Best-Case, Worst-Case Bowl Scenarios for Every Big 12 Team

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistNovember 12, 2013

Best-Case, Worst-Case Bowl Scenarios for Every Big 12 Team

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    Bryce Petty is continuing to lead Baylor toward an undefeated record and appearance in the national championship.
    Bryce Petty is continuing to lead Baylor toward an undefeated record and appearance in the national championship.Cooper Neill/Getty Images

    Programs around the nation are closing in on the 2013 postseason, so best- and worst-case scenarios are shaping up for members of the Big 12 Conference.

    Currently, there are five teams that have qualified by winning six games and three more with an opportunity to reach the mandated victory plateau, while Kansas and Iowa State have been eliminated from postseason play.

    This season, the Big 12 has seven official tie-ins in addition to the conference's automatic bid to the Fiesta Bowl. Unfortunately, however, the Big 12 is a loss away, by either West Virginia or TCU, from not filling all available slots.

    But one school has an outside chance to make the nation's most important game, so the final four weeks of the 2013-14 campaign will determine which teams head where during the bowl season.

TCU Horned Frogs

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    Best-Case Scenario: Heart of Dallas Bowl

    For TCU to earn its sixth win, the 4-6 Horned Frogs would have to shock the nation.

    First up is a battle with Kansas State, and TCU must take down the Wildcats on the road. What comes next, though, is much more difficult.

    The Horned Frogs host Baylor on Nov. 30, and the Bears will be favored in this game. TCU would definitely have to earn every bit of its sixth win, and a victory would send the team to game hosted by the Cotton Bowl and a meeting with a Big Ten program.

    Worst-Case Scenario: No Bowl Game

    It's a fact not easily avoided: TCU is on the outside looking in.

    Even if the Horned Frogs take down Kansas State, Baylor is very unlikely to falter against Gary Patterson's team.

    This season would be TCU's first without a bowl appearance since 2004 when it was affiliated with Conference USA.

West Virginia Mountaineers

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    Best-Case Scenario: New Era Pinstripe Bowl

    Though West Virginia is also 4-6, the Mountaineers' path to the postseason is much less daunting than TCU.

    In fact, the remaining schedule for West Virginia holds just 2-7 Kansas and 1-8 Iowa State.

    As a reward for their sixth win, the Mountaineers would travel to New York for a meeting with an American Athletic Conference team on Dec. 28.

    Worst-Case Scenario: No Bowl Game

    West Virginia failing to make the postseason would be rather surprising.

    Kansas and Iowa State have combined for zero conference wins this season, and the victor of that head-to-head battle may earn the only one.

    Ultimately, a Mountaineers' loss is not expected, but an unforeseen letdown would cause West Virginia to be shut out of the postseason.

Kansas State Wildcats

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    Best-Case Scenario: National University Holiday Bowl

    Kansas State is just one victory away from chalking up a sixth mark in the win column, and they can overpower either TCU or Kansas to do just that.

    Also, if the Wildcats win both of those games, K-State could earn a bid to the Holiday Bowl in favor of Texas Tech.

    And should that selection occur, the Wildcats will play the Pac-12's No. 3 team—or, in other words, a brutal matchup likely against UCLA or Arizona State.

    Worst-Case Scenario: No Bowl Game

    Similar to West Virginia, Kansas State missing the postseason would be an eye-opener.

    TCU and Oklahoma are undoubtedly capable of beating the Wildcats, but a loss to Kansas would doom Kansas State's bowl aspirations.

    The Wildcats have played in a postseason game for three consecutive seasons and are in position for a fourth, so three straight losses would make for a disappointed Kansas State faithful.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

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    Best-Case Scenario: National University Holiday Bowl

    Texas Tech has lost three straight games, but two upset opportunities await the Red Raiders.

    On Nov. 16, Texas Tech matched up with Baylor before the Red Raiders' passing attack travels to Austin for their regular-season finale on Thanksgiving Day against Case McCoy and Texas.

    The Holiday Bowl gets the No. 5 Big 12 team, and Texas Tech almost locks its spot in that game by winning once more.

