Monday, October 5, 2015

Wild weekend muddies Cats’ bowl picture

Just 48 hours ago, Kansas State looked like it would more than likely be headed to the Holiday Bowl in San Diego.

But after two days of college football upsets, Wildcat fans might not know where they’re headed until tonight at 7:30.

With Northern Illinois’ loss in the MAC championship game on Friday, the Huskies lost their shot at the BCS.

Before that, the Holiday Bowl began to look like a near lock. But after Oklahoma upset Oklahoma State on Saturday, eliminating the Cowboys from the BCS, the Sooners started to become a BCS possibility, giving the Big 12 a shot at two BCS bowl bids.

That possibility came about thanks to CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm, a BCS expert who was predicting the Sugar Bowl could come down to Oklahoma or Oregon on Saturday night.

If that were to happen, the Wildcats could go to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, a step above the Holiday Bowl. A trip to the BWW Bowl would pin the Wildcats up against a Big Ten team, potentially Nebraska, and they would be playing in Arizona for the second straight year, after playing in the Fiesta Bowl last year.

It’s a nearly identical scenario to the one K-State faced two years ago, when it finished high enough in the BCS to be considered for a spot in the Sugar Bowl, while Oklahoma State was headed to the Fiesta Bowl.

In 2011-12, the Sugar Bowl passed on K-State and chose Michigan to matchup against ACC champion Virginia Tech, and the Wildcats went to the Cotton Bowl. With Alabama in the national title game that year, the SEC affiliated bowl became available for two at-large teams.

This time around, the SEC will not be playing in the National Championship game, meaning Oklahoma or Oregon would play SEC champion Auburn, at least according to Palm.

Also playing into the possible Oklahoma to Sugar Bowl projection will be the reshuffling of bowl affiliations, moving the Big 12 from Fiesta to Sugar for the start of the new college football playoff system next season. The Sugar Bowl will feature the top team from the Big 12 and SEC when it is not a part of the playoff system, which will first occur in the 2015-16 season.

ESPN’s bowl experts were split going into the weekend on how they saw things going, but if K-State were to play in the Holiday Bowl, it was believed they could play the loser of the Pac-12 title game — Arizona State — or Oregon.

But if Oregon were to sneak into the BCS, the Sun Devils would rise up and the next team up would be UCLA, who lost to Baylor in the Holiday Bowl last year.

Earlier this week, Holiday Bowl executive director Bruce Binkowski said in an interview with The Mercury that they preferred not to take the same teams in back-to-back years, meaning the bowl could fall to USC.

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