Big 12 predictions: Bowls

BY foxsports • December 17, 2014

Oklahoma State, what hath thou wrought? I seriously considered the Cowboys to spring the Bedlam upset, but chickened out because of OSU's struggles in Norman. Alas, it cost me a fourth consecutive perfect week. 

It's time for the home stretch. Bowl games are the toughest picks of the year, and with all seven Big 12 games expected to be close, they'll be especially difficult this year. 

I'll be hanging out with Baylor all week at the Cotton Bowl here in Dallas, so keep an eye out for coverage there. You can find me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. 

Let's get to the picks! 

Last week: 2-1

Overall: 67-8

Liberty Bowl: Texas A&M 31, West Virginia 27: Quarterback Clint Trickett is in limbo after suffering a concussion against Kansas State, and with almost two weeks before this game kicks off in Memphis, I'll flip the score of this pick if he ends up playing. Skyler Howard's shown some potential with five scores and no picks in his last two games in Trickett's absence. With a month to study him, though, I suspect Texas A&M's defense will make enough plays to get the win, even though the Aggies are 13th in the SEC in yards per play, ahead of only South Carolina. Additionally, A&M is still without a defensive coordinator after firing Mark Snyder. Defensive end Myles Garrett has been one of the best freshmen in college football and broke Jadeveon Clowney's freshman SEC sack record. 

Russell Athletic Bowl: Oklahoma 24, Clemson 20: Deshaun Watson is out and Trevor Knight is in. Advantage, Sooners. Knight's been streaky this year, but he's Oklahoma's best (eligible) passer and I'll be shocked if Samaje Perine isn't back on the field in Orlando. Brent Venables going up against his former team will provide an intriguing level of familiarity that's rare in bowl games, but the Sooners get the best of their former defensive coordinator. 

Advocare V100 Texas Bowl: Arkansas 27, Texas 21: Just like the Liberty Bowl, the Texas Bowl will match up a Big 12 and SEC team with styles that mirror one another. The Hogs made gigantic strides late in the season, but I suspect some of Texas' strides were aided by a lighter schedule the second half of the season. Arkansas' offensive line wins this game. 

Cactus Bowl: Oklahoma State 34, Washington 30: I am a Mason Rudolph believer. He's had some rough moments in his two starts against Baylor and Oklahoma, but he's made more plays than mistakes and with a month to prepare as the starter, I'm fascinated to see how much improvement he's made. Both Oklahoma and Baylor have better offenses than Washington, too. Even without the dismissed Tyreek Hill, Rudolph makes plays downfield to give the Cowboys the upset. 

Alamo Bowl: Kansas State 37, UCLA 24: I don't recall who tweeted it, but it's perhaps the best way I've ever heard this UCLA team described: They're the best bad team in America and the worst good team in America. The Bruins scored 62 in a win over Arizona State and logged wins over Arizona and USC, but needed two overtimes to beat a 2-10 Colorado team and are coming off a 21-point loss to an average Stanford team. K-State's consistency (and three weeks for Bill Snyder to prepare) mean a Wildcat win. KSU hasn't had a great win this year, but they it hasn't had a bad loss, either. 

Chick-fil-A Bowl: TCU 31, Ole Miss 23: Mike Gundy says TCU is the best team in the nation and voted the Horned Frogs No. 1. I'm not sure about that, but I am sure TCU deserved a spot in the playoff. Ole Miss will be one of the best defenses TCU has faced, but the Rebels' offense is limping without Laquon Treadwell. The Frogs force three turnovers from Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace and get a big win in Atlanta. Trevone Boykin has a big day and cements himself as a Heisman frontrunner to begin 2015. 

Cotton Bowl: Baylor 47, Michigan State 31: We saw how Michigan State has handled the two best offenses it's faced this year: The Spartans gave up 49 to Ohio State and 46 to Oregon. Expect the Bears to duplicate that kind of effort. Baylor should have decent luck slowing the Michigan State run game with Andrew Billings and Byron Bonds up the middle, but look for MSU to struggle mightily with Baylor's depth and speed at receiver. 


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