<
>

Early Big 12 bowl predictions

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

I'd like to thank all of my readers for dropping me questions on this project. I'll be glad to try to answer anything -- within reason -- as this continues.

But Steve from Waco wanted to know about some early Big 12 predictions. I'm going to twist these around to have a little bit more interest, by linking those teams to the bowls they will be playing in.

Considering the season is still six weeks away, here's my best guess -- heavily underscoring and underlining guess, if you will.

I don't think the Big 12 will have a team playing in the BCS championship game. Just too much balance to expect one team to be able to run the table.

Fiesta Bowl -- Missouri (Big 12 champ) vs. South Florida (BCS at-large): Chase Daniel takes the Tigers to the desert after their first Big 12 championship game.

Orange Bowl -- Oklahoma (BCS at-large) vs. Clemson (ACC champ): Bob Stoops will be looking to turn around his recent BCS miseries against a more forgiving opponent.

Cotton Bowl -- Texas (Big 12 No. 2) vs. LSU (SEC): Longhorns make their second trip to Dallas this season.

Holiday Bowl -- Texas Tech (Big 12 No. 3) vs. Oregon (Pac-10 No. 2): Watch for offensive fireworks when Ducks and Red Raiders tangle.

Alamo Bowl -- Kansas (Big 12 No. 4) vs. Iowa (Big 10 No. 4): Mark Mangino will be looking to duplicate Alamo City magic that marked KU coaching counterpart Bill Self earlier this year.

Sun Bowl -- Nebraska (Big 12 No. 5) vs. California (Pac-10 No. 3): What will be spicier -- coach Bo Pelini's on-field demeanor or El Paso's Tex-Mex cuisine?

Insight Bowl -- Colorado (Big 12 No. 6) vs. Purdue (Big 10 No. 6): Buffaloes look to spoil Joe Tiller's final game.

Independence -- Oklahoma State (Big 12) vs. Mississippi State (SEC): Cowboys' defense will be tested by Mississippi State QB Wesley Carroll.

Texas -- Texas A&M (Big 12) vs. SMU (C-USA): Old Southwest Conference rivals hook up in SMU's first bowl trip since 1984.

And sorry, Steve. Your Bears won't make a bowl trip this season. And neither will Iowa State nor Kansas State.