Ranking the Big 12 bowl game matchups

December, 5, 2012
12/05/12
12:00
PM CT
Colleague Mark Schlabach weighed in with his rankings of each bowl across the country. There are two Big 12 games in the top three, too.

You can see his full rankings here. Mine are quite different. Here's how I'd rank the Big 12 matchups.

1. Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Kansas State vs. Oregon. This was almost the national title game not long ago. I was excited about the prospect then. It'd be a great game. Both teams have lost since, relegating it to the Fiesta Bowl, but it's still a great game, and the best game outside of the BCS National Championship.

2. AT&T Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M. A great game and great storylines in a great stadium. This isn't Texas-Texas A&M, but it's not far off. Johnny Football will be the third Heisman finalist Oklahoma's gone head-to-head with this season. The other two are 2-0. The old Big 12 buddies can share stories about how much they hate Texas.

3. Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl: Baylor vs. UCLA. Puntos, puntos, puntos! Baylor put on a show in the Alamo last year, and we may see the same against another great Pac-12 team with a good offense led by Johnathan Franklin and Brett Hundley. You know Baylor will put up points.

4. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: TCU vs. Michigan State. I love some old-fashioned football. Hopefully that admission doesn't hurt my Big 12 street cred. Matthew Tucker and Le'Veon Bell will be fun to watch against two really good defensive lines.

5. New Era Pinstripe Bowl: West Virginia vs. Syracuse. I'm a sucker for storylines, I admit it. WVU's players from Florida can't be real fired up about this destination, but the Big East rematch and Geno Smith getting a shot to avenge that awful loss from last year has me oddly excited for this ballgame.

6. Valero Alamo Bowl: Texas vs. Oregon State. The Longhorns seem likely to be an underdog in this game, a matchup of an underachieving squad from the Big 12 and an overachieving bunch from out west in Corvallis.

7. Heart of Dallas Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Purdue. Mismatch. Oklahoma State is better than this. The Pokes were knocking on the door of the BCS a couple weeks ago, and didn't play like their usual selves against Baylor. It cost them in the bowl pecking order. Purdue was 0-5 in the Big Ten and 3-5 overall, but rallied for three wins against Big Ten teams with a combined four conference wins this year to qualify for a bowl. The Boilermakers are in hot water.

8. AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Iowa State vs. Tulsa. You may not know this about me, but I absolutely hate rematches in bowl games, unless the first one was an absolute classic. I assure you, having seen it from start to finish, Iowa State's 38-23 win over Tulsa was no classic. The Golden Hurricane are bringing a C-USA title trophy to this game, though.

9. Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas: Texas Tech vs. Minnesota. This has got mismatch written all over it, and Minnesota football isn't real pretty to watch. The Golden Gophers went 2-6 in the Big Ten this year. Minnesota ranks fourth in the Big Ten in pass defense, but Ryan Nassib is the best quarterback they've seen this year. Seth Doege is better.

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