After a wild final weekend, the wait is finally over.
Kansas State is headed back to the desert to play the Big Ten’s Michigan Wolverines in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 28 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.
Just 72 hours ago the Wildcats (7-5, 5-4 Big 12) appeared to be a lock for the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. But after several big upsets this weekend, K-State will now face the Wolverines for the first time in school history.
The craziness started on Friday night when Bowling Green upset Northern Illinois in the MAC championship game, opening a BCS at-large spot for a Big 12 team. Oklahoma — which is headed to the Sugar Bowl to play Alabama — strengthened is resume with a come-from-behind victory at Oklahoma State on Saturday. Baylor then beat Texas to win the Big 12 championship and earn a trip to the Fiesta Bowl.
With two Big 12 teams now in the BCS, K-State moved up to fourth in the bowl pecking order — sending the Wildcats to Tempe — instead of the Holiday Bowl, which was left to take Texas Tech.
K-State’s road to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl — which kicks off on Dec. 28 at 9:15 p.m. (CST) on ESPN — completes one of the best in-season turnarounds in Big 12 history. The Wildcats opened the season with a home loss to North Dakota State and then lost their first three Big 12 games to Texas, Oklahoma State and Baylor.
Down, but not out, K-State rebounded from that 2-4 start by winning five of its last six games to end the season at 7-5 and finish fifth in the Big 12. The Wildcats will be making their fourth straight bowl appearance.
Michigan also finished the season 7-5 — including 3-5 in the Big Ten — under third-year head coach Brady Hoke. But unlike the Wildcats, the Wolverines ended the year on a skid by losing five of its last seven games — including a 42-41 loss in the regular-season finale against Ohio State. Michigan’s only wins down the stretch came against Indiana and a triple-overtime thriller against Northwestern.
K-State will have a seating allotment of 11,000 tickets for the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Public tickets for K-State fans who did not place a pre-order are available now at the K-State Online Ticket Office at www.kstatesports.com and through the K-State ticket office in Bramlage Coliseum or via phone at 1-800-221-CATS beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Monday. Fans are encouraged to order through K-State’s official allotment to ensure that all Wildcat fans are seated in the K-State sections of the stadium. The K-State Alumni Association will also provide official travel packages to the bowl game. Visit the Alumni Association’s official bowl travel page — www.k-statesportstravel.com — for travel package information.