The regular season of college football has come and gone. Seems like only yesterday we had hopes of the Oklahoma Sooners making a run for the Big 12 title. These last few months have flown in a flash.
But bowl projections are gaining more clarity with the regular season and only the conference championship games to come. After this weekend, we’ll know who the playoff participants are, but most bowl-eligible teams are pretty well locked into their games.
There could be some changes still, but here’s where USA TODAY Sports’ Erick Smith sees the Big 12 headed in his latest bowl projections.
First Responders Bowl: Kansas vs. BYU
Nov 26, 2022; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks quarterback Jalon Daniels (6) runs away from Kansas State Wildcats safety Drake Cheatum (21) during the fourth quarter at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports
A disappointing season for the BYU Cougars and a disappointing finish for the Kansas Jayhawks. But both are bowl bound, and for the Jayhawks it’s the first time in 15 years. So, while they went 1-5 in their final six, progress is still being made in Lawrence.
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Guaranteed Rate Bowl: Baylor vs. Wisconsin
NORMAN, OK – NOVEMBER 5: Running back Craig Williams #0 of the Baylor Bears finds an opening for a 43-yard run on third and three against the Oklahoma Sooners but stops short of a touchdown to run out the clock in the fourth quarter on at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on November 5, 2022 in Norman, Oklahoma. Baylor won 38-35. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
A disappointing season for both schools. Baylor was a preseason favorite in the Big 12 and Wisconsin had been a perennial contender in the Big Ten. The Badgers brought in Luke Fickell with the hopes of restoring them to prominence.
Liberty Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Arkansas
Oklahoma State Cowboys running back Ollie Gordon (0) runs past West Virginia Mountaineers safety Hershey McLaurin (13) and defensive lineman Taurus Simmons (45) during a college football game between Oklahoma State and West Virginia at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. West Virginia won 24-19. Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
If it isn’t Oklahoma vs. Arkansas, Oklahoma State vs. the Razorbacks would be an intriguing matchup. They’ve played 46 times, including in 19-straight years from 1962 until their last matchup in 1980.
Texas Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Missouri
LUBBOCK, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 26: Marvin Mims Jr. #17 of the Oklahoma Sooners runs for a touchdown after catching a pass during the first quarter against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Jones AT&T Stadium on November 26, 2022 in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Getty Images)
An old Big 8 and Big 12 rivalry renewed before Oklahoma makes it’s way to the SEC? Yes, please?
Cheez-It Bowl: Texas vs. Florida State
Nov 25, 2022; Austin, Texas, USA; Texas Longhorns running back Bijan Robinson (5) escapes a tackle from Baylor Bears defensive back Devin Lemear (20) during the second half at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Both Texas and Florida State have struggled for much of the last decade. A bit of a resurgence for both schools provides a nice backdrop for the Cheez-It Bowl.
Alamo Bowl: Texas Tech vs. UCLA
Texas Tech’s place kicker Trey Wolff (36) kicks a field goal against Oklahoma, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022, Jones AT&T Stadium.
Texas Tech’s three-game winning streak to end the season puts them in a great spot to make the Alamo Bowl. A matchup vs. Chip Kelly and UCLA would provide a lot of scoring.
Sugar Bowl: Kansas State vs. Alabama
Nov 26, 2022; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Kansas State Wildcats tight end Sammy Wheeler (19) celebrates with running back Deuce Vaughn (22) and tight end Ben Sinnott (34) after scoring a touchdown against the Kansas Jayhawks in the first quarter at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas State is playing great football right now. They’re certainly a threat to TCU’s undefeated season. If they aren’t able to win the conference championship, a date with Alabama could be on the docket.
Fiesta Bowl - College Football Playoff: TCU vs. Michigan
Nov 26, 2022; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; A TCU helmet raised in the air during second half against the Iowa State Cyclones at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports
TCU vs. Michigan looks like the matchup that will happen if the two sides win their respective conference championships. This will be a fun, physical matchup.
Peach Bowl - College Football Playoff: Georgia vs. USC
Nov 26, 2022; Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Kendall Milton (2) gets lifted by offensive lineman Tate Ratledge (69) after running for a touchdown against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Lincoln Riley making the College Football Playoff in his first season as the head coach of USC and facing Georgia sounds an awful lot like his first season as a head coach at Oklahoma.