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Bowl Bonanza
December 05, 2010
By Wendell Barnhouse | Correspondent

The matchups are set. Tickets can be bought, travel plans arranged. For the Big 12 Conference, the 2010 bowl season came together with Sunday night’s Bowl Championship Series announcement.

The suspense was negligible. Oklahoma, winner of the Dr Pepper Big 12 Championship game, knew it was headed to the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1. Sunday night, the Sooners discovered their opponent would be Connecticut of the Big East Conference, a team playing in its first BCS bowl.

The inaugural Pinstripe Bowl in Yankees Stadium announced Friday that Kansas State would face Syracuse. So, the other six bowl-eligible Big 12 teams found out the details of their bowl destinations Sunday night.

The Cotton Bowl (already a sellout) will pit Texas A&M against LSU in what should be one of the most entertaining games of the postseason. The Alamo Bowl will match Oklahoma State against Arizona, the Insight selected Missouri to face Iowa, the Holiday will stage a rematch of the regular season game between Nebraska and Washington.

The Texas Bowl welcomes Baylor, playing in its first bowl game since 1994, against Illinois. The inaugural TicketCity Bowl in Dallas’ Cotton Bowl stadium matches Texas Tech against Northwestern.

Fiesta Bowl
Oklahoma vs. Connecticut

Need to know: 7:30 p.m. CT, Jan. 1, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz., ESPN/ESPN3D.

Team records: Oklahoma 11-2, Connecticut 8-4.

Oklahoma update: The Sooners earned the Fiesta Bowl trip by winning the Dr Pepper Big 12 Championship game for the seventh time. … Oklahoma has played in the Fiesta Bowl four times but has lost on its last three visits. … A victory would give the Sooners 12 victories for the second time in the last three seasons. … Oklahoma finished 6-2 and in a three-way tie with Texas A&M and Oklahoma State in the Big 12 South Division. The Sooners earned the right to play in the Big 12 Championship game thanks to a tiebreaker.

Connecticut update: The Huskies finished 5-2 and in a three-way tie for first place in the Big East Conference but won the tiebreaker to play in their first BCS bowl. … Connecticut moved to Division I-A (now Football Bowl Subdivision) in 2000. … The Huskies’ four losses came to Michigan (30-10), Temple (30-16), Rutgers (27-24) and Louisville (26-0). … Connecticut has won five consecutive games, two by three points. … Junior Jordan Todman is one of the nation’s top running backs with 1,574 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns. … The Huskies are 112th (out of 120 schools) in passing.

Cotton Bowl
Texas A&M vs. LSU

Need to know: 7 p.m., Jan. 7, Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas, FOX.

Team records: Texas A&M 9-3, LSU 10-2.

Texas A&M update: The Aggies have won six consecutive games. … Texas A&M finished 6-2 and in a three-way tie with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in the Big 12 South Division. … One of Texas A&M’s three losses came to Arkansas, 24-17, in Cowboys Stadium on Oct. 9. The Razorbacks ended the season with a 31-23 victory over LSU. … Junior quarterback Ryan Tannehill took over as the starter at the beginning of the Aggies’ winning streak. … Running back Cyrus Gray has six consecutive games with 100 or more rushing yards and Texas A&M’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Courtney Lewis gained 1,024 yards in 2003. … The Aggies last faced LSU in 1994, an 18-13 victory in Baton Rouge.

LSU update: The Tigers finished 6-2 in the Southeastern Conference West Division. … LSU’s two losses came to Auburn (24-17) and Arkansas (31-23). … The Tigers’ passing game has struggled, ranking 107th in FBS. Quarterback Jordan Jefferson has thrown for four touchdowns and nine interceptions. … Running back Stephen Ridley has 1,042 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns. … Kicker Josh Jasper has 26 field goals in 31 attempts. … Defensive back Patrick Patterson is one of the SEC’s top defenders and return men.

