Kansas State already had assured a bowl berth for itself before last weekend arrived.
A 27-17 victory over Iowa State last Saturday, then, only should improve K-State’s potential destination.
Yet only one thing seems concrete following the win: now boasting an 8-4 overall (5-4 Big 12) record, the Wildcats won’t fall to the Cheez-It Bowl, a game in which they’ve played in four times over the years, their most appearances of any bowl.
That’s a good sign for Kansas State, because it shows how well they’ve played this season.
Of the Big 12’s bowl partners, the Cheez-It has the next-to-last pick, above only the First Responder Bowl in Dallas.
Yes, with their play under first-year head coach Chris Klieman, the Wildcats can set their sights higher.
One factor to keep in mind, however, is that K-State’s postseason trip, as well of those of other bowl-eligible teams in the conference, largely hinges upon the result of Saturday’s Big 12 championship game between Oklahoma and Baylor — and then the final College Football Playoff rankings Sunday.
If both the Sooners and Bears make it to New Year’s Six bowls, every other Big 12 team will receive a better placement.
For K-State, four bowls remain distinct possibilities: the Alamo, Camping World, Texas and Liberty. One tidbit that looms largely is that the final league standings are irrelevant to the Big 12’s bowl partners. Per the conference’s agreement with its partner bowls, the selection committee “may pick from any available teams when it reaches its spot in the selection order.”
Now for the prognostications.
CBS Sports has the Wildcats landing in the Alamo, the most prestigious bowl in the conference aside from the Sugar. And if CBS Sports’ projection holds true, K-State will face Southern Cal.
National college football reporter Brett McMurphy (ironically, a former ESPN employee) has that same matchup for the Wildcats in his own bowl projections.
USA Today and Athlon Sports have K-State slated for the Liberty Bowl, which is set for 2:45 p.m. Dec. 31 in Memphis, Tenn.
There is one lone holdout who believes K-State still will pack its bags for Phoenix and the Cheez-It Bowl yet again: Brad Crawford of 247Sports, who foresees a matchup with Mountain West foe Air Force, because the Pac-12, the bowl’s other conference partner, doesn’t have enough eligible teams.
But these are just projections.
Throughout the course of the day Monday, other intel trickled in via Twitter.
The bad news, for K-State fans hoping to head to a Florida-based bowl game for the first time in school history, is that Camping World officials likely have their eyes set on the Lone Star State.
“Hearing a lot of Texas-Notre Dame buzz for the Camping World,” Dennis Dodd, a national college football writer for CBS Sports, wrote on Twitter.
Hearing a lot of Texas-Notre Dame buzz for the Camping World.— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) December 2, 2019
The good news for the Wildcats is they may wind up in an even more distinguished bowl.
“Hearing there continues to be healthy debate over at the Alamo Bowl about which Big 12 team to take if OU and Baylor stay in NY6. KSU obviously would fill the hotels and is an attractive choice,” Mike Finger, a sports columnist for the San Antonio Express-News, wrote on Twitter. “But if they get a chance at USC-Texas, I’d be surprised if they pass.”
Hearing there continues to be healthy debate over at the Alamo Bowl about which Big 12 team to take if OU and Baylor stay in NY6. KSU obviously would fill the hotels and is an attractive choice.But if they get a chance at USC-Texas, I'd be surprised if they pass.— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) December 2, 2019
Finger then followed up with the factors the Alamo committee, which has the first pick of the Big 12’s bowl-eligible teams, likely is considering with K-State.
“Pro: Wildcats viewed as fan base most enthusiastic about coming. They’d stay multiple nights. Good chamber of commerce pick,” Finger wrote. “Con: Last year’s game set record for out-of-state visitors, which means less pressure to fill hotels this year.”
For your KSU crowd, two Alamo factors:Pro: Wildcats viewed as fan base most enthusiastic about coming. They'd stay multiple nights. Good chamber of commerce pick.Con: Last year's game set record for out-of-state visitors, which means less pressure to fill hotels this year.— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) December 2, 2019
By Sunday afternoon, K-State — as well as media members and the fan base — will know exactly where it’s headed later this month.