Baylor's bowl game destination still unknownNov. 19, 2010
By Tyler Alley
With the college football regular season winding down to its final games, bowl projections are becoming a little clearer. Results are still subject to change with some teams playing longer seasons than others, including some conferences holding championships, but there is less room for error for the analysts and experts.
So where does Baylor appear to be going?
Most experts in media assume Baylor will fall to Oklahoma and finish with a record of 7-5. Assuming the teams that are supposed win do, in fact, win, Baylor would finish behind six teams in the Big 12: Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Kansas State.
Kansas State finishes with games against a weak Colorado and a non-conference game against North Texas, two very winnable games. The team Baylor beat to become bowl-eligible may in fact finish with a better record than the Bears. Texas Tech also has a chance to finish with the same record as Baylor, as the Red Raiders play Weber State and University of Houston.
The Big XII Blog on ESPN.com currently has Baylor projected to play in the Texas Bowl, on Dec. 29 in Houston's Reliant Stadium, against an unnamed Big Ten opponent. CBSSports.com goes a little further with its projections, putting Baylor in the Texas Bowl against Northwestern. Rivals.com also has Baylor projected to play against Northwestern, but instead it projects Baylor to be in the TicketCity Bowl. The TicketCity Bowl is a new bowl this year that is played at Dallas' Cotton Bowl Stadium, since the actual Cotton Bowl game was moved the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington this year.
The selection process for bowls is fairly simple, but it also has a number of factors that play a role in the process.
Every bowl has two conferences from which it may pick its two teams, one from each. The more prestigious bowls get first pick on which team they want from that particular conference.
For instance, since it is highly unlikely that a Big 12 team will compete for the national championship, the winner of the Big 12 championship game will play in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, which is the bowl the Big 12 has a contract with. The AT&T Cotton Bowl gets the next pick out of the Big 12.
The remaining bowls will choose a Big 12 team in the following order: the Valero Alamo Bowl, the Insight Bowl, the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl, the Texas Bowl, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl and the TicketCity Bowl.
The bowls, however, do not necessarily have to invite the next school with the best record, and invited schools do not have to accept the bowl's invitation. This is why bowl projections are never 100 percent accurate, even after all the games have been played.
Other factors may come into account. It is possible the Texas Bowl will choose Baylor over Kansas State because Houston is only a three-hour drive for Baylor fans, so it will boost ticket sales.
While there are changes made every year to the bowl system, history can be taken into account. Last season, Oklahoma finished 7-5 and played Stanford in the Sun Bowl.
Unfortunately, the Sun Bowl no longer chooses from the Big 12, so this is not a possibility this year for the Bears. Missouri, however, finished 8-4 last season and played Navy in the Texas Bowl.
At the moment, the Texas Bowl seems to be the most logical choice Baylor's first bowl this century. Keep in mind, though, that an upset victory over Oklahoma this weekend could change things entirely.