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Monday, November 5, 2012
Evaluating Texas' bowl game scenarios

By Carter Strickland

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas managed to turn back the clock on a weekend when almost everybody -- c’mon, get with the times or just the right time, Arizona -- did the same.

The Longhorns made some tackles, sprinkled in some deep balls, hit the open holes, connected on a 40-plus yard field goal and were there for the crucial stops. And they won. It was like old times.

Mack Brown
If Mack Brown and the Longhorns win out, there is a strong chance they could play in a BCS bowl.
Now because of that win, the Longhorns can start to look forward. Oh, not too much. Surely the coaching staff and the players are emboldened enough to look past Iowa State.

Although it was just last week wide receiver Mike Davis sent belly-gripping chortles through most Texas observers when he said the team could still go to a BCS bowl. Now that laughter has subsided into a mere elbow-to-side jabs and small grins.

That’s not to say a BCS bowl couldn’t happen for Texas. It could. It’s just that at this point, it doesn’t appear as if repeating Texas’s bowl pattern history -- Texas has stair-stepped from Holiday, to a BCS bowl, to the BCS national title game twice before in Mack Brown’s tenure -- is all that plausible.

Still, it is a possible and as such will enter the discussion. Here then are many of the other possibilities that face this Texas team as it moves through the final three games and into the bowl season:

BCS: The chances are skinnier than D.J. Monroe. But, again, there is a chance.

The first chance for Texas hinges on Oklahoma collapsing. Texas then has to beat Kansas State and move into the No. 2 spot in the Big 12. Given that the Sooners’ two losses are to top five BCS teams and they have beaten everyone else soundly, except UTEP, that is not likely to happen.

But Texas can still get to a BCS even if OU wins out.

Kansas State controls its won destiny. But with Collin Klein possibly injured and the upcoming schedule holding two road games on it, things could spin out of control for the Wildcats. TCU and Baylor have the potential to pull off upsets at home.

Texas needs one of those teams to do so and then has beat KSU in Manhattan Dec. 1.

Yeah, told you the chances of a BCS were remote. And even if all that happens there is still a very good chance Texas would not make it to a BCS bowl.

Oklahoma, due to having just one conference loss, would get the automatic BCS bid. Texas would be next in line for an at-large out of the Big 12 but there could be a long line ahead of the Longhorns.

Notre Dame, if it is not in the title game, will get an at-large bid. Florida, Georgia, Clemson, Oregon State, and LSU all could be teams with one or two losses ahead of Texas in the BCS rankings and looking for at large bids.

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl or below: Last week, after the unconvincing win over Kansas, this is where most bowl projections had Texas. The general thought being the Longhorns could finish anywhere from 8-4 to 6-6. It is still a very real possibility that Texas does slip in one of its next two homes games and fall to this level. But the Longhorns’ currently sit third in the conference and are most likely to go 2-1 in the final three games. If Texas does go 2-1 the worst it could finish is tied for third. That would put the Longhorns in position to be picked for the Cotton or Alamo bowls.

Cotton or Alamo: As it stands right now this looks to be the most likely scenario for Texas. Kansas State appears as if it is going to win out. Oklahoma is poised to do the same thing. That means both should go to BCS bowls. Even if OU is somehow left out of a BCS at-large spot -- not likely if both of its losses are two undefeated teams -- Texas would still be in a position to go to the Alamo Bowl if it goes 2-1. West Virginia could be there tied with Texas in third with three conference losses. And the Mountaineers beat Texas. But the Longhorns, because of their national reach, are a far more appealing selection for those running a non-BCS bowl and as such should be the first selection.