AUSTIN, Texas — Texas is most likely going to one of these five bowl games: Valero Alamo Bowl, Camping World Bowl, Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl, AutoZone Liberty Bowl, or Cheez-It Bowl.
The bowl game selection process is very fluid, so every game result matters.
With that being said, here is a breakdown of the most likely possibilities.
Last week, an eye-catching bowl game projection was published by ESPN: Texas and Texas A&M projected to play each other in the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl in Houston.
UT hasn't played Texas A&M since 2011, when the Aggies moved from the Big 12 to the SEC. It's a rivalry that draws a large interest from both fan bases and for good reason. KVUE spoke to both athletic directors about bringing back the game on an annual basis and you can read about that here. But for now, the 2019 bowl season would be an avenue to rekindle a fiery rivalry that college football has been missing for almost a decade.
When this projection was released, KVUE looked into the likelihood of the UT versus Texas A&M pairing via bowl conference tie-ins, records, etc. It did make sense.
There was still one week of the college football season though at the time, and whether or not UT won its last game (making them 7-5 instead of 6-6) would have seemingly affected the team's "ranking" in the Big 12, so to speak, with a slew of other 7-5 and 8-4 teams.
Here was a breakdown of the last bowl game predictions from Nov. 25.
The ESPN analyst who projected Texas versus Texas A&M has now moved on from that prediction and now thinks UT will square off with Oregon in the Valero Alamo Bowl. The Alamo Bowl is the second-highest bowl to get a bid at Big 12 teams, according to the Big 12 bowl selection process page.
So, why would a Texas Longhorns team, now with a 7-5 record, be projected that high?
Ironically, the Longhorns' bowl game destination indirectly relies – to a degree – on how arch-rival Oklahoma's season ends.
Here's that reasoning: ESPN's Mark Schlabach predicts Oklahoma to be the fourth team selected to the College Football Playoff, which would bump up Baylor to be the Big 12 representative in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
As stated in the Nov. 25 bowl game projection article, after the College Football Playoff is determined and the Sugar Bowl Big 12 team is picked, the remaining bowl-eligible teams are selected in this order, according to the Big 12:
1. Valero Alamo Bowl
2. Camping World Bowl
3. Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl
4. AutoZone Liberty Bowl
5. Cheez-It Bowl
6. SERVPRO First Responders Bowl
Therefore, in this case, Texas would be one of four teams (Kansas State, Iowa State and Oklahoma State) the Alamo Bowl has first dibs at inviting. Schlabach foresees the Alamo Bowl choosing the Longhorns over the other three teams.
ESPN's Kyle Bonagura predicts the other side of the coin for Oklahoma and the trickle down effect it shows. Bonagura has Utah as the fourth College Football Playoff team instead of OU. Oklahoma would then be the Big 12 team in the Sugar Bowl and Baylor would get added to the slew of bowl-eligible teams that the six bowls listed above can invite. Baylor would certainly be the favorite to secure an Alamo Bowl invite in that scenario, which is what Bongura predicts in the ESPN article.
Texas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Oklahoma State would then hypothetically be the remaining teams to be chosen from.
This is the scenario for Texas where it would make sense to pair the Longhorns with the Aggies in the Texas Bowl.
Due to the SEC's bowl selection process, the Texas Bowl seems to be the most likely fit for the Aggies regardless of what happens with the College Football Playoff. Texas A&M falls into the tier of the SEC's "pool of six" bowls based on their spot in the conference standings. The SEC's "pool of six" bowls are: Outback Bowl, TaxSlayer Bowl, Music City Bowl, Texas Bowl, Belk Bowl and Liberty Bowl. The Texas Bowl is the only one of those six locates in the Lone Star State. The Aggies are also the only Texas-based team in the SEC, which is more than likely why there seems to be a consensus that Texas A&M gets selected for the Texas Bowl. Bongura, Schlabach and also CBS Sports all project the Aggies in the Texas Bowl.
Where the disparity comes in is who the Aggies' opponent would be.
PAUL LIVENGOOD'S BOWL TAKE:
Personally, I think it only makes sense for the Texas Bowl to try their hardest to secure that Longhorns-Aggies matchup unless the Alamo Bowl or Camping World Bowl snag UT first. I understand the scenario where Texas could, in theory, be selected for the Alamo Bowl if Baylor is no longer on the table. In my eyes, the Longhorns are going to either the Alamo Bowl against versus whichever Pac-12 team they pick, likely to be Oregon, or against the Aggies in the Texas Bowl. The marketability of Longhorns versus Aggies at a Texas venue just seems like too big of a possibility to pass up.
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