Texas Tech is Bowl Eligible, But Where Will They Go?
The Big 12 has eight teams currently eligible for the postseason Bowl Extravaganza. That pecking order matters for bowl selections but it also doesn't matter. The Big 12 has automatic tie-ins, but they make exceptions all the time so the third-place team might go to the second-place bowl the second-place might opt for the lower tier to go to a destination and so on and so forth.
That being said, TCU making the playoff also matters for the seven other Bowl eligible teams because that moves everyone up a spot in the pecking order and opens a New Years' 6 bowl for Kansas State or whoever plays TCU in the Big 12 Championship.
I'm about to do a lot of projecting, so let's set a ground rule or two. First, let's just assume TCU finds a way into the CFP. Tennessee losing this weekend and Georgia rolling along makes that a fairly safe assumption. We'll go bowl by bowl for the rest of the scenarios, but that TCU in the playoff thing will be there if Texas Tech gets into any of the best Big 12 tie-in bowls.
What are the Big 12 automatic tie-in bowls? I'm glad you asked.
1. The Sugar Bowl vs SEC (New Orleans)
2. The Valero Alamo Bowl vs Pac-12 (San Antonio)
3. The Cheez-It Bowl vs ACC (Orlando)
4. The Mercari Texas Bowl vs SEC (Houston)
5. The AutoZone Liberty Bowl vs SEC (Memphis)
6. The Guaranteed Rate Bowl vs Big Ten (Phoenix)
The At-Large Opportunities:
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl vs American Athletic, C-USA, Pac-12 (Fort Worth)
SERVPRO First Responder Bowl vs ACC, American Athletic, or Pac-12 (Dallas)
If TCU does get into the CFP and Kansas State heads to the Sugar Bowl, That leaves Baylor, Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Kansas, and Oklahoma as the final six teams to fill out these opportunities.
I think the winner between Baylor and Texas has a shot at the Alamo Bowl. If Baylor loses, I think they will slide down the order due to a poor finish to the season and it being Baylor. Let's predict a Texas win and send them to the Alamo Bowl and lock Baylor into the Liberty Bowl.
Next up would be Oklahoma State, who also has a right to go to the Alamo Bowl, but I think they'll head to Orlando instead. With no certainty Spencer Sanders plays, I don't think Oklahoma State is an attractive option for Bowl Suitors and that matters. It probably shouldn't, but it does.
If Texas Tech beats Oklahoma, I think they'll head to Houston to play in the Texas Bowl, against an SEC team. For the second season in a row, the Red Raiders would be matched up with an SEC opponent after handling Mississippi State last year.
If Texas Tech loses to Oklahoma, all bets are off. I don't think you'll go back to the Liberty Bowl for the second year in a row, so it'd be a trip to Pheonix or maybe a metroplex bowl for the Red Raiders.
There's a real longshot opportunity for Texas Tech to be invited to the Cheez-It or Alamo Bowl, but that would be a pretty shocking turn of events for the 5th-place team in the conference. The true chaos situation would be: TCU wins out makes the playoff. Kansas State loses to Kansas State, but still plays for the Big 12 Title and goes to the Sugar Bowl. Oklahoma State loses this weekend. Texas loses to Baylor and Texas Tech beats Oklahoma.
Kansas, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech, and Baylor would all be 7-5. In the real-life conference standings, Texas Tech would finish behind the Cowboys and Bears, but in front of Kansas and Texas. In my opinion, the Bowl officials for the Alamo Bowl could certainly pick Texas Tech and the Red Raiders fan base who will definitely travel to San Antonio.
The bottom line is if Texas Tech wins this weekend every Bowl but the Sugar Bowl is in play depending on what happens across the Big 12. If Texas Tech loses, they'll be in the DFW or Arizona for their bowl game most likely.