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2013-2014 Big 12 bowl games: Conference TV schedule and things to know

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This season's Big 12 was top-heavy -- can those teams come away with big wins, with teams in three of this year's five or so biggest bowls?

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Michigan vs. Kansas State

December 28, 10:15 p.m., ESPN

Michigan started the season 4-0, with tight wins over suspect opponents like Akron and Connecticut balancing out a win over a ranked Notre Dame. A four-overtime loss to Penn State ruined the team's perfect record, and Michigan would end up losing to Michigan State, Nebraska, Iowa and Ohio State. The Wolverines will hope to get more consistent play on both sides of the ball against Kansas State.

After miraculously winning the Big 12 last year, Kansas State struggled this season without quarterback Collin Klein, losing their opener to FCS powerhouse North Dakota State. Their first three games in conference play were losses, to Texas, Oklahoma State and Baylor, before four straight wins (including one over Texas Tech) brought them bowl eligibility.

Valero Alamo Bowl: Oregon vs. Texas

December 30, 6:45 p.m., ESPN

Well, this isn't exactly where either of these teams wanted to end up, is it? This is one of those situations where you have to decide whether you want to judge a bowl by its reputation or its matchup, because this is certainly a fun matchup.

Texas's defense has struggled against the run at times this year (see those 550 yards they gave up against BYU?), and Oregon's spread attack could give them fits. Marcus Mariota finished the year with 39 total touchdowns, and the Ducks have seemingly countless offensive weapons.

Texas won six straight following their awful 1-2 start, with a blowout win over Oklahoma as the highlight of the season, but convincing losses to Oklahoma State and Baylor knocked them out of the Big 12 title hunt. The Longhorns have seen their defense improve rapidly under Greg Robinson, but will also have offensive concerns heading into this matchup.

Holiday Bowl: Arizona State vs. Texas Tech

December 30, 10:15 p.m., ESPN

Late-night bowl action for this one, as it's hard not to see the Red Raiders as overmatched against the Pac-12 runners-up. The Sun Devils went 10-3 this season, with a very impressive win over Wisconsin and other victories over USC, Washington and UCLA. Two of their losses came to Stanford, with a third coming to Notre Dame, and Todd Graham has done a fantastic job turning this program around. Taylor Kelly and Marion Grice are legitimate stars on the offense, and the defense has been good enough to allow them to win games.

Texas Tech jumped out to a high ranking after a 7-0 start against ... just about nobody, in truth. The Red Raiders did not beat a single bowl team, and finished the year with five consecutive losses to the Big 12's five other winning teams. The Red Raiders' best player is SB Nation First-Team All-America tight end Jace Amaro, who caught 98 passes for 1,240 yards and seven scores.

Fiesta Bowl: UCF vs. Baylor

January 1, 8:30 p.m., ESPN

UCF gets a chance to prove itself, as the champions of the AAC will face the high-flying Baylor Bears. The Golden Knights went 11-1, with just a three-point loss to South Carolina standing in the way of them and an undefeated record. Their top win is undoubtedly Louisville, but after that it's a steep drop to Penn State and Houston. Blake Bortles is a great quarterback who can make plays, and he has an able running back behind him in Storm Johnson.

Baylor was the hot pick for a national title run after an amazing start to the season, and the Bears still managed to finish the year with the top-rated scoring offense in the country, averaging 53.3 points per contest. Bryce Petty continued the recent strong tradition of terrific Baylor quarterbacks while Lache Seastrunk and Antwan Goodley are among the best playmaking duos in the country.

Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Alabama

January 2, 8:30 p.m., ESPN

In mid-November, it looked nearly impossible that Oklahoma could find their way to a BCS bowl. Sure, they had wins over ranked Notre Dame and Texas Tech teams, but neither was looking quite as good as the numbers to the left of their names might have suggested. The only real challenges the Sooners faced were against Texas and Baylor -- both resulted in blowout losses.

But Oklahoma recovered, easily defeating Iowa State and Kansas State before pulling out a dramatic upset win in Stillwater to rob rival Oklahoma State of the conference crown while simultaneously taking away their BCS berth.

The Sooners will face Alabama, who many (especially in SEC country) still believe to be the best team in the country. The winners of the past two national title games, the Tide lost a heartbreaker to Auburn on a returned field goal for a touchdown with no time remaining. Alabama has a solid quarterback in AJ McCarron, two fantastic playmakers in T.J. Yeldon and Amari Cooper, and one of the best defenses you will ever see.

Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Missouri

January 3, 7:30 p.m., FOX

Oklahoma State suffered one of the more bizarre losses of the season, as the Cowboys fell to a 4-8 West Virginia team that had just lost 37-0 to Maryland the week before. Mike Gundy's squad recovered, winning seven in a row -- including blowout wins over Texas Tech, Texas and undefeated Baylor -- before losing at home to lose their conference title and BCS berth.

Clint Chelf has done wonders in the second half of the season as the Cowboys' quarterback, and the dual threat will be faced with a tough task in this one.

Missouri started the year 7-0, with wins over ranked Georgia and Florida teams before a double-overtime loss to South Carolina seemingly dashed their national title hopes. But after wins over Ole Miss and Texas A&M, the Tigers found themselves in prime position to get a shot at the crown again, as the winners of the SEC East and representatives in the conference title game. Auburn reigned supreme, however, and Missouri and their aggressive defense end up playing an old conference foe.

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