Alamo Bowl
Oklahoma State vs. Arizona

Need to know: 8:15 p.m. CT, Dec. 29, Alamodome, San Antonio, ESPN.

Team records: Oklahoma State 10-2, Arizona 7-5.

Oklahoma State update: The Cowboys’ two losses came to Oklahoma (47-41) and Nebraska (51-41) the two teams that played in the Dr Pepper Big 12 Championship game. … Oklahoma State was picked to finish fifth in the Big 12 South Division but finished in a three-way for first with Oklahoma and Texas A&M. … The Cowboys are playing in a bowl game for a school-record fifth consecutive season. … Oklahoma State is 0-2 all-time in the Alamo Bowl with losses in 1997 to Purdue and to Ohio State in 2004. … Oklahoma State and Arizona have played once – in 1942.

Arizona update: The Wildcats are coached by Mike Stoops, brother of Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. … Arizona finished 4-5 in the Pacific-10 Conference and has lost its last four games and allowed 30 or more points in those losses. … The Wildcats played three ranked teams – beating No. 9 Iowa 34-27, losing to No. 13 Stanford 42-17 and losing to No. 1 Oregon 48-29. … Arizona lost to Nebraska, 33-0, in last year’s Holiday Bowl. … With quarterback Nick Foles, the Wildcats are ninth nationally in passing offense. … Junior receiver Juron Criner has 73 receptions for 1,186 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Insight Bowl
Missouri vs. Iowa

Need to know: 9 p.m. CT, Dec. 28, Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Ariz., ESPN.

Team records: Missouri 10-2, Iowa 7-5.

Missouri update: The Tigers have victories over two teams that won conference titles – Oklahoma and Miami (Ohio). … Missouri’s two losses came at Nebraska (31-17) and at Texas Tech (24-17) in consecutive games. … The Tigers finished No. 12 in the final Bowl Championship Series standings. … Missouri is playing in a bowl game for a school-record sixth consecutive season. … Columbia and Iowa City are separated by 240 miles but the schools haven’t played since 1910. Missouri leads the series 7-5. … Missouri and Iowa were scheduled for a four-game series from 2005-08 but the Tigers asked out of the deal.

Iowa update: The Hawkeyes finished 4-4 in the Big Ten Conference. … Iowa had high hopes about challenging for the Big Ten title and a BCS bowl but lost four of its last six and the Hawkeys’ five losses came by a total of 18 points. … The Hawkeyes lost to Arizona (34-27), Wisconsin (31-30), Northwestern (21-17), Ohio State (20-17) and Minnesota (27-24). … Quarterback Rick Stanzi has thrown for 25 touchdowns with just four interceptions. … Sophomore Adam Robinson is Iowa’s top running back with 941 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Holiday Bowl
Nebraska vs. Washington

Need to know: 9 p.m. CT, Dec. 30, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, ESPN.

Team records: Nebraska 10-3, Arizona 6-6.

Nebraska update: The Huskers played in the Holiday Bowl last season, defeating Arizona 33-0. … Nebraska won the Big 12 North Division with a 6-2 record. The Huskers lost to Oklahoma, 23-20, in Saturday’s Dr Pepper Big 12 Championship game. … Nebraska is making its 47th bowl appearance (fifth-most in college history) and the third consecutive bowl game under coach Bo Pelini. … Nebraska and Washington have never met in a bowl game. … The Huskers have won 10 of its last 14 bowl games and four of its past five since 2003.

Washington update: The Huskies finished 5-4 in the Pacific-10 Conference, good for third place. … Washington became bowl-eligible with a 35-28 victory over rival Washington State Saturday. Quarterback Jake Locker led Washington on an 88-yard drive capped by his 27-yard touchdown pass with 44 seconds remaining for the winning points … On Sept. 18 in Seattle, Washington lost to Nebraska 56-21. Locker, a preseason Heisman Trophy candidate, was limited to 4 of 20 passing for 71 yards and two interceptions. … The Huskies ended the season on a three-game winning streak.

