As they have the entire season, Kansas City SB Nation staff writers Chip Rouse and Chris Schumerth preview, provide insight and make their picks, this time among the bowl games involving Big 12 teams this postseason. They may not view things the same, but that's no matter because they have "agreed to disagree."
With eight bowl games in which Big 12 teams are participating, we are previewing the games for Missouri (Independence Bowl), Texas (Holiday Bowl), Baylor (Alamo Bowl) and Oklahoma (Insight Bowl) today, and our picks involving Iowa State (Pinstripe Bowl), Texas A&M (Meineke Car Car Bowl), Kansas State (Cotton Bowl) and Oklahoma State (BCS Fiesta Bowl) will follow on Tuesday.
Missouri vs. North Carolina
Independence Bowl, Shreveport, La., Dec. 26
Chip: For a while, it appeared as if Missouri would fall short of six wins and bowl eligibility this season, but the Tigers won four of their last four to finish at 7-5. In fairness to coach Gary Pinkel's squad, the Tigers played one of the country's toughest schedules. Missouri will bring a solid offensive game to its Independence Bowl encounter with North Carolina of the Atlantic Coast Conference, but an even better defensive unit. MU's defensive performance this season ranked second in the Big 12 to Texas, and a good defense usually wins out over good offense in the postseason. Unlike Mizzou, North Carolina (7-5 overall like Missouri) finished out the season losing four of its last six games. Missouri is the stronger team, coming from the stronger conference.
Prediction: Missouri 27, North Carolina 17
Chris: We agree here. Missouri got off to a rough start because they have some young stars, they play a rough schedule, and because the switching conference distraction haunted them for much of the season. I really like the way Missouri finished the season, knocking off the likes of Texas, Texas A&M, and others. North Carolina was mediocre and played in below-average ACC Conference. I like the Tigers' chances. I expect Mizzou quarterback James Franklin to have a big day and for Missouri to win fairly easily.
Missouri 35, North Carolina 16
Texas vs. California
Holiday Bowl, San Diego, Calif. (Qualcomm Stadium), Dec. 28
Chip: This will be the fifth appearance all-time for Texas in the Holiday Bowl, and the Longhorns fifth meeting ever against California from the Pac-12. The Horns are 4-0 in the team's four previous meetings. The Texas offense has been off and on all season, especially without running backs Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergerone. Neither played in Texas final regular-season game against Baylor, and their status for the bowl game is not known. Texas' seven wins this season was more due to strong defense than offensive production. Case McCoy, former Texas star signal-caller Colt McCoy's younger brother, took over at quarterback, replacing David Ash, late in the year and probably will lead the Horns against Cal (7-5) in this bowl matchup. The key matchup in this game will be the Texas defense vs. a balanced California offense.
Prediction: Texas 24, California 21
Chris: I feel like all season long, you have had more faith in Texas than I have. For me, it starts with Mack Brown being unconvincing as a head coach. His quarterbacks-both McCoy and Ash-have played inconsistently all season, so much so that rumors have swirled about the possibility of Texas picking up a transfer in the off-season. I've been amazed at the voters' grace with this Longhorns squad really hasn't beaten a good team all year. California did not have exactly set the world on fire either, but they were part of what I thought was a strong year for the Pac-12. The Bears also won three of four down the stretch, with their lone loss being a three-point defeat at the hands of an elite Stanford squad. I like Cal here in a close one.
Prediction: California 34, Texas 27
Baylor vs. Washington
Alamo Bowl, San Antonio (Alamodome), Dec. 29
Chip: Washington finished 5-4 in the Pac-12 North Division, but lost four of its last six games and yielded at least 34 points in the four late-season defeats. This is not a good omen for the Huskies, who will face the Heisman Trophy winner in dual-threat Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III and the country's second most prolific offense. RG3 set the NCAA record for passing efficiency this past season. The scary part is that Griffin is probably a more dangerous runner than a passer, but he truly came into his own the past two seasons as a big-time passing quarterback. He threw for 36 touchdowns this season, with just six interceptions. Griffin's prime receiving target is wide-receiver Kendall Wright, who has burned opposing defenses all season with his speed. Baylor is extremely difficult to defend because the Bears also can move the ball on the ground with 240-pound running back Terrance Ganaway, who rumbled for 112 yards a game this fall. Baylor was 9-3 this season, with a big win over Oklahoma, the first for the Bears over the Sooners in 20 previous meetings.
Prediction: Baylor 42, Washington 27
Chris: Like you (and also the Heisman trophy voters), I love Griffin. How could anyone not? Does anyone believe this Baylor squad would have won any more than, oh, six games were it not for Griffin? He's been incredible all year long, and I am in the camp that thinks he's capable of playing well in the NFL some day. His defense isn't strong, so I won't be surprised if this struggling Huskies' squad still manages to put up points against them. The loss for head coach Steve Sarkesian's team this year that was really unacceptable was against Oregon State. The others were forgivable.
Prediction: Baylor 45, Washington 30
Oklahoma vs. Iowa
Insight Bowl, Tempe, Ariz. Sun Devil Stadium), Dec. 30
Chip: In losing two of its last two regular-season games, the Sooners (9-3), once ranked No. 1 in the nation this season, slipped all the way to fourth place in the Big 12. A big reason for OU's late-season struggles was the loss for the season of All-American wide receiver Ryan Broyles in the Sooners' ninth game. OU also will be without Broyles in its Insight Bowl contest with Iowa (7-5), as well the team's leading running back, Dominque Whaley, who suffered a season-ending broken ankle against Kansas State. Despite these key injuries and a host of other nagging injuries that have hit players on both sides of the ball, Oklahoma is a two-touchdown favorite in this game, the largest point-spread difference of all of the postseason games. An interesting story line to this game is that OU coach Bob Stoops played defensive back at Iowa from 1979-82. The big question in this game is: Which Oklahoma team will show up?
Prediction: Oklahoma 45, Iowa 27
Chris: Yes, Oklahoma slid down the stretch, yes, the Sooners' season has been a disappointing one, and yes, they are banged up at key positions. But none of that will matter very much. We are still talking about a top ten team (in my opinion) against a very middling Big Ten team, which lost this season to the likes of Minnesota and Iowa State. Sooner quarterback Landry Jones has been a microcosm of OU's stumble (five interceptions in the last three games), but I expect him to rebound against the Hawkeyes. All that said, Iowa does have a fine coach who will likely have them prepared. Look for a close one for one half with the Sooners pulling away for the win in the second half.
Prediction: Oklahoma 31, Iowa 13
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