- Oklahoma Sooners (7-1, 4-1)— The Sooners have rebounded nicely following the loss to Texas in the Red River Shootout. They control their own destiny and should be favored in all of their remaining games.
- West Virginia University Mountaineers (6-1, 4-1)—After looking less-than-impressive for three consecutive weeks, culminating in the Disaster In Ames, WVU righted the ship against a decent Baylor team. Like Oklahoma, WVU controls its own destiny for now.
- Texas Longhorns (6-2, 4-1)—Even in their victory against Oklahoma, the Longhorns have consistently played with fire — having needed fourth down stops very late in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter to seal wins against Oklahoma, Kansas State and Baylor. That finally caught up to them against the Cowboys.
- Iowa State Cyclones (4-3, 3-2) — The Cyclones need help to get in in the Big XII championship game, but is there any team in the nation you’d want to see less right now?
- Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-3, 3-2)—It’s pretty clear that this is a much better team than the one who got blown out of their season opener against Ole Miss; and though their own title dreams are more or less dashed, they still have a lot to say in how the Big XII title shakes out with home games with both Oklahoma and Texas remaining on their schedule.
- Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-3, 2-3)—The win versus Texas is huge for the Cowboys as they look to finish strong after an October to Forget. Like Texas Tech, they are essentially eliminated from championship consideration, but have opportunities to damage both WVU and Oklahoma.
- Baylor Bears (4-4, 2-3)—The Bears would like to pretend last week didn’t happen (something they’re rather good at.) And they’ll need to if they want to get to bowl eligibility. The good news is they’ve already faced the top 3 of the conference.
- Kansas State Wildcats (3-5, 1-4)—The Wildcats can still make a bowl game, but will need to win 3 of their last four. Good news? Two of their three games come against Kansas and TCU. That said, this is one of the worst Bill Snyder teams I’ve ever seen and it’s going to be a really ugly ending.
- Kansas Jayhawks (3-5, 1-4)— If I told you at the beginning of the season Kansas and TCU would have the same record well I think I would have actually told you to commit me. 2018 y’all.
- TCU Horned Frogs (3-5, 1-4)—Imagine losing to Kansas in football.
Last week we expanded Bowl Watch and we’ll continue with that here.
College Football Playoff
The first round of rankings are out. Ignore them. No, really. They’re garbage and unlikely to show what the committee actually thinks.
My educated guess is that nothing has really changed since last week among the Top 4. Alabama will have it’s biggest test to date Saturday in Death Valley-Baton Rouge, and the winner is all but guaranteed a spot in the playoff. That winner will be Alabama. After that Clemson should easily win out, with the only remaining road block being a trip to Boston next week. Notre Dame is all but a mortal lock.
As for the 4th spot? Well it’s still a bit fungible, but my guess is Ohio State wins out and the committee does as they’re wont to do. Sorry possible Big XII champions and UCF.
- Orange Bowl: #1 Alabama vs #4 Ohio State
- Cotton Bowl: #2 Notre Dame #3 Clemson
New Year’s Six
As noted previously, the Rose and Sugar are “contract” bowls, and I have Washington State facing Michigan in the former and LSU and Oklahoma in the latter.
with three of the four remaining at-large spots being a shot in the dark.
UCF still seems like a good bet to grab the Group of 6 spot, and I am still fairly certain they’re headed to the Fiesta bowl. Previously I though they might draw a Big Ten team, but I am now thinking this could be a landing spot for a 10-2 Florida team because the Peach Bowl won’t want an SEC rematch. (You could slot in Kentucky here if you want, but let’s be real.)
The Peach Bowl seems likely to take LSU or Georgia and I think a 10-2 WVU be a solid choice to face off against either.
- Rose Bowl (PAC-12 vs Big Ten): Washington State vs Michigan
- Fiesta Bowl (at-large vs at-large): Florida vs UCF
- Sugar Bowl (Big XII vs SEC): Oklahoma vs LSU
- Peach Bowl (at-large vs at-large): WVU vs Georgia
Big XII Contract Bowls
Big XII bowls aren’t bound by finish order. Texas seems likely to get the Alamo Bowl if they’re not in an NY6, and in today’s Pick A Pac-12 Team, we have Utah. No change from last week for either Iowa State vs Boston College in Orlando or Texas Texas Tech vs A&M in the Texas Bowl. New to the Liberty Bowl is Oklahoma State who has moved into face Klanga.
TCU’s loss to Kansas really puts the conference in jeopardy of not filling it’s bowl obligations, especially if it gets two teams in NY6 games. I am going to guess though that they do, but just barely.
- Valero Alamo Bowl (Big XII vs Pac 12): Texas vs Utah
- Camping World Bowl (Big XII vs ACC): Iowa State vs Boston College
- Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl (Big XII vs SEC): Texas Tech vs Texas A&M
- Autozone Liberty Bowl (Big XII vs SEC): Oklahoma State vs Klanga
- Cactus Bowl (Big XII vs Pac 12): Kansas State vs Colorado
- Lockheed Martin Armed Forces (Big XII vs AAC): Baylor vs Houston