clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Texas Tech, Big 12 Previews & Predictions: Bowls

New, 1 comment

VTM preps you for the bowl season!

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

After a one-year absence, the Red Raiders are bowl bound! 7-5 might not seem to be a great record, but when you take a closer look at the games, Coach Kingsbury’s crew did a fantastic job. They beat the programs that they should have, (Sam Houston State, UTEP, Kansas, and Iowa State) defeated rivals that have had their number in recent years, (Texas and Kansas State) and beat a SEC team that will help draw recruits to Tech (Arkansas). Of the five teams that beat Tech, only in two of them did Tech not compete (Baylor and Oklahoma). All in all, this was a fantastic rebound year for the Red Raiders; it has me excited for what’s to come in 2016 and beyond!

This season is not over just yet. The Red Raiders still will make the trip to Houston to take on the LSU Tigers in the Advocare V100 Texas Bowl. This will be an exciting matchup between two very different offenses. If you can make the trip, be sure to go out and support your Red Raiders!

Tuesday, December 29

Russell Athletic Bowl

#10 North Carolina Tar Heels (11-2 Overall, 8-0 ACC) against #17 Baylor Bears (9-3 Overall, 6-3 Big 12)

Florida Citrus Bowl; Orlando, FL; 4:30PM; ESPN/watchESPN app

Without knowing who will be the quarterback for Baylor, this game is pretty hard to pick. If Baylor had not had to rely on a wide receiver to be their emergency quarterback, against Texas, Baylor is in the Sugar Bowl. North Carolina played an admirable ACC Championship game against Clemson, but was just beat by a better team (who also benefitted from the refs). Deep down both teams probably believe that they should be in a better bowl… Tar Heels 21, Bears 31

Advocare V100 Texas Bowl

#20 LSU Tigers (8-3 Overall, 5-3 SEC) against Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-5 Overall, 4-5 Big 12)

NRG Stadium; Houston, TX; 8:00PM; ESPN/watchESPN app

If you like differing styles of offense, this is the game for you! LSU should hand the ball off to the great Leonard Fournette 35-40% of their offensive plays. He will probably rush for 150+ yards. Minimum. While the Tech defense has gotten better, it still CANNOT stop the run. Against a great running back and a great offensive line, Tech is in trouble. But fear not! Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the offense have finally had time to heal up and rejuvenate. I expect the offense to click as well as it did in the early part of the season. In honor of Star Wars: The Force Awakens opening this week let me use somewhat forced (pun intended) analogy for my pick. Think of the Patrick Mahomes as Luke Skywalker (and the rest of the starting offense his X-Wing and R2D2) making his run to blow up the Death Star. They just need to make one last decisive blow to win the day. Darth Vader (Leonard Fournette) and his Tie Fighters (the rest of the LSU offense) are ready to continue to run down Luke and prevent him from prevailing. Just as the dark side has the good guys in the crosshairs, out of no where the Tech defense, starring as Han Solo and Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon blast in (make a big play) and clear the way for Luke to deliver the blow (I’m guessing a Mahomes-Washington read option)… Tigers 42, Red Raiders 45, Star Wars 7 Box Office: $2+ BILLION

Thursday, December 31

Capital One Orange Bowl- College Football Playoff Semifinal

#4 Oklahoma Sooners (11-1 Overall, 8-1 Big 12) against #1 Clemson Tigers (13-0 Overall, 8-0 ACC)

SunLife Stadium; Miami, FL; 3:00PM; ESPN/ESPN3/watchESPN app

Clemson went undefeated. They, rightfully, should be the top team in the land based upon that undefeated record. However, I have not been all that impressed in the few games I have watched them play. Let me stress that I have only see them play a few games so I may have just tuned in while they were struggling a little bit. On the flip side, Oklahoma has looked incredible since losing to Texas. They are absolutely demolishing everyone that comes in their way. Running game looks great, defense is solid, and Mayfield has come through for the Sooners in key moments… Sooners 24, Tigers 17

Friday, January 1

AllState Sugar Bowl

#16 Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-2 Overall, 7-2 Big 12) against #12 Ole Miss Rebels (9-3 Overall, 6-2 SEC)

Mercedes-Benz Superdome; New Orleans, LA; 7:30 PM; ESPN/ESPN3/watchESPN

What a great season for Okie State. Mike Gundy was able to coach his players up well enough to produce a 10-win season. That’s a great mark for any program. Watching them play, at times, they don’t look good enough to be an 8 win team, much less a 10 win team. Ole Miss is the same way. They had the huge win at Alabama, but were beaten by lesser teams like Memphis and Arkansas. This is a really great matchup of two pretty evenly consistently inconsistent teams. I like the team that has a better defense… Cowboys 24, Rebels 34

Saturday, January 2

AutoZone Liberty Bowl

Kansas State Wildcats (6-6 Overall, 3-6 Big 12) against Arkansas Razorbacks (7-5 Overall, 5-3 SEC)

Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium; Memphis, TN; 2:20PM; ESPN/watchESPN app

To put it simply, the Razorbacks have the better players. If all things were equal, I would choose Arkansas in a heartbeat for that reason. Then I look at the coaching staffs. Arkansas head coach, Bret Bielema, teased Kliff Kingsbury about having a .500 record at the time. Which is funny coming from a coach that, at season’s end has a 17-20 record while at Arkansas. So to put it even simpler, Bill Snyder is a much better coach than Bret Bielema. Kansas State has been playing bowl-elimination games in their final 3 games of the season, including a gutsy 24-23 win at West Virginia. They are a battle-tested team, and they don’t have Bret Bielema as head coach. This pick may be solely based upon my thinking the Bill Snyder runs coaching laps around Bret Bielema, but it’s my column, I’ll pick who I want to… Wildcats 27, Razorbacks 20

Valero Alamo Bowl

#15 Oregon Ducks (9-3 Overall, 7-2 Pac 12) against #11 TCU Horned Frogs (10-2 Overall, 7-2 Big 12)

Alamodome; San Antonio, TX; 5:45PM; ESPN/ESPN3/watchESPN app

So how many times has the following sentence been said, if you like offense than this is the game for you! While that is true, these are two teams that both posses high-powered offense. TCU has a defensive mastermind in their head coach Gary Patterson. Even in this down year, the TCU defense has been an above average unit. I know a lot of people are expecting a final score similar to the Tech-TCU game. I am not of that mind. I do think one defense will step up, and I think it will be TCU’s… Ducks 28, Horned Frogs 42

Motel 6 Cactus Bowl

West Virginia Mountaineers (7-5 Overall, 4-5 Big 12) against Arizona State Sun Devils (6-6 Overall, 4-5 PAC 12)

Chase Field; Phoenix, AZ; 9:15PM; ESPN/watchESPN app

Fun fact, this bowl game features two teams that will be on the Texas Tech 2016 football schedule. I have not seen a down of Arizona State football this year, but from what I have read the old Bill Parcells’ “You are what your record says you are” is very appropriate for that squad. Congrats to West Virginia head coach Dana Holgerson on the news that he will be returning to WVU in 2016! This will be the year that his team wins a bowl game as part of the Big 12… Mountaineers 35, Sun Devils 24

Monday, January 11

College Football Playoff National Championship Game

Oklahoma Sooners against Alabama Crimson Tide

University of Phoenix Stadium; Glendale, AZ; 7:30PM; ESPN/watchESPN app

In a matchup of the top two most historic college football programs, I like the Oklahoma to prevail. Bob Stoops will revive his “Big Game Bob” moniker and in doing so will give the Big 12 some major conference credibility a year after being shut out. It will be a very tough matchup. On the other side of the field, the greatest college football coach of his generation, Nick Saban, will have his team ready to play. I foresee a tough fought game with Oklahoma winning on a late field goal… Sooners 23, Crimson Tide 20

On a personal note, this will be my final column for Viva The Matadors. I have greatly enjoyed my time writing for VTM and I am grateful to the powers that be to have let me do my thing during my time with VTM. Also, thank you to the readers of VTM. I have enjoyed the interaction with you all, even that Aggie that made a fake account to disparagingly comment on my “dream” College Football National Championship Game. I am serious when I say that, while I don’t agree with that person’s school of choice, I admire their passion for their team. I even more admire the passion of the Red Raider community that has read, interacted, and shared my article during my duration. I enjoyed writing this “Preview and Prediction” series, and the “Texas Tech History Lesson” series. With this being my final column I won’t be doing a guest picker, because I won’t have a platform to congratulate, or tease, the guest picker. I can say that both myself and you, the VTM readers, all batted over .800 on the picks. (Maybe we should all go to Vegas?) I hope you enjoyed reading them!

I loved reading your great memories of Texas Tech, from my last column. My favorite memory of Texas Tech is the moment that I shook Chancellor Kent Hance’s hand as I went across the stage during my graduation. Early during my first semester at Tech, I was able to spend a few moments in conversation with him. Like many freshman, I was very apprehensive about the quest ahead of me, and expressed some of that apprehension to him, in hopes that he would give me some golden advice. He had some of the generic “study hard” and all will be alright advice, but at the end of it he said I will see you on the graduation stage in a few years. That was the only time I ever conversed with him. Fast forward to May 2014, his final semester as chancellor. After he gave a great speech with a great main point of “Dream No Little Dreams”, the names began to be called for commencement. Mine was called, and when I came to shake his hand, he said, “I told you I would see you here”. I was floored that he remembered a 5-minute conversation from 4 years earlier. Either that, or he is a really lucky guesser and said the perfect thing to the right person. (I prefer to choose the former.) That memory will always stick with me.

In closing, I first want to congratulate my little sister, and all the December 2015 grads on their accomplishment. Secondly, Wreck LSU, Finally, thanks, again, for all your support and readership. GUNS UP!!!!!