Bowl season is what can either make or break a conference, let alone the teams within it. There’s a certain number of guaranteed spots per conference, with some Power Five groups getting more representation. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from the BIG 12 were selected to play across the country. As it turns out, only one of them won.
Texas beats Utah 38-10
The Longhorns not only beat Utah, but they also managed to find a way to throttle them. Looking over some of the stats, you wouldn’t have guessed that Utah was ranked 11th with just two prior losses. There’s a possible narrative that the Utes weren’t going to try their best, having just barely missed out on the Playoff. While that could be true, I doubt it.
Keep in mind how bad things were going for the Longhorns. The season started out high, barely losing to LSU in a top-10 ranked battle. They dropped out of the rankings twice throughout the season, losing to two unranked teams, and barely fending off Kansas. Several coordinators were fired at the end of the season and the sky was falling around Tom Herman. Getting a statement win over a top-15 team to end the 2019 season may have been just what Herman and the Longhorns needed going forward. Unfortunately for the big 12, this was they’re only victory.
LSU wreaks Oklahoma 63-28
They are who we thought they were. I’m talking about how questionable the Sooners defense is and how lethal the Tigers offense is. The BIG 12 catches a lot of flak for lack for the lack of defense as evidenced by numerous high-scoring affairs. Supposedly, Oklahoma fixed up their defense enough to have a chance at making it to the College Football Playoff. Unfortunately, they drew a matchup with the highest-scoring team in the Playoff, and they made the Sooners look silly.
Not only does LSU possess a ridiculous offense, but they managed to shut down a prolific Oklahoma offense as well. Jalen Hurts led the Heisman race for some time this season and was in it till Joe Burrow took it home. Burrow proved himself worthy by eliminating the Sooners with video game numbers. BIG 12 fans cheered when they saw Oklahoma made it into the Playoffs once again. However, the onslaught that followed might have done enough harm to keep the conference from making it back soon.
Notre Dame shuts down Iowa State 33-9
It’s a little hard to believe the Cyclones were the only team from the conference who didn’t find the end zone. Iowa State had some of the best averages on offense throughout the regular season, but nothing clicked. Their future-NFL tight end Charlie Kolar only got a limited number of looks, catching two passes. Brock Purdy never got a rhythm going while some of his decision making just looked unusual. Even when Iowa State did something right, they found a way to take a step back with some form of turnover.
It may have been a stretch to match up unranked Iowa State versus 15th ranked Notre Dame, but Vegas seemed to think it’d be close. Iowa State is one of the few teams within the conference who have yet to find constant success, especially during bowl season. They had a golden opportunity slip through their fingers once again.
Texas A&M edges out Oklahoma State 24-21
Another example of an unranked upset, the Cowboys had a shot at adding another bowl win to Mike Gundy’s list. OSU took a big lead early and looked to be in control before A&M started piecing things together. Missed opportunities ended up plaguing the Cowboys with two missed field goals and failing to convert on two turnovers. Kellen Mond and Co. turned the tables in the second half, putting the Cowboys in a hole. A late score wasn’t enough for OSU and they wound up losing by the difference of a field goal.
Chuba Hubbard continued to be an absolute nightmare, even for the massive A&M defensive line. He ended up with 158 yards on 19 carries to push his season total to 2,094 yards as the leading back in the FBS. Oklahoma State’s defense was unable to stop Mond all four quarters, but they have turned things around. Hubbard has a decision to make if he returns for his junior year or goes pro at this point. The good news for the Cowboys? Tylan Wallace, who tore his ACL two months ago, will return for his final year next season.
Georgia outplays Baylor in Sugar Bowl 26-14
For all the talk surrounding the Bulldogs leading up to the Sugar Bowl, it seemed like Baylor should have a legitimate chance at winning. Several players on both sides of the ball were either injured, suspended, or withheld from the bowl game for the Bulldogs. No matter, the guys next in line stepped up their game to fill those voids. Perhaps the most confusing thing about this game was how Georgia had one reliable receiver, and yet, Baylor couldn’t stop him. This begs to ask, is George Pickens (freshman) really that good, or did Baylor just execute their defense poorly?
Down by 19 at one point, the Bears made it more of a game in the second half. They solved the puzzle of how to shut down Pickens, which put a major kink in the Bulldog’s game plan. Meanwhile, the offense chipped away and got within 12, but no closer. Denzel Mims made his own impact for the Bears and finished with 75 yards and one score off five catches. The bad news? Charlie Brewer left the game with what looked to be yet another concussion. He’s only a junior, but with the number of head injuries he’s already sustained in his career, it should be interesting if he plays again.
Regardless, this certainly seemed like a missed opportunity for the Bears who’ve managed to turn around their program under Matt Rhule. With Rhule possibly heading to the NFL next year, the future of the Bears is uncertain.
Navy grounds Kansas State 20-17
It didn’t come as much of a surprise that Navy stuck to their run game, as they do 99 percent of the time. The bigger surprise was how K-State failed to shut down that potent run game. The Wildcats possess one of the best run-stopping defenses in the conference and have the tendency to bring exotic looks. An example of such is when the Wildcats pulled off the massive upset over Oklahoma in the Little Apple, mainly with their defense.
Even with all the yards gained by Navy’s Malcolm Perry, it came down to a late field goal to beat K-State. Perry finished with 213 yards rushing on 28 carries and threw for one touchdown. His stellar career comes to an end by setting the record for most rushing yards in one season by a QB in the FBS (2,017 yards).
The silver lining for them is Chris Klieman, seems to find success wherever he goes.
Big 12 Trouble
It wasn’t just that Big 12 teams went 1-5 in bowl games, it was how they did it. Texas won, but they’ve been a train wreck most of the year, Oklahoma made it to the playoffs but got molly whopped, Iowa State’s offense was NO WHERE to be found, Baylor’s future is uncertain, and Kansas State let Navy run all over them. These loses, particularly Oklahoma’s, will undoubtedly hurt the Big 12’s playoff chances next season. It sure looks like the Big 12 is in trouble as we head into 2020.