    Worst-Case Scenario: Texas Bowl

    At 7-0, Texas Tech looked like a contender in the conference, but the Red Raiders had not played the Big 12's top teams.

    Over the last three weeks, Texas Tech has suffered losses to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State, and two more to Baylor and Texas could be on the horizon.

    And if that happens, the Red Raiders could very well fall behind Kansas State and battle a Big Ten squad in the Texas Bowl.

Oklahoma Sooners

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    Best-Case Scenario: AT&T Cotton Bowl

    Oklahoma was trashed by Texas during the Red River Rivalry, but the Sooners can overcome some of that disappointment by taking Oklahoma State.

    If Texas wins the Big 12, Baylor probably heads to a BCS game as an at-large bid, so the conference's top non-BCS bowl needs an occupant.

    And should Blake Bell and Co. knock off Oklahoma State for the 10th time in 11 seasons, Oklahoma would slide into that vacant spot.

    Worst-Case Scenario: Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl

    Then again, if Texas doesn't upset Baylor and Oklahoma is then toppled by the rival Cowboys, the Sooners will be chosen for the nation's tastiest bowl game.

    Since the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl also selects a mid-level Big Ten team, Oklahoma would still be looking at a competitive postseason contest.

    Of course, if there actually are wings involved here, I wouldn't be complaining too much.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    Best-Case Scenario: Fiesta Bowl

    Oklahoma State is one of three Big 12 programs that controls its own destiny in the conference.

    But the Cowboys definitely have the most difficult terrain to cross, squaring off with Texas on the road before hosting Baylor and Oklahoma to close the season.

    The "Survive and Advance" mantra used during NCAA March Madness certainly applies to Oklahoma State, and three more wins equal a well-deserved spot in the Fiesta Bowl.

    Worst-Case Scenario: Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl

    However, if Oklahoma State cannot survive the impending gauntlet, the Cowboys will tumble past the AT&T Cotton Bowl and Alamo Bowl.

    Baylor will continue fighting for an appearance in a well-known bowl game—or even the best one—Texas will remain near the top of the conference and Oklahoma could steal its rival's likely landing spot.

    Add those four factors together, and the Cowboys are headed to Phoenix, Ariz. for a date with a Big Ten squad.

Texas Longhorns

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    Best-Case Scenario: Fiesta Bowl

    Texas will not qual...what? Texas can win the Big 12?

    Through three regular-season games, the Longhorns' defensive coordinator was fired, and Mack Brown's proverbial seat was near flames, staring a sub, six-win season directly in the face.

    But after six games, including a very generous call during a one-point win over Iowa State, a beatdown of rival Oklahoma and an overtime escape against West Virginia later, Texas is undefeated in conference play.

    A few scenarios exist for the Longhorns to finish off the Big 12, but most importantly, if Texas surprises Baylor, Mack Brown's team will play in its first Fiesta Bowl since the 2008-09 season.

    Worst-Case Scenario: Alamo Bowl

    As of this moment, the Longhorns are one win ahead of Baylor in the conference standings.

    Texas has beaten Oklahoma, but each of Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Baylor are in the Longhorns' future.

    And if both the Cowboys and Bears stop Texas' hot streak, the Longhorns will fall to the Alamo Bowl.

Baylor Bears

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    Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

    Best-Case Scenario: BCS National Championship Game

    Undefeated Baylor still has a horse in the race for the national title, and it's better than people might think.

    Though the Bears are currently fifth in the BCS standings, Baylor's remaining schedule could help lift the program over both Ohio State and Stanford without either team losing.

    At that point, either Alabama or Florida State must lose, and if the Bears win their final four games, Baylor would play for its first-ever national championship.

    Worst-Case Scenario: AT&T Cotton Bowl

    Baylor is likely headed to a BCS game, but the Bears could falter down the stretch, falling to Oklahoma State or Texas and watching another team take the Big 12.

    Therefore, Baylor would be selected for one of college football's most entertaining non-BCS bowls, matching up with a top-SEC squad in the AT&T Cotton Bowl.

    The Bears are striving for more than an appearance here, but it would not be an awful consolation prize.