Phil Steele breaks out bowl projections
Here, we'll deal with the Big 12 projections.
We'll offer our own bowl projections during the season, but here's where Steele pegged the Big 12 teams (I've arranged them in the order bowls select teams, not when games are played):
BCS National Championship Game: Oklahoma vs. Florida State
Didn't we see this game last year? OU and Florida State disappointed down the stretch, but Steele sees them bouncing back in a big way in 2012.
1. Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Texas vs. Alabama
Sure, it's easy to see the Tide getting there. But can Texas, eight-game winners a year ago, jump back into the elite to produce a rematch of the title game at the end of the 2009 season?
2. AT&T Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Arkansas
Hoo boy, this would be a fun one. Fireworks galore, not unlike last year's Fiesta Bowl. Would new Hogs coach John L. Smith duplicate Arkansas' bowl fortunes from 2011? The Big 12 has won this game just once since 2003, and the one team that won it (Missouri, over Arkansas) is now in the SEC anyway.
3. Valero Alamo Bowl: West Virginia vs. Stanford
This game's been pretty fun of late, especially last year's Baylor vs. Washington track meet. Two BCS bowl participants from 2011 meet in San Antonio.
4. Insight Bowl: TCU vs. Penn State
Penn State dealt with the fallout of the Sandusky scandal even in last year's bowl selection process. Would the Nittany Lions be immune this time around?
5. Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl: Kansas State vs. UCLA
Safe to say Steele's not a big believer in Kansas State validating last season's 10-win season, no? The Wildcats are certainly a polarizing team when it comes to college football opinions for 2012.
6. Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas: Texas Tech vs. Illinois
Welcome back to the postseason, Texas Tech. We missed you last season. What would a Car Care Bowl berth do to the job security of Tommy Tuberville?
7. New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Baylor vs. Rutgers
Sure, Baylor's not going to be as good as they were with a stinkin' Heisman winner in 2011, but they're still going to be pretty good. Certainly good for Baylor standards, considering the program's history as a Big 12 member.
Eight bowl-eligible teams again this season? Are you buying?
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