his team's Insight Bowl game against Minnesota.

Pollard alluded to the firing of Tech coach Mike Leach, who was let go by the school after reports surfaced about him placing reserve wide receiver Adam James in a shed while he was recovering from a concussion.

Several hours later, Pollard made this comment to ISU fans:

“I’m so excited to be here, because I’ve been locked in a closet by Paul Rhoads,” Pollard said, according to the Des Moines Register.

Pollard's comments got a few chuckles from the assembled Cyclone fans.

But I bet it wasn't very funny to many people in West Texas.

Insight Bowl: Iowa State (6-6) vs. Minnesota (6-6)

December, 30, 2009
12/30/09
11:03
PM ET
It might not be the most attractive of bowl matchups as 6-6 Iowa State hooks up with 6-6 Minnesota in the Insight Bowl.

But the game should prove interesting as the enthusiastic Cyclones play in their first bowl game since 2005.

Here’s how the game should shake out.

WHO TO WATCH: Alexander Robinson, RB, Iowa State

If the Cyclones are going to be successful in their bowl game, their running game will be the key reason. And Robinson is the key weapon after rushing for 1,000 yards for the first time in his career as he finished with 1,058 yards to rank third in the Big 12. He rushed for three 100-yard games in non-conference play a career-high 152 yards against Kansas. His running will be critical in the Cyclones’ upset hopes, as well as setting up the Cyclones’ play-action passing attack with quarterback Austen Arnaud.

WHAT TO WATCH: Will the Cyclones be as enthusiastic to play as their fans are to watch?

Considering the snow that has socked the Midwest over the last week, it’s understandable why Iowa State fans would consider their trip to the Insight Bowl as manna from heaven. ISU’s fan support helped sway bowl organizers to offer them the bowl over a team like Missouri that had a better record and a head-to-head victory over the Cyclones. Iowa State should be similarly stoked for the game and a chance to finish the season with an improbable winning record in Coach Paul Rhoads’ first season.

WHY TO WATCH: A rare matchup between two old rivals

Minnesota and Iowa State once played fairly often, meeting 20 times during a 21-season period from 1895-1915. The two teams met when iconic Iowa State running back Jack Trice was mortally injured in a 1923 game in Minneapolis. After that game, the two teams have met only four times in the ensuing seasons. The Gophers have dominated the series, claiming a 20-0-1 edge with Iowa State’s last victory in the series coming in 1898. Despite that past history, Wednesday’s game should be entertaining between two evenly matched teams.

PREDICTION: This game might be decided on what team is more excited to be at Sun Devil Stadium. Iowa State is making its first trip to a bowl game since 2005. And Minnesota is making its third trip to the Insight Bowl in four seasons. It could be worse --the Gophers could be playing at the Motor City Bowl. But the Insight Bowl appears to have become a destination for Minnesota in late December, not exactly a strong show of growth for a developing program. Look for the Cyclones to be more enthusiastic to be here, which might boost them to an upset. Iowa State 27, Minnesota 24.

Twelve players on the spot during the bowls

December, 23, 2009
12/23/09
3:41
PM ET
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.

My Big 12 confidence picks

December, 17, 2009
12/17/09
10:42
AM ET
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.

Rhoads in New York City for NASDAQ opening

December, 15, 2009
12/15/09
10:10
AM ET
What a difference a year has made for Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads.

A year ago Monday, Rhoads was looking for work. He had been let go after the coaching change at Auburn and was between jobs.

Fast forward a year and Rhoads and Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard participated Monday in the opening bell ceremony of the NASDAQ stock exchange in New York along with Insight Bowl competitor Tim Brewster of Minnesota.

Rhoads was hired by Pollard last Dec. 20. He led the Cyclones to an unexpected 6-6 record, including an upset victory at Nebraska that ultimately helped push ISU into a bowl game for the first time since 2005.

Ringing bells on Wall Street was a nice honor for that season.

But I bet that Rhoads is more interested in winning his bowl game a few weeks from now.

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

December, 10, 2009
12/10/09
7:48
AM ET
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
12/07/09
6:26
PM ET
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
12/07/09
4:37
PM ET
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.

Insight Bowl

December, 6, 2009
12/06/09
9:30
PM ET
Iowa State ( 6-6) vs. Minnesota (6-6)

Dec. 31, 6 p.m. (ESPN)

Insight Bowl officials jumped all over the Cyclones, picking them over teams with a better record.

The Cyclones were one of the biggest surprises in the Big 12, claiming six victories to earn a bowl berth under first-year coach Paul Rhoads. But a close examination reveals that they defeated only one team with a winning record all season -- a 9-7 triumph at Nebraska where they forced eight turnovers, including three inside the Cornhuskers' 5-yard line.

The Cyclones struggled offensively when quarterback Austen Arnaud and running back Alexander Robinson were injured. But, new defensive coordinator Wally Burnham helped craft a gritty defense that was smaller than most opponents, but overachieved and ranked 27th in turnover margin.

Meanwhile, the Gophers will be making their third Insight Bowl trip in the last four seasons – not exactly a mark of distinction among Big Ten teams.

Tim Brewster’s team limped home with four losses in its last six games and failed to score an offensive touchdown in its final two games. The Gophers never really recovered from the loss of standout wide receiver Eric Decker and ranked last in the Big Ten in offense. Their lack of offensive weapons should make this a relatively equal battle with the Gophers.

These two teams were early rivals, playing 22 times between 1895-1924, but have met only three times since then. It was in the 1923 game where Jack Trice sustained an injury that later took his life, becoming a iconic martyr whose spirit pervades Iowa State to this day. The Cyclones haven't beaten Minnesota since 1898.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

BIG 12 SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/27
Saturday, 12/20
Monday, 12/22
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12