Regional teams head to college bowl games

Regional teams head to college bowl games
December 24, 2012, 11:45 am
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Rice coach Bailiff ready for bowl game

Oct 5, 2012; Oxford, MS, USA; Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) attempts to break free from a Mississippi Rebels defender during the game against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught Hemingway Stadium. Texas A&M won 30-27.

(Spruce Derden–US PRESSWIRE)

The bowl season is once again upon us with 35 games to cap off the 2012-13 season, and several big-time football programs in our region are in the mix. 

Check out the full college football bowl game schedule after getting a glimpse of the area teams' matchups below. 


Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl -- No. 17 UCLA vs. Baylor

When: Thursday, Dec. 27 at 8:45 p.m.

Where: Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif.

This is the first-ever meeting between these two teams.

The Bruins (9-4) won the Pac-12 South Division and are coming off a 27-24 loss to No. 8 Stanford in the conference championship game.

The Bears (7-5) won three straight to close the regular season, including a 52-24 upset of then-No. 2 Kansas State on Nov. 17. At the time, K-State was ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings. Baylor’s offense ranks No. 1 in the nation with the national leaders in total offense and receiving yards: senior quarterback Nick Florence (387.7 yards per game) and senior receiver and Biletnikoff Award finalist Terrance Williams (1,764 yards), respectively. Their 44.1 average points per game ranks them fifth nationally in scoring.


Meineke Car Car Bowl of Texas – Minnesota vs. Texas Tech

When: Friday, Dec. 28 at 8 p.m.

Where: Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas

The Gophers will try to redeem themselves in this matchup. These two teams faced each other in the 2006 Insight Bowl when Minnesota had a 31-point lead but ended up losing to Texas Tech 44-41 in overtime. 

After missing out on the postseason last year, the Red Raiders (7-5) will be making their 35th bowl appearance. Even though they lost their last regular-season game to Baylor in overtime, 52-45, they did beat West Virginia and TCU this season. They rank No. 2 in the nation in passing offense with 361.9 yards per game.

Minnesota will play in its first bowl game since 2009 despite losing three of its last four games and only winning two Big Ten games. The Gophers haven’t won a bowl game since 2004.


Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl – Air Force vs. Rice

When: Saturday, Dec. 29 at 10:45 a.m.

Where: Amon Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas

After playing the last two games at SMU, the Armed Forces Bowl will return to its home at TCU's completely redone stadium. 

After getting its sixth victory, a 21-7 win over Hawaii on Nov. 16, Air Force (6-6) accepted an invitation to appear in the Armed Forces Bowl for the fourth time. It is their school-record sixth straight bowl game.

Rice is playing in its first Armed Forces Bowl. After starting out the season 1-5, the Owls won five of their last six, including their last four games. Their postseason hopes came down to their last game of the season when they won at UTEP, 33-24. This is their third bowl game since a postseason drought from 1961 to 2006.


Valero Alamo Bowl – No. 13 Oregon State vs. No. 23 Texas

When: Saturday, Dec. 29 at 5:45 p.m.

Where: Alamodome in San Antonio

Texas will make a short postseason trip this year to face No. 15 Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl.

With San Antonio a short trip down Interstate 35, the Longhorns (8-4) will be playing close to home again. They last appeared in the Alamo Bowl in 2006. They have won six of their last seven bowl games but are coming off back-to-back losses to TCU and Kansas State to end their season. Texas could also be without a running back Joe Bergeron whose status is uncertain because of a shoulder injury.

In their first bowl game in three years, the Beavers (9-3) will be playing without senior running back Jordan Jenkins who broke his ankle in the season finale.


Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl – Michigan State vs. TCU

When: Saturday, Dec. 29 at 9:15 p.m.

Where: Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.

After an up-and-down first season in the Big 12 in which they finished 4-5 in the conference, the young Horned Frogs (7-5) team is going to a bowl game for the eighth straight season. TCU (7-5) finished 18th nationally in total defense, allowing 332 yards per game, and held six of its 12 opponents to season-low scoring while giving up 23.8 points per game.

So, this could be a defensive battle.

The Spartans (6-6) finished the regular season fourth in total defense, allowing 273.2 yards per game. Michigan State finished 10th in scoring defense, giving up 16.3 points per game. This after playing what is considered the fifth toughest schedule in the nation. Although their only loss in their first four games was to Notre Dame, they lost five of their final eight games but are still making their eighth bowl appearance since 2001.


Chik-fil-a Bowl -- No. 14 Clemson vs. No. 8 LSU

When: Monday, Dec. 31 at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Georgia Dome in Atlanta

Can you believe these two southern football powerhouses have only met twice before?  LSU won the 1996 Peach Bowl, 10-7.  Their first meeting was in New Orleans on Jan. 1, 1959 when No. 1 ranked LSU won 7-0 to win the National Championship.   

Their third meeting will pit one of the nation's best offenses (Clemson) against one of the leading defenses (LSU).

After a last-minute loss to Alabama in Baton Rouge, LSU won its remaining games and has a shot at the seventh 11-victory season in school history. The Tigers defense that ranks No. 11 in the nation in points allowed (16.2 per game), eighth in total defense (296.2) and ninth in both pass efficiency defense and rushing yards allowed. LSU has won its five previous trips to the Chick-fil-A Bowl, most recently a 38-3 rout over Georgia Tech in 2008.

Clemson tied Florida State in the Atlantic Division but lost out on the ACC title game because it lost to the Seminoles. Their high-powered offense is led by quarterback Tajh Boyd, who threw for 3,550 yards and 34 touchdowns and is a big reason they rank No. 6 in the nation in scoring (42.3) and ninth in total yards (518.3).


AT&T Cotton Bowl -- No. 11 Oklahoma vs. No. 9 Texas A&M

When: Friday, Jan. 4 at 7 p.m.

Where: Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas

The story of the bowl season so far: Mid-American Conference champion Northern Illinois moved up far enough in the final BCS standings to claim an automatic bid to a BCS bowl game. That left Big 12 co-champion Oklahoma out. The Sooners split the Big 12 title with Kansas State, but the Wildcats got the league's automatic bid because they won the head-to-head matchup in Norman, Okla., in September.

The Aggies lost to LSU 41-24 two seasons ago in the 2011 Cotton Bowl. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel will be the first Heisman Trophy winner to play in the Cotton Bowl in 14 years - Texas' Ricky Williams in 1999 is the most recent to do so.

The last time the Sooners played in the Cotton Bowl was when then they beat Arkansas 10-3 in 2002. They will be trying to win a fourth straight bowl game, which would match a school record.