The Big 12’s bowl picture came into sharper focus Saturday after three teams won their way to a bowl trips.
Only Colorado has been eliminated from bowl contention among Big 12 teams with two weeks left in the regular season.
Baylor, Kansas and Kansas State appear to be in the most precarious position.
Baylor must beat both Texas A&M and Texas Tech at Arlington, Texas, in its remaining games to end the conference’s longest bowl drought. That will be a huge challenge.
Kansas, which started the season 5-0 but has lost its last five games, must either win Saturday at Texas or beat Missouri in Kansas City on the following week to earn a bowl trip.
And Kansas State will be facing a title game-or-bust scenario Saturday at Nebraska. If the Wildcats can upset Nebraska, they would claim the Big 12 North title and a bowl trip in their regular-season finale. If they lose, they will not play in a bowl game.
Iowa State, Missouri and Oklahoma all earned bowl eligibility on Saturday. And Texas A&M can also earn bowl eligibility by either beating Baylor Saturday or upsetting Texas on Thanksgiving night. Both games will be played at Kyle Field in College Station.
After the games on Saturday and reading the future games, I’m now thinking that the Big 12 will have eight bowl-eligible teams available at the end of the season for its eight spots. And I’m not expecting any Big 12 to qualify as an at-large team -- marking the first season since 2006 that the Big 12 qualified only one team for the BCS.
That predicament will cost the league millions of dollars, but result in a true bowl selection for the conference for a change.
Here are my projections for the bowls heading into the week’s games.
Citi BCS National Championship Game, Jan. 7, 8 p.m. ET, FOX Sports, Pasadena, Calif. -- Texas vs. BCS team
AT&T Cotton Bowl, Jan. 2, 2 p.m., FOX Sports, Arlington, Texas -- Oklahoma State vs. SEC team
Pacific Life Holiday Bowl, Dec. 30, 8 p.m., ESPN, San Diego -- Nebraska vs. Pac-10 team
Valero Alamo Bowl, Jan. 2, 9 p.m., ESPN, San Antonio – Oklahoma vs. Big Ten team
Brut Sun Bowl, Dec. 31, noon, CBS, El Paso, Texas – Texas Tech vs. Pac-10 team
Insight Bowl, Dec. 31, 5:30 p.m., NFL Network, Tempe, Ariz. – Missouri vs. Big Ten team
Texas Bowl, Dec. 30, 8 p.m., NFL Network, Houston -- Texas A&M vs. Navy
Independence Bowl, Dec. 28, 5 p.m., ESPN, Shreveport, La. – Iowa State vs. SEC team
For a look at our complete bowl schedule, follow this link.
And for a look at how our bowl gurus Mark Schlabach and Bruce Feldman are projecting bowls this week, go to this link.