Texas Bowl
Baylor vs. Illinois

Need to know: 5 p.m., Dec. 29, Reliant Stadium, Houston, ESPN.

Team records: Baylor 7-5, Illinois 6-6.

Baylor update: The Bears finished 4-4 in the Big 12 South Division and will be participating in a bowl game for the first time since the 1994 season. … Baylor became bowl-eligible with a victory over Kansas State on Oct. 23 and the following week won at Texas for the first time since 1991. … Baylor has played in 16 bowl games and four have been in Houston. The last time was the 1986 Bluebonnet Bowl. … Baylor’s last bowl victory came in 1992, a 20-15 victory over Arizona in the Sun Bowl. … The Bears’ defense is allowing 29.5 points per game and in the five losses Baylor has allowed at least 42 points.

Illinois update: The Illini finished 4-4 in Big Ten Conference games. … One of Illinois’ six losses came to Missouri, 23-13, in the season opener. … The Illini have lost three of its last four games, including its season finale at Fresno State, 25-23. … Illinois relies on a running game that is 13th nationally with 242 yards per game but struggles in the passing game. The Illini are 115th out of 120 teams in passing. … Junior Mikel Leshoure is the team’s leading rusher with 1,513 yards and 14 touchdowns. … Redshirt freshman quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase has thrown for 17 touchdowns and is a dangerous runner.

Pinstripe Bowl
Kansas State vs. Syracuse

Need to know: 2:20 p.m. CT, Dec. 30, Yankee Stadium, New York, N.Y., ESPN.

Team records: Kansas State 7-5, Syracuse 7-5.

Kansas State update: The Wildcats are in a bowl game for the first since 2006 and the first time since Bill Snyder’s return as the team’s coach. … Kansas State finished 3-5 in the Big 12 North Division. … The Wildcats have lost four of their last six and have allowed 38 or more points in those four losses. For the season, Kansas State is allowing 28 points per game. … Senior running back Daniel Thomas goes into the final game of his college career as one of the nation’s top rushers. He has gained 1,495 yards with 16 touchdowns. Thomas is coming off a career-high 269 yards in the season finale against North Texas.

Syracuse update: The Orange finished 4-3 and in fourth place in the Big East Conference in coach Doug Marrone’s second season with his alma mater. … Syracuse has lost three of its last four and scored a total of 33 points in the losses. … The five losses have come to Washington (41-20), Pittsburgh (45-14), Louisville (28-20), Connecticut (23-6) and Boston College (16-7). … Junior quarterback Ryan Nassib is more of a game manager; he’s thrown for 2,095 yards, 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions. … Senior running back Delone Carter has gained 1,035 yards with 22 touchdowns.

TicketCity Bowl
Texas Tech vs. Northwestern

Need to know: 11 a.m., Jan. 1, Cotton Bowl, Dallas, ESPNU.

Team records: Texas Tech 7-5, Northwestern 7-5.

Texas Tech update: In Tommy Tuberville’s first year as coach, the Red Raiders finished 3-5 in the Big 12 South Division. … Texas Tech is making its 11th straight bowl appearance in what is its 18th consecutive year of bowl eligibility. … The Red Raiders will appear in this inaugural bowl, which is being played in Dallas’ Cotton Bowl Stadium. Texas Tech defeated Baylor, 45-38, on Oct. 9 in a game played at the Cotton Bowl. … With senior Taylor Potts at quarterback, the Red Raiders are eighth nationally in passing offense.

Northwestern update: The Wildcats finished 3-5 in the Big Ten Conference. … Northwestern’s losses came to Purdue (20-17), Michigan State (35-27), Penn State (35-21), Illinois (48-27) and Wisconsin (70-23). … The Wildcats have lost three of their last four, allowing 153 total points in those four losses. … In Northwestern’s last victory, a 21-17 defeat of Iowa, the Wildcats lost starting quarterback Dan Persa to a season-ending injury. Evan Watkins has replaced Persa and in two starts has one touchdown pass and four interceptions.
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