Texas Tech could face the Aggies or even Mike Leach in a bowl


With the 2015 regular season in the books, Texas Tech fans are beginning to look towards this year’s bowl game. Texas Tech fans are excited to make travel plans and have begun discussing the possible opponent. But with one week to go in the college football season and the Red Raiders facing an off week, everything is subject to change depending on the outcome of the remainder of the Big 12 football games.

The first factor that will impact Texas Tech is whether or not the Big 12 champion, Oklahoma or Oklahoma State, qualifies for the 4-team College Football Playoff. Again, that knowledge will not be known until after next weekend’s slate of games. But should either the Sooners or the Cowboys land in the playoff, Texas Tech will move up a spot in the Big 12 bowl pecking order.

Another way for Texas Tech to be invited to a more prestigious bowl game is for another Big 12 team to be selected for one of the “New Year’s 6” bowl games. These six bowl games, the Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the Peach Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, and the Orange Bowl are the six games that host the two college football playoff semifinal games on a rotating basis with the remaining four games selecting top teams from power 5 conferences to play on either New Year’s Eve or January 1st.

If the Big 12 champion is not selected for the College Football Playoff it will play in one of these six games. However, there are two spots in the “New Year’s 6” not assigned to a specific conference meaning that a second Big 12 team could be invited to play in one of these games thus elevating Texas Tech’s bowl position.

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So with that said, where does Texas Tech stand and where are the 7-5 Red Raiders most likely to play this postseason?

Texas Tech is currently fifth in the Big 12 but with the sixth-place West Virginia Mountaineers still to play Iowa State today and Kansas State next weekend, Texas Tech will finish 6th in the conference if West Virginia wins one of its two remaining games.

There is an extremely small possibility that Texas Tech could play an ACC opponent like North Carolina, Florida State, Louisville or Pittsburgh in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Florida on December 29th. But this would require at least three Big 12 teams being selected for a “New Year’s 6” game and Baylor’s loss to TCU on Friday makes that scenario unlikely.

There is tremendous talk about the Texas Bowl, which is next in the Big 12 selection order, pitting Texas Tech against former Big 12 rival Texas A&M in Houston, also on December 29th. This is by far the most desired destination for Texas Tech fans because of the opponent and because of the ease of getting to Houston during the holidays.

But before you buy your Texas Bowl tickets, keep in mind how much of a role politics plays in the bowl selection process. While the individual bowls do get to pick the matchups and teams they feel will be the best draw for their game, do not for one second think that the conferences sit idly by waiting to see what happens.

With the ugly divorce between the Big 12 and Texas A&M, there is plenty of bad blood remaining and conference higher-ups from either the SEC or Big 12 could angle to keep the Aggies from playing such a heated former Big 12 rival. Also, there is no guarantee that the Aggies would be open to playing an in-state rival due to their grudge against the Big 12.

If Texas Tech is selected for the Texas Bowl, don’t be surprised to see LSU as an opponent, which means that we would get to watch the Tiger’s superstar running back Leonard Fournette run wild through the Red Raider defense.

Memphis might not be the most appealing city to visit in late December (or any other time of the year for that matter) but Texas Tech fans might want to start getting their heads right with a trip to the Liberty Bowl. Here, Texas Tech would be pitted against another SEC foe.

With the Texas Bowl likely to want a Texas team, the likelihood of a matchup against the Aggies in Memphis is almost out of the question. Texas Tech might be pitted against Auburn, Mississippi State, Tennessee or even Arkansas (which Texas Tech beat 35-24 in week 3 of the season) in the Liberty Bowl.

The third of the most likely bowl destinations is the Cactus Bowl in Phoenix, Arizona on January 2nd. This scenario might present a matchup almost as enticing as a game against the Aggies.

The Cactus Bowl has a tie in with the Pac-12 Conference and a possible foe could be Washington State, coached by Texas Tech’s all-time winningest head coach Mike Leach. The Pac-12 could also send Sonny Dykes’ California Golden Bears to the desert pitting Texas Tech against the son of the program’s second-most winning head coach Spyke Dykes.

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The speculation about bowl bids will be discussed throughout the next week by Texas Tech fans and this is a welcome occurrence. Last year, Red Raider fans learned how frustrating it is to be left out of the college football bowl excitement as well as not having one last game to enjoy before the long winter sets in.

No matter where Texas Tech ends up playing its bowl game, just be proud that Kliff Kingsbury and this team have been able to improve upon last year’s 4-8 mark and earn a spot in a bowl giving fans and the seniors on the team one last chance to enjoy Texas Tech football.