The final CFP poll will be released Sunday afternoon allowing the Valero Alamo Bowl to make its selection for the Friday, December 28 match-up.
Last night’s penultimate CFP poll did provide insight on who those participants could be.
Big 12 teams in the mix:
- #14 Texas: The Longhorns are making their first Big 12 Championship Game appearance since 2009, as 2nd-year head coach Tom Herman has led them to a 9-3 regular season record. Powered by dual-threat quarterback Sam Ehlinger and a dynamic receiving duo in Lil’ Jordan Humphrey and Collin Johnson, the Longhorns will head to the Allstate Sugar Bowl if they beat #5 Oklahoma on Saturday. The will also head to New Orleans if they lose to a Sooners squad that is selected to the CFP semifinals. If Oklahoma wins and is not in the Top 4, Texas will be available to the Valero Alamo Bowl.
- #16 West Virginia: Led by head coach Dana Holgorsen and his Heisman candidate quarterback Will Grier and record-setting wide receiver David Sills V, the Mountaineers have one of the most explosive offenses in the country. Grier leads the high-powered Big 12 Conference in passing touchdowns and yards, and has a top-10 passer rating in the country. Since the Sugar Bowl is committed to either Oklahoma or Texas, West Virginia would be available to make its first trip to San Antonio.
- #23 Iowa State: The Cyclones are one of the hottest teams in the country, having won six of their last seven, on their way to a 7-4 record. Led by head coach Matt Campbell, they have one game remaining on the schedule as they’ll host Drake on Saturday. Their streak began against then #25 Oklahoma State when the Cyclone offense started true freshman Brock Purdy due to an injury to the Iowa State starting quarterback. Purdy reeled off five straight wins before Iowa State fell to Texas a few weeks ago. Purdy has been one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the country, throwing 15 TDs and just three interceptions. Iowa State will be on the board when the Valero Alamo Bowl makes their Big 12 selection.
Pac-12 teams in the mix:
- #11 Washington: The Huskies are the Pac-12 North representative in the Pac-12 Championship Game that will be played on Friday, November 30 in Santa Clara, California. Led by head coach Chris Petersen since 2014, the Huskies have made a bowl every year since Petersen took the job, including a CFP semi-final (Peach) and CFP NY6 (Fiesta) appearance. The Husky offense is propelled by All-Conference quarterback Jake Browning and tailback Myles Gaskin. In addition to UW’s balanced offense, the Huskies rank 8th nationally in points surrendered per game. If they beat Utah Friday, Washington will punch its ticket to the Rose Bowl. If they lose, they should be available to the Valero Alamo Bowl.
- #13 Washington State: The Cougars are led by head coach Mike Leach and quarterback Gardner Minshew II. Minshew II leads the country in nearly every passing category and has led the Cougars to a 10-2 regular season record and 2nd place finish in the Pac-12 North. Mike Leach’s team has been to four bowl games since the former Texas Tech leader took over in Pullman, including back-to-back berths in the Holiday Bowl in 2016 and 2017. Most media are projecting Washington State not to make a New Year’s Six bowl games and thus being available to the Valero Alamo Bowl. However, this weekend’s games could adjust CFP poll and a move up in the rankings could propel the Cougars into a CFP at-large slot.
- #17 Utah: The Utes clinched a spot in the Pac-12 Championship a few weeks ago when they knocked off Colorado on the road. The Utes are led by Kyle Whittingham who has the best bowl winning percentage in NCAA history, having won 11-of-12 in his career. Whittingham’s 9-3 regular season record in 2018 matches his best at Utah since 2009. Backup quarterback Jason Shelley has performed admirably for the Utes, since starter Tyler Huntley went down with an injury early this month. Like the Huskies, a win Friday has them Rose Bowl bound while a loss puts them in the pool of available teams for the Valero Alamo Bowl.
This year is the fifth season that the Valero Alamo Bowl has the first pick in both the Big 12 and Pac-12 conferences after the six CFP bowls.
The first four games from these improved team selection rights delivered four straight Top-15 matchups:
2014: #14 UCLA 40, #11 Kansas State 35
2015: #11 TCU 47, #15 Oregon 41 (3/OT)
2016: #12 Oklahoma State 38, #10 Colorado 8
2017: #15 TCU 39, #13 Stanford 37
Will Sunday deliver the Valero Alamo Bowl a fifth straight Top 15 matchup?
The official match-up should be announced on Sunday by 3 p.m. CST followed by a call with the head coaches of the participating teams at the Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse Team Announcement Party for bowl partner
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