The states of Missouri and Iowa share the same border but this will be the first time the Tigers and the Hawkeyes meet in football since 1910. The Big 12 has won four consecutive Insight bowls against Big Ten competition. This game figures to be a defensive battle as Missouri is sixth in scoring defense (allowing 15.1 points per game) while Iowa is seventh (16.4). Iowa's five losses came by a total of 18 points.
Defense wins championships but for Baylor, offense means a bowl game. The Bears are bowling for the first time since 1994 and it's not because of their defense which is 98th nationally. Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin is the Big 12's most valuable player. He's 7th nationally in total offense and accounts for 2 touchdowns per game. The Bears' biggest challenge against Illinois will be shutting down a running game that is 13th nationally averaging 242 ypg.
Oklahoma State, which has never won 11 games in a season, will try to make history. The Cowboys will face an Arizona team (coached by Mike Stoops, the brother of Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops) that started 7-1 but has lost its last four in a row. The Wildcats rely on quarterback Nick Foles and the passing game; Oklahoma State's defense is at its best facing a one-dimensional team. The Cowboys lead the nation in total offense.
With a month to prepare, Wildcats coach Bill Snyder probably will come up with some offensive wrinkles against a Syracuse team that that is fifth nationally in defense. Senior running back Daniel Thomas is coming off his career-best rushing game. Kansas State's defense struggled in the second half of the year, giving up 38 or more points in the team's last four losses. That shouldn't be an issue against a Syracuse team that struggles to score more than 20.
Here's the headline: Rematch of a mismatch. On Sept. 18, Nebraska ran all over Washington, 56-21, in Seattle. Nebraska had 383 yards rushing and Taylor Martinez had his first big game on a national stage. Martinez being slowed and sidelined by injuries sidetracked Nebraska's offense. With a month off, he should be healthy and wide receiver Niles Paul should be back from his broken foot. With all the offensive stars healthy, the rematch might turn into a replay.
Texas Tech is playing in a bowl for the 11th consecutive season. And the matchup with Northwestern in the new TicketCity Bowl should be favorable as the Red Raiders try to finish with eight wins. Northwestern has struggled offensively in its last two games after losing quarterback Dan Persa. The Wildcats have lost three of their last four, allowing 153 total points in those losses. Texas Tech has the nation's eighth-best passing offense.
Oklahoma has lost five consecutive BCS games and they have to guard against over confidence. Connecticut is playing in its first BCS game and their four losses came by a total of 63 points. Oklahoma, thanks to the outstanding play of sophomore quarterback Landry Jones, are fourth nationally in passing offense (the Huskies are 42nd in pass defense). Both teams rank high in turnover margin so mistakes could help determine the outcome.
Texas A&M is one of the nation's hottest teams and enters the game on a six-game winning streak. The Tigers are 8th in total defense and 10th in pass defense. If LSU has a defensive weakness, it's stopping the run. That might allow Aggies running back Cyrus to stretch his streak of 100-yard games to seven. Texas A&M has lost five consecutive Cotton Bowls; its last victory came in 1988, a 35-10 triumph over Notre Dame.