By Laurean Love
College football’s regular season is coming to an end, and bowl projections are starting to surface.
Baylor football has been projected to play at the Valero Alamo Bowl, the Insight Bowl or the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl depending on the result of the Texas game Saturday.
Rivals.com has projected that if Baylor finishes the season as Big 12 No. 3 it will play at the Alamo Bowl against the Pac-12’s No. 2 team, which is now projected to be Washington, at 9 p.m. Dec. 29 in San Antonio. The Bears will end the season 9-3, ranking third in the Big 12, if they are victorious this weekend against Texas and Oklahoma loses to Oklahoma State.
“We look for most competitive matchup. The one that is best for fans, and the best one for the TV audience,” Rick Hill, vice president of marketing for the Alamo Bowl, said.
Hill said the Alamo Bowl’s choice had come down to three teams: the loser of the Oklahoma State-Oklahoma game, the winner of the Texas-Baylor game, and Kansas State.
The number of Big 12 teams that qualify for a BCS bowl will also have an effect. The AT&T Cotton Bowl gets first pick of the non-BCS Big 12 teams. Hill also said a team like Baylor brings a lot to the table for the Alamo Bowl.
“Anytime you have a team with such huge upswing, it’s great. [Baylor] has a star player visible since the first game against TCU in RG3. He has re-emerged with the Oklahoma win. The whole team, Coach [Art] Briles, the win streak. On a whim, I would say they could be a top 15 team [in the BCS standings]. And they bring an energized fan base.”
ESPN.com, however, has projected that if Baylor finishes the season as Big 12 No. 4 it will play at the Insight Bowl against the Big 10 No. 4 or 5, now projected to be either Iowa or Penn State, at 10 p.m. Dec. 30 in Tempe, Ariz. Baylor should end the season as the Big 12 No. 4 team if the Bears win against Texas and Oklahoma wins as well.
CBSSports.com, meanwhile, has projected that if Baylor finishes the season as No. 5 Big 12 team, it will play at the Holiday Bowl against the No. 3 Pac-12 team, who is now projected to be California, at 8 p.m. on Dec. 28 in San Diego, Calif. The Bears will finish 8-4 as the Big 12 No. 5 if they lose to Texas.
“If we are fortunate enough to get Baylor in our football game, they have such an exciting brand of football and tremendous fans, we would be very happy to welcome the Baylor football team and all of their fans to San Diego,” Mark Neville, associate executive director/director of communications for the Holiday Bowl, said. “Since our affiliation with the Big 12 started in 1998, Baylor is a school that we always thought would be very fun to have here in San Diego because we know their fans are loyal and the team has played at such an improved level that their fans are excited and we would love to capture that excitement and bring it all out here.”
Although none of the bowls has been picked yet, Baylor has qualified to return to a bowl game for the second year in a row for the first time since the Sun Bowl in 1991 and the Alamo Bowl in 1992.
Each bowl has two conferences from which it may pick its two teams.
The winner of the Big 12 will play in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. The AT&T Cotton Bowl gets the next pick out of the Big 12.
The remaining bowls that will choose a Big 12 team rank in the following order: the Valero Alamo Bowl, the Insight Bowl, the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl, the Texas Bowl and the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.
The bowls do not have to invite the school with the next best record, and invited schools do not have to accept the bowl’s invitation.
After Baylor and all of the other college football teams finish their regular season, bowls will begin choosing who they would like to invite to their bowl.
The announcement of bowl positions will come at 8 p.m. Sunday on ESPN as part of their bowl selection show.