With the final week of the regular season over, the bowl picture is much more clear. While the Frogs won’t know what bowl game they go to until at least Sunday afternoon, it is a lot easier to predict where TCU will go bowling.
An exhaustive guide to bowl situations illustrated where TCU could go for a bowl game. Now that the final regular season weekend of football is over, here is an updated version of where TCU will go bowling:
WHAT HAPPENED OVER THE WEEKEND:
Three major games were played over the weekend that shaped the Frogs‘ outlook.
Kent State lost to Northern Illinois in the MAC championship, 44-37. With their loss, Kent State is not eligible for BCS contention.
Oklahoma defeated TCU 24-17, leaving them with a share of the Big 12 title and very likely at-large bid to a BCS game.
Baylor pulled an upset over Oklahoma State, 41-34. This victory left four teams tied for fourth place in the Big 12, with Oklahoma State only one game ahead of those teams.
With Kent State out of the BCS picture, and Oklahoma back in, the Big 12 will have eight slots for eight eligible teams (since Oklahoma will play with an at-large bid).
Kansas State will play in the Fiesta Bowl, as they won the conference. Texas will likely play in the bowl with the next selection, the Cotton Bowl.
With that, the next four bowls (Alamo, Buffalo Wild Wings, Holiday and Meineke Car Care) all could see the Frogs as a participant. TCU will land in one of those bowls, so here are the odds that TCU goes to them:
The Alamo Bowl, with the third selection in the Big 12 pecking order, will likely select Oklahoma State as its Big 12 tie-in. Why?
The Alamo Bowl is close enough to drive, but too far to return back to Stillwater, Okla. This means San Antonio would benefit from hotel revenue, restaurant revenue and tourism revenue. A matchup against the second selection from the Pac-12, likely to be UCLA, would provide an interesting matchup and tickets would sell for the contest.
While Oklahoma State is most likely to go, the Alamo Bowl must have some interest in TCU. After all, the bowl committee has sent representatives to three TCU games this year (Texas, Kansas State and Oklahoma). Because the bowl has sent representatives so often, perhaps the committee wants a Texas team to represent the Big 12 in a Texas bowl game.
Still, the odds seem slim for TCU to be picked over Oklahoma State.
Percent TCU gets in: 20%
BUFFALO WILD WINGS
The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, located in in Tempe, Ariz., gets the fourth selection of the Big 12 and pairs with a Big Ten opponent.
As it stands now, this is the most likely place where TCU ends up. The Phoenix metroplex is a familiar, but not too familiar, place for Horned Frogs fans who went to the 2010 Fiesta Bowl.
The opponent would be a Big Ten school, currently projected to be Michigan State. The schools have met only once, and haven’t in almost 60 years. A new opponent in a semi-familiar setting could move tickets and sell seats.
With the game in Arizona, flights, hotels and tourism all benefit a trip from TCU. Flights are easier to get to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport than other airports such as San Diego International.
With these factors, the Frogs could very well find themselves in Arizona on Dec. 29.
Percent TCU gets in: 50%
The Holiday Bowl gets the fifth selection of the Big 12 to be paired up with the third choice of the Pac 12.
If TCU is in this situation, a combination of Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas Tech have been selected already for the Alamo Bowl and Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
However, it seems highly unlikely TCU will go to this bowl game. Since 2006, TCU has traveled to the city of San Diego three times for a bowl game. That’s half of TCU’s bowl games since that time.
What’s most important is that TCU played in San Diego last year for the Poinsettia Bowl. Besides a low turnout in ticket sales and attendance, schools tend to not want to repeat the same bowl they went to the year before.
While the Holiday Bowl will feature a better opponent and have a higher payout than the Poinsettia Bowl, the game is still played in the same stadium, in the same city, with the same committee. It seems highly unlikely the committee would select TCU to repeat another visit to Qualcomm Stadium.
A team which has only been to San Diego once, Texas Tech, will have the alumni base to send a large amount of fans to California. In a matchup against either USC or Oregon State, the Holiday Bowl committee will likely pick the Red Raiders to represent the Big 12 in the Holiday Bowl.
Percent TCU gets in: 5%
MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL
The only way the Frogs go to the Meineke Car Care Bowl is if the three previous bowls choose teams other than TCU.
If TCU is in this situation, the Frogs, Iowa State (6-6) and West Virginia (7-5) will be the last bowl-eligible teams left in the Big 12.
Knowing West Virginia is bowl eligible, it is difficult to imagine them going to any bowl game other than the Pinstripe Bowl in New York’s Yankee Stadium. The region is the closest for West Virginia fans to travel to and the Mountaineers will play an old Big East rival, likely to be Cincinnati, Connecticut or ideally, Pittsburgh.
The Meineke Car Care Bowl will prefer a Texas team over Iowa State, thus it is likely TCU’s last resort is Houston. If this situation happens, Iowa State will play in the Heart of Dallas bowl with the final selection of the Big 12.
If TCU is selected in an earlier bowl, such as the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Baylor could likely be in TCU's place for this game. Baylor or TCU will fill this spot for the Big 12.
Percent TCU gets in: 25%
The Alamo Bowl committee will pick Oklahoma State, the Holiday Bowl committee will choose Texas Tech and the Meineke Car Care Bowl committee will prefer Baylor.
TCU travels to Tempe, Ariz. to play in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.