Big 12 faces uphill climb in bowl season

Oklahoma will represent the Big 12 in the College Football Playoff (again) this post season. The Sooners face a daunting task in their hopes to secure the conference’s first playoff victory.

The same applies to other four Big 12 teams that earned bowl berths.

All five Big 12 schools are Las Vegas underdogs in their bowl games. Four of the five are predicted to fall to defeat based on ESPN’s analytical Football Power Index.

The Sooners (12-1) face LSU (13-0), the CFP’s top seed, in the Peach Bowl Dec. 28 in Atlanta in the first semifinal of the playoff. LSU is a near two-touchdown favorite at -13.5 points. Oklahoma also is a significant FPI longshot at a 23.6 percent chance of victory.

The other marque Big 12 bowl match up features conference runner up Baylor (11-2) meeting SEC runner up Georgia (11-2) in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans Jan. 1. Vegas is higher on a Baylor upset than it is Oklahoma, but the Bears are still 7-point underdogs to the Bulldogs. FPI is even less bullish on Baylor than the Sooners, giving the Bears just a 30.1 percent chance of victory.

The lone Big 12 school with an FPI advantage in its bowl is Kansas State. The Wildcats (8-4) play AAC representative Navy (9-2) in the Autozone Bowl in a New Year’s Eve match up. FPI gives KSU a 57.4 percent chance at victory. Vegas, however, favors the Midshipmen, slightly favoring Navy by a point.

The Big 12’s most disappointing season likely belong’s to Texas (7-5). The Longhorns face the team with probably the biggest disappointing bowl berth when they face Pac 12 runner up Utah (11-2).  A week ago the Utes were eyeing a spot in the playoffs. After a drubbing by Oregon in the Pac 12 Championship game, they have to settle for a New Year’s Eve battle in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. Texas is a 7-point underdog to Utah with FBI giving the Longhorns a scant 34.1 percent chance to end their disappointing season with a win.

The other Big 12 bowl representative whose season didn’t meet expectations is Iowa State (7-5). The Cyclones face Notre Dame (10-2) in the Camping World Bowl Dec. 28 in Orlando, Fla. The Irish opened as 4-point favorites and FBI is really down on ISU’s chances, giving the Cyclones just a 32.5 percent chance of victory.

Oklahoma State (8-4) faces former Big 12 rival Texas A&M (7-5) in the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl on Dec. 27 in Dallas. The now SEC rep Aggies are 5 1/2 points favorites over the Cowboys. FPI puts OSU’s chances at victory at 38 percent.

Conferences are judged on how their teams do in bowl games. The numbers don’t look good for the perception of the Big 12.