State teams get ready for sure-to-be-entertaining bowl season 

Football is gearing up for the college bowl season and the NFL's playoff run and postseason. There's excitement in the air and we may even be graced by an appearance or two from the jolly one himself.


No, not Mark Mangino, although Kansas' head coach has loaded his sled full of Jayhawks and soon will be prancing through the frosty, star-lit December skies en route to a Jan. 3 Orange Bowl date with Virginia Tech.


Mangino's crew is one of eight Big 12 Conference schools that earned a berth in one of the 32 bowl games upon which football faithful will gorge themselves over the next three weeks or so.


In what has proved to be one of the wildest and most unpredictable seasons in recent memory, the Big 12 finished with three BCS-eligible teams, including Oklahoma, Missouri and KU. While much talk focused on the Southeastern Conference and the Pac-10, the Big 12 proved it deserved some mention in that conversation as well.


Although none of the big three managed to squeeze into the BCS title game, it was no doubt a prosperous regular season. Add to the mix the other five bowl-bound teams " Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Colorado, Texas and Texas A&M " and depending on how they fare, it could be a holiday season filled with candy and nuts, instead of ifs and buts.


Heck, some die-hard Oklahoma fans even believe there's still a formula for their beloved Sooners to win a share of the national title. It would take a combination of a ho-hum, blah-fest between Louisiana State University and Ohio State in the BCS title game on Jan. 7, and an ultra-impressive performance a few days earlier by the third-ranked Sooners against West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl.


It's a long shot. But in this crazy season of uncertainty, only one thing is for sure: Almost anything is possible. "? Jay Upchurch



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