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Texas Bowl Options

I got an email wondering about the bowl scenarios as we head into Championship Saturday.

Texas in the Cotton Bowl? Do you really see this happening? Just want your thoughts. I know a lot depends on Saturday down in San Antonio.

--Jason D.--

This was more complicated before last weekend, but now it's far more straightforward. Sort of. Okay, just barely.

Texas to a BCS Bowl  Not Applicable. The Longhorns would be in the mix had they beat A&M. As is, there is no scenario in which Texas is selected for a BCS Bowl.

Texas to Cotton, Holiday, or Gator Bowl  Think of it this way: there are four Big 12 teams (Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, and Texas) competing for five bowl spots. Texas is only in the mix for the non-BCS Bowls. OU is highly unlikely to receive a BCS invitation if they lose to Missouri. So we can break it down by the outcome on Saturday:

If Missouri beats Oklahoma
(1) Missouri goes to BCS Title Game
(2) Fiesta Bowl gets to choose replacement for losing Big 12 champ to title game
        A. Fiesta Bowl selects Kansas to replace Missouri
                i. This places two Big 12 teams in the BCS, which means the Gator Bowl chooses after the Cotton and Holiday Bowl. Cotton Bowl would choose either Texas or OU. It's anyone's guess who they prefer.
        B. Fiesta Bowl selects team besides Kansas to replace Missouri
                i. If Kansas is still chosen as an at-large BCS team by another bowl (or the Fiesta Bowl's second at-large spot), same outcome as [2A] above.
                ii. If Kansas is not selected as a BCS at-large team, then the Big 12 would have one team in the BCS Bowls and the Gator Bowl would have its first choice among Kansas, OU, and Texas. Cotton Bowl and Holiday Bowl choose next. Hard to figure who the Gator Bowl would want, but I'd expect they'd take advantage of the opportunity to have Texas or OU play.

If Oklahoma beats Missouri
(1) Oklahoma goes to the Fiesta Bowl
(2) BCS Bowls decide whether to select 11-2 Missouri or 11-1 Kansas as at-large BCS team
        A. A BCS Bowl selects Missouri or Kansas as an at large team.
               i. Same as [2A] above.
        B. A BCS Bowl does not choose Missouri or Kansas as an at-large BCS team
               ii. Same as [2B] above.

Relevant Selection Facts for Bowls to Consider
*The last time Texas played in the Cotton Bowl was the 2002 season.
*The last time Oklahoma played in the Cotton Bowl was the 2001 season.
*Without Notre Dame bowl eligible, the Gator Bowl more or less has to take a Big 12 team this year.

Best Guesses at Bowls

If Missouri wins the Big 12 Title
National Title Game: Missouri vs West Virginia/Ohio State
Fiesta Bowl: Kansas vs At-Large
Cotton Bowl: Texas/OU vs SEC
Holiday Bowl: Texas/OU vs Pac 10
Gator Bowl: Texas Tech vs ACC Runner Up

If Oklahoma wins the Big 12 Title1
[Scenario 1]
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs At Large
Gator Bowl: Texas vs ACC Runner Up
Cotton Bowl: Missouri vs SEC
Holiday Bowl: Kansas vs Pac 10

[Scenario 2]
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs At Large
Rose Bowl: Georgia vs USC
Orange Bowl: ACC Champ vs Kansas/Missouri
Cotton Bowl: Texas/KU/MU vs SEC
Holiday Bowl: Texas/KU/MU vs Pac 10
Gator Bowl: Texas Tech vs ACC Runner Up

1 Oklahoma winning the Big 12 makes things very awkward for Missouri and Kansas getting an at-large BCS bid. The Rose Bowl would lose Ohio State, and have its first choice at a replacement. Do they take Kansas or Missouri? Eek, hard to say. Assuming they take Georgia or stretch for Illinois (to keep the Big 10 involved), that would leave Missouri and Kansas hoping for a spot as either the Fiesta Bowl's at large (Against OU? Awkward.) or the Orange Bowl's at-large. The Sugar Bowl is going to be stuck with Hawaii, unless the Rainbow Warriors lose to UW on Saturday. Also, this assumes West Virginia actually beats Pittsburgh. As AW said, if the Mountaineers lose, it's BCS chaos.

Update [2007-11-28 0:1:22 by HornsFan]: Thanks, Chip. One day after ruining my "Texas is Holiday Bowl bound no matter what" theory by suggesting Texas could be Cotton Bowl-bound, we get this column, which more or less says Texas is going to the Holiday Bowl. The big note in the story is that the Fiesta Bowl has a lot of incentives to invite 11-1 Kansas to Tempe if OU wins the Big 12 title. Makes sense. And, also making sense: the Cotton should take Oklahoma over Texas. So, perhaps some clarity, finally: Texas to San Diego.