Six Big 12 teams are going bowling this holiday season, but only two of the six are going into their games as favorites. And it gets worse. Half of the six teams representing the conference this bowl season are double-digit underdogs.NCAA Football: Texas at Baylor
Baylor (11-1) and Ksnsas State (7-5) are the only two conference teams that the Las Vegas oddsmakers have pegged as favorites going into their bowl games, and KSU is only favored by a narrow three-points. It stands to reason that the nation’s highest-scoring team, Baylor, would be a solid favorite over No. 15 Central Florida, the champion of the new American Athletic Conference, in their BCS Fiesta Bowl matchup. And that’s the way the Vegas guys see it as well, tapping the Bears as 16-point favorites.
Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma, which is the Big 12’s other BCS bowl team, are all two-touchdown underdogs in their forthcoming bowl appearances. It’s very atypical for Texas and Oklahoma, two of college football’s elite brands, to go into a postseason bowl game an anything but the favorites. The fact that both are underdogs this year, and by such long odds, is truly a sign of changing times in the college game.
The Sooners have perhaps the most difficult draw in the entire postseason and certainly among the BCS matchups, although the point spread in the Baylor-Central Florida pairing is the most of any bowl game this season. Alabama is the two-time defending champion, and the Crimson Tide was potentially just one-second away from perhaps playing for a third straight national title. Many would still argue that Bama (11-1) is the best team in college football, regardless of what the records say.
The holiday bowl season kicks off this Saturday with four games scheduled, and runs through Jan. 6, the date for the BCS National Championship game between top-ranked Florida State and No. 2 Auburn. If Auburn prevails (currently the Tigers are an eight-and-a-half-point underdog), it would extend to eight the number of consecutive championships by a team from the SEC. And Auburn owns one of those national titles (2010, led by Heisman-winner Cam Newton).
Most of the Big 12 bowl teams are just starting serious preparations this week for their upcoming bowl games. In the coming weeks, we’ll go inside each bowl matchup involving a Big 12 team, examine each team’s strengths and weaknesses and provide a perspective on what to watch for in the game. And, of course, we’ll predict the outcome and the final score.
There are 35 bowl games in total, with the Big 12 appearing in six of them, including two BCS bowls (the Sugar Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl). The current Big 12 teams are 11-9 all-time in BCS bowl games and 2-4 in the national championship game.
Here are the present betting lines on the 2013-14 bowl games involving Big 12 teams (BCS rankings in parentheses):
Kansas State vs. Michigan – Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Dec. 28 (K-State +3 1/2)
Texas Tech vs. Arizona State (14) – Holiday Bowl, Dec. 30 (Arizona State +14)
Texas vs. Oregon (10) – Alamo Bowl, Dec. 30 (Oregon +14)
Oklahoma State (13) vs. Missouri (8) – Cotton Bowl, Jan. 3 (Missouri +1)
Baylor (6) vs. Central Florida (15) – BCS Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 1 (Baylor +16 1/2)
Oklahoma (11) vs. Alabama (3) – Sugar Bowl, Jan. 2 (Alabama +15)