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Thursday, November 19, 2009
Updated: November 20, 4:25 PM ET
Picture cloudy, but it'll clear up soon

By Richard Durrett
ESPNDallas.com

It's late November, and that means there's more on the minds of college football fans than turkey and dressing. The postseason is around the corner, and bowl representatives are at various games evaluating which teams to choose.

For a handful of Big 12 South teams and local squads, there's plenty at stake in the last few games of the regular season. It's still a confusing mess, but we'll try to predict the future and discuss some of the options anyway.

Big 12 South

Texas: For the Longhorns, things are pretty simple. Wins against Kansas, at Texas A&M and vs. the Big 12 North champion -- Nebraska or Kansas State -- at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington would propel the Longhorns into the BCS Championship game. They would likely face the SEC champion (Alabama or Florida).

Oklahoma State: After beating Colorado, the Cowboys still have dreams of a BCS bowl. To have any shot, they need to win at Oklahoma next Saturday to improve to 10-2, making them attractive to the Fiesta Bowl. However, if Boise State were to join TCU in crashing the BCS, that could leave OSU outside of the BCS party. Should Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State, the Cowboys could end up in the Cotton Bowl. Either way, OSU seems poised for a good bowl invitation.

SMU
With another win, SMU could find itself hosting the Conference USA championship game and then possibly going to the Liberty Bowl or the Hawaii Bowl.

Oklahoma: It's tough to predict where Bob Stoops' crew could end up. If OU wins at Texas Tech and then defeats OSU at home, the Sooners would finish 8-4. Would the Cotton Bowl then take the Sooners over Oklahoma State? I doubt it because OSU would likely be ranked higher. But Oklahoma could be very attractive to the Holiday or Alamo bowls. My bet would be Alamo, but we'll see.

Texas Tech: If the Red Raiders win out, which would include a win against Oklahoma, they'd be 8-4 as well. That would make the Alamo Bowl think hard about taking the Raiders, I would imagine. Since Texas Tech played in the Cotton Bowl last year -- and since Ole Miss could return as the SEC representative -- the Cotton Bowl won't want a rematch. So, in that scenario, I can't see Texas Tech going. The Holiday Bowl will likely look long and hard at Nebraska, making Tech's destination the Insight or Alamo bowls even if they are a seven-win team.

Texas A&M: The Aggies need a win over Baylor to reach six wins and become bowl eligible heading into their final game vs. Texas. All 7-5 teams must have postseason spots before 6-6 teams from the Big 12 can be picked. You would think the Houston or Independence Bowls would love to have A&M, but they may not be able to take them -- Iowa State and Missouri both have six wins already. Kansas State also has six wins, but needs another to become eligible because of two games vs. Football Championship Subdivision schools -- only one counts. That means the Wildcats must beat Nebraska to go to a bowl. If Missouri and Iowa State get to seven wins, that makes it tougher on A&M to find a spot. Stay tuned.

Baylor: The Bears need to win the last two games of the season -- at Texas A&M and vs. Texas Tech (in Arlington) -- to become bowl eligible. Then, they'd need to hope that a bowl could take them at 6-6. Give Baylor credit for even having a chance after losing QB Robert Griffin early in the season. If they get to six wins, they could be in the mix for the same bowls that would have an interest in Texas A&M should the Aggies get to six wins.

Other local teams

TCU: The Frogs must win their last two games -- at Wyoming and vs. winless New Mexico - to go undefeated and possibly earn a trip to a BCS bowl. Click here to see all of TCU's scenarios for various BCS bowls. The bottom line for the Frogs is they would play in the Fiesta, Orange or Sugar. It seems the Fiesta and Orange are more likely than the Sugar based on the order of selection.

SMU: It's amazing how things have changed in the matter of one Saturday. Houston's unexpected loss to Central Florida means SMU is not only in position to play in its first bowl since 1984, but controls its own destiny in Conference USA. If the Mustangs beat Marshall on the road Saturday and Tulane at home the following week, they would host the C-USA championship game. Yes, host it. If SMU wins the conference title, they would probably head to the Liberty Bowl.

Coach June Jones has made no secret of his desire to play in the Hawaii Bowl, but I'm not sure if SMU will be able to do that if they win the conference. You never know. But if they don't win out, Hawaii seems the destination. One thing to keep in mind: If SMU can win one of the last two, they'll get to seven wins, which could assure them of a bowl. They can still go with six wins, but all the 7-5 teams in the conference must be placed in bowls first.

Random local bowl thoughts

AT&T Cotton Bowl (Jan. 2, 2 p.m., Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Fox): The dream matchup for the game, played now at Cowboys Stadium, would be LSU vs. Oklahoma State. The only way for that to happen is if the Capital One Bowl were to take Ole Miss instead of LSU should the Rebels win out, which would include a victory over LSU. It would also mean that OSU was not selected to go to a BCS bowl.

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (Dec. 31, 11 a.m., Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, ESPN): The bowl pits Mountain West vs. Conference USA and has an agreement with the New Mexico Bowl -- both owned by ESPN -- to secure a regional team if possible. That could be difficult. The MWC has five bowl tie-ins, but if TCU goes to a BCS bowl, they'd need six teams. Right now, only four are bowl-eligible. Wyoming needs one win and San Diego State would have to win its last two games -- including vs. Utah -- to qualify.

If TCU goes to the BCS, Utah and BYU would go to Las Vegas or San Diego, leaving the New Mexico and Armed Forces bowls to fight over Air Force, which has been to Fort Worth the last two years. If Air Force goes to New Mexico, the Armed Forces Bowl could invite an at-large team. Assuming SMU goes to Hawaii, the Conference USA opponent could be Houston, Southern Miss or Tulsa. We'll see.

Richard Durrett covers colleges for ESPNDallas.com. E-mail richard.durrett@espn3.com.