The Big 12’s bowl picture still is wide open with one week left in the regular season.
The biggest question remains whether Oklahoma State will soar into the Bowl Championship Series as an at-large team. Not only would it provide the conference with an infusion of about $4.5 million by having a second team, but it would also push the selection process up by one.
Such a scenario might result in a situation where the conference perhaps would be unable to fill all of its eight contracted slots with its bowl partners. But it’s not as if the conference would mind that much with the extra BCS money coming.
Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, three Big 12 teams have been eliminated from bowl consideration.
Kansas State’s "boom or bust" game against Nebraska resulted in a 17-3 loss, eliminating the Wildcats from bowl consideration despite their 6-6 record. The Wildcats were able to count only one of their two victories over FCS opponents Tennessee Tech and Massachusetts for bowl purposes, leaving them one victory short.
Baylor’s loss at Texas A&M eliminated the Bears from the bowl picture for the 15th consecutive season. The Bears haven’t played in a bowl since the 1994 Alamo Bowl.
They join Colorado, which was eliminated from bowl consideration last week.
The only team with its bowl prospects still to be determined is Kansas. The 5-6 Jayhawks must beat Missouri Saturday in Kansas City to qualify for an unprecedented third straight bowl trip. If the Jayhawks lose, they will remain at home for the holidays.
Texas appears to be a lock for the BCS title game -- if the Longhorns can beat Texas A&M on Thursday night in College Station and then Nebraska in the Dec. 5 Big 12 title game in Arlington, Texas.
If the Cornhuskers stun Texas in the title game, they would earn the conference’s automatic BCS berth to the Fiesta Bowl. Texas likely would qualify as an at-large team if they earlier beat Texas A&M heading into the championship game.
The Aggies qualified for their first bowl appearance since 2007 after beating Baylor on Saturday.
And there appears to be little doubt that all of the conference’s 6-6 teams with the exception of KSU will be accommodated in a bowl slot.
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
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 4, 7 p.m., FOX Sports, Glendale, Ariz. -- Oklahoma State vs. BCS team
AT&T Cotton Bowl, Jan. 2, 2 p.m., FOX Sports, Arlington, Texas -- Nebraska vs. SEC team
Pacific Life Holiday Bowl, Dec. 30, 8 p.m., ESPN, San Diego -- Texas Tech vs. Pac-10 team
Valero Alamo Bowl, Jan. 2, 9 p.m., ESPN, San Antonio -- Missouri vs. Big Ten team
Brut Sun Bowl, Dec. 31, noon, CBS, El Paso, Texas -- Oklahoma vs. Pac-10 team
Insight Bowl, Dec. 31, 5:30 p.m., NFL Network, Tempe, Ariz. -- Iowa State 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. -- No Big 12 team available.
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.