Nov 9, 2013; Lubbock, TX, USA; The Kansas State Wildcats enter the field against the Texas Tech Red Raiders
Back in mid-October, with the Wildcats sitting at 2-4 and the season in a seemingly downward spiral, I was writing articles about how K-State could make it’s way to bowl eligibility. One month later, with Bill Snyder’s squad sitting at 5-4 and looking like the conference’s second most dangerous team behind Baylor, that conversation has evolved to which bowl game K-State will play in. And with a little luck, that could be the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe, Arizona.
The Wild Wings Bowl is held on December 28th in Sun Devil Stadium, and would be a huge opportunity to develop exposure for the program. Additionally, the game pits the Big 10’s #4/5 against the Big 12’s #4. With the Big 12 suffering another down year, this would be an excellent opportunity to finally get a postseason win after a series of losses. Adding even more intrigue is that ESPN is currently projecting Nebraska to be the Big 10’s representative – an opportunity to beat an old rival who jumped ship on the Big 12 and competes with K-State for regional recruits.
But first the Wildcats have to get there. With three conference losses – all against the Big 12’s top three teams – the best K-State can finish at this point is #4 in the league. However, ESPN is projecting K-State to finish fifth and go to the Holiday Bowl, with Oklahoma going to the Wild Wings Bowl. Yet K-State controls its own destiny in this regard. It starts on Saturday, when TCU comes to visit. The Horned Frogs are in a tailspin at 4-6 and just 2-5 in the Big 12. The offense is finding new ways to utilized Treyvone Boykin, but K-State seems primed to run TCU out of town by the start of the 4th quarter.
More important is the subsequent week, when the Sooners play in Manhattan. While Oklahoma is 7-2 on the year with a win over Notre Dame and ranked 18th in the nation, there’s no question who has the momentum in this match up. The Sooners are coming off a brutal beat down at the hands of Baylor and, as I’ve been saying since this summer, will never scare teams with its passing attack. With K-State getting this game at home, there’s a solid chance K-State stands at 5-3 in conference play when the final whistle blows in this contest. With just a visit to KU left on the schedule, pencil in a 6-3 finish if the Wildcats get past the Sooners.
Assuming the Sooners also win out but for the game against K-State, that would also leave OU at 6-3 on the year with the tiebreaker going to K-State for winning the head-to-head. Oklahoma must still play Oklahoma State, but unless K-State wins, none of that matters. At 4-3, Texas Tech is also capable of finishing 6-3, but K-State owns that tiebreaker as well.
One final thing to consider: the fifth place team in conference play goes out West to play the #3 Pac-12 team. With the Pac-12 looking capable of rivaling the SEC this year, no one wants to play the conference’s #3 (currently projected to be Arizona State) – although the conference is expected to put two teams in BCS Bowls in Stanford and Oregon. Besides Tempe sounds like more fun. So here’s to finishing the regular season on a six-game winning streak and a trip to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. EMAW!