Solid matchups for the Big 12 bowlers

by Dan M | Posted on Friday, December 19th, 2014

Big12_Conference_4.OneColor-A_Stacked

By Dave Smith
jigsm@hotmail.com

The Big 12 has seven teams playing in this years College football bowl line up with two teams getting screwed out of a chance to play for the so called “national championship.”  In my humble opinion both Baylor and TCU are final four teams and could very well beat any of the teams currently in the line up.  Oh well,. we will never know will we….maybe next year they will get it right.
So….here is a brief look at the seven games featuring Big 12 teams and my prediction for each.  Merry Christmas!

Liberty Bowl  (Memphis, Tenn.)
Texas A&M vs. West Virginia (7-5)
December 29, 2014  2:00pm  ESPN
Line:  Mountaineers  -3 / 67
A&M flamed out after a big start, largely because it’s 111th in rushing yards allowed (224). WVU beat Baylor but fumbled the ball away 16 times more than opponents.
PICK:  WVU  35  A&M  21

Russell Athletic (Orlando, FL)
Oklahoma (8-4) vs. Clemson (9-3)
December 29, 2014  5:30pm  ESPN
Line:  Sooners  -3.5 / 62.5
Undistinguished Tiger QB Cole Stoudt takes over for injured Deshaun Watson. Sooners hope to have frosh wunderkind runner Samaje Perine back from a sprained ankle.
Clemson and Oklahoma may be disappointed to be playing this game. Both teams were expecting more from this season, but there will still be a lot of action in this battle of talented opponents.
For Oklahoma, a lot of the success will depend on the health of the backfield. Starting quarterback Trevor Knight, who missed the last three games of the season, should be healthy for the bowl game. Bob Przybylo of Scout.com notes the team has seen a difference lately:
Running back Samaje Perine, who rushed for an NCAA-record 427 yards against Kansas, is also questionable after spraining his ankle in the final game of the year against Oklahoma State.  If these two players are healthy, the Sooners can do a lot of damage.
Of course, Clemson comes back strong with a defense that ranked seventh in the nation with just 17.6 points allowed per game. Star players like All-American Vic Beasley have the ability to affect the game on their own.
The problem is the Tigers are dealing with their own injuries at quarterback, as noted by ESPN:
“Cole Stoudt will play better with some extra practice time, but Clemson will struggle offensively as Oklahoma earns the victory for the Big 12.
PICK:  OU  32  Clemson 24

Texas Bowl (Houston, Texas)
Arkansas (6-6) vs. Texas (6-6)
December 29, 2014  8:00pm  ESPN
Line:  Razorbacks  -6.5 / 45.5
Even if they are .500, what’s not to like about matching two hoary old Southwest Conference foes who have met 77 times? The game needs one of Richard Nixon’s descendants to visit the winning locker room, like the prez did in 1969.
PICK:  Razorbacks 27  Horns 10

Peach Bowl  (Atlanta, Georgia)
Mississippi (9-3) vs. TCU (11-1)
Dewcember 31, 2014  12:00pm  ESPN
Line:  Frogs  -3.5 / 57
The playoff committee has co-opted New Year’s Eve with quality games like this, matching Ole Miss’ 23-12 bowl record against TCU’s 13-5-1. A chance for the Frogs, against the Rebels’ top-ranked scoring defense (13.8), to suggest to the committee it blew it.
PICK:  TCU 30  Ole Miss 28

Cotton Bowl (Arlington, Texas)
Michigan State (10-2) vs. Baylor (11-1)
January 1, 2015  11:30pm  ESPN
Line:  Bears  -3 / 72
Strange but true: The Spartans are underdogs in a bowl for the 12th consecutive time (they re 5-6 straight-up in that span). Can their No.7-ranked defense (293.5) and No.1 turnover margin (plus-20) put the brakes on a top-rated Baylor offense that puts up 581 yards a game?
PICK:  Baylor 38  MSU  27

Alamo Bowl (San Antonio, Texas)                                                                                                                                                      Kansas State (9-3) vs. UCLA (9-3)
January 2, 2015  5:45pm  ESPN
Line:   UCLA  -1.5 / 59
Brett Hundley’s college swan song is a matchup of Bill Snyder’s uncannily efficient team against a Bruin squad that’s more talented, but also tends to be mercurial.  The storyline of this game will be the battle between two talented quarterbacks making a final start at the collegiate level.
UCLA star Brett Hundley is preparing to enter the 2015 NFL draft, but he still has a lot to prove, as noted by Bryan Fischer of NFL.com:
He might be among the most divisive players scouts will look at over the coming months—some scouts see star potential, others see a potential bust. His last performance was a clunker against a good Stanford defense, costing his team a trip to the Pac-12 title game, so pressure is on to prove he’s making the right decision to come out with a good game against a solid Kansas State team.
On the other side of the ball will be Kansas State senior Jake Waters, who is unlikely to have much of a pro career but can still make a major impact in this one. With the ability to make plays with his arm and his legs, he finished 12th in the nation with a Total QBR of 77.7, just ahead of Hundley.
He is also helped out by the play of senior receiver Tyler Lockett, who has amassed 44 catches for 669 receiving yards and four touchdowns in the last four games. That’s a good season for a lot of people.
While UCLA has its own playmakers like Paul Perkins, Kansas State has a much more consistent defense and should be able to slow down the Bruins throughout the game.
Hundley will be the one auditioning for scouts, but Waters will end his career on a high note with a win in the Alamo Bowl.
PICK:  K State 27  UCLA  21

Cactus Bowl  (Tempe, Arizona)
Washington (8-5) vs. Oklahoma St (6-6)
January 2, 2015  9:15pm  ESPN
Line:  Huskies  -5.5 / 59.5
Oddly, Washington opponents have 36 more first downs than the Huskies. Odder still, the OSU QB is Mason Rudolph, who was named after the successful PGA golfer of the 1970s but isn’t related.
PICK:  Wash  28  OSU  14

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