Kansas State Football’s win over Baylor last week did more than put the Wildcats in position to reach the Big 12 tournament later this season.
It also gave the Wildcats a realistic chance of earning an invitation to a major bowl game.
K-State hasn’t played in one of the so-called New Year’s Six Bowls (Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, Peach, Rose, Sugar) since winning 11 during the 2012 season. But that decade-long drought could come to an end if it ends. Wildcats strongly.
There are several new bowl possibilities for both the Wildcats (7-3, 5-2 Big 12) and Kansas Jayhawks (6-4, 3-4) this week. Here’s a look at the latest projections:
K-State Wildcats Overview
remaining table: In West Virginia, Kansas.
Current Big 12 Rank: 2
Analytics: Wild cats can Earned a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game By finishing the regular season with two more wins. A 2-0 finish could also seal a postseason trip to the Sugar Bowl on December 31 in New Orleans.
Every sportswriter who plans bowl matches currently has K-State headed to the Sugar Bowl, and it’s easy to understand why.
The Sugar Bowl is contractually obligated to invite the highest-ranked teams from the Big 12 and the SEC who are not making the playoffs this season. All signs currently point to K-State taking home the honor at the end of the regular season.
Here’s why: TCU is on course to reach the playoff if it remains undefeated or (maybe) only sustains one loss en route to a Big 12 championship. If the Horned Frogs finish in the top four and K-State finishes in second place in the Big 12 standings, The Wildcats will celebrate the New Year in Louisiana. But they also likely end up in the Sugar Bowl if they win their last two games and then upset TCU in the Big 12 title game.
K-State is not in the cut-off picture. So the Big 12 Championship would also lead to a Sugar Bowl invitation for Chris Klieman’s team. TCU would likely miss the playoff run in this scenario and end up playing in another major bowl, potentially the Cotton Bowl.
If the Wildcats end up in the Sugar Bowl, they will likely play Alabama, LSU, or Tennessee. The most likely opponent at the moment looks like LSU, which would create a rematch with last season’s Texas Bowl. K-State won that game in blowout style, but LSU sent its JV roster to Houston for the game. The rematch in New Orleans will be very different.
Of course, K-State needs to finish strong to finish in the Sugar Bowl. If TCU wins the Big 12 and misses a playoff berth or the Wildcats stumble down the stretch, they will suddenly look to the Alamo Bowl and Cheez-It Bowl as consolation prizes.
Kansas Jayhawks bowl overview
remaining table: Texas, in the Kay state.
Current Big 12 Rank: T6
Bowl Capabilities: Guaranteed Bowl Rate vs. Maryland Cross work networkLiberty Bowl vs. South Carolina via Hey ho! sportsGuaranteed Bowl Rate vs. Wisconsin Cross sports newsArmed Forces vs. Tulane via ESPNLiberty Bowl vs. Missouri via ESPN.
Analytics: Kansas fans will have to wait a little longer to make travel plans for the first Jayhawks bowl game since 2008.
There are still plenty of options on the table for Lance Liebold’s soccer team.
The Jayhawks could end up in one of the best Big 12 games if they win their last two games. But they can also be selected near the bottom of the bowl standings if they finish with two more losses.
Right now, the most likely postseason destinations are the Guaranteed Rate Bowl on December 27 in Phoenix, the Liberty Bowl on December 28 in Memphis and the Armed Forces Bowl on December 22 in Fort Worth.
Bowl managers could give Kansas an interesting game if the Jayhawks win another game or two. The Liberty Bowl picks the fourth In the Big Bowl arrangement 12 And KU would be pitted against an opponent from the Securities and Exchange Commission, possibly Missouri. The Guaranteed Rate Bowl picks the next and will match KU with a Big Ten team like Maryland or Wisconsin.