I just got an interview with Jerry Palm of CollegeRPI.com, and discussed BCS bowl scenarios with him. The outlook is not great for the Kansas State Wildcats from a BCS perspective. This is what he told me:
TD: What are K-State’s chances of getting picked for the Sugar Bowl over Michigan?
JP: “If Michigan qualifies (for a BCS bowl) they’re in. It’s that simple. K-State and Boise State wouldn’t be chosen for a game like that above a team with a superstar player and a national brand.”
TD: How much impact does a fan base have on bowl selection, compared to the actual resume between the two teams?
JP: “Those bowl games do not care about a team ranked four or five spots ahead of them. It’s all about who has the bigger following and who will bring more fans. Is that fair? Maybe not, but it’s the way things are.”
TD: In a worst-case scenario, if K-State lost to Iowa State and Baylor beat Texas, could the Bears be picked for the Alamo over KSU?
JP: “I don’t think so. Honestly, I think K-State’s chances at the Cotton are really good (if OSU beats OU). Oklahoma is the least attractive team to the Cotton Bowl out of the Big 12, because they play Texas there every year. When you factor in K-State’s fan base, I think the Cotton would really like to take K-State if given the chance.
So, there you have it. K-State’s chances at getting the the Sugar Bowl are almost entirely dependent on Michigan staying out of the top 14 in the BCS Standings. For that to happen, K-State should be rooting for Georgia in the SEC title game (if Oklahoma State could get into Top 2), for a very close Big Ten title game, and for a Southern Miss upset of Houston. Fingers crossed.
But of course, the most important thing is….
Beat Iowa State.
A look at the experiences the Wildcats have had in each bowl game they may end up participating in this season, and the chances I predict of K-State ending up there:
K-State appearances: None
Note: The Sugar is usually reserved for a matchup between the SEC champion and a BCS at-large school. The Big 12 hasn’t sent a team to the Sugar Bowl since Oklahoma last to LSU in the 2004 National Championship Game.
K-State appearances: 2 (1-1)
Last: 2001 (Beat Tennessee 35-21)
Note: The Cotton Bowl credits K-State with the survival of the game, after an unexpectedly large amount of Wildcat fans flocked to Dallas for the 1997 meeting with BYU. Cotton Bowl representatives have been to several K-State games this season and have commented encouragingly about the thought of the ‘Cats playing there again.
K-State appearances: 1 (0-1)
Last: 1998 (Lost to Purdue 37-34)
Note: When the Wildcats last played in the Alamo Bowl in 1998, it did so without much desire to be in the game at all. K-State had fallen to Texas A&M in double-overtime weeks earlier that cost it a spot in the National Championship game.
K-State appearances: 2 (1-1)
Last: 2001 (Lost to Syracuse 26-3)
Note: A lackluster 6-5 regular season placed the Wildcats in the 2001 Insight.com Bowl, but since then, the game has earned more respect as a legitimate postseason destination. When K-State played Wyoming in the game in 1993, it was known as the Copper Bowl.
Okay. The chaos is deafening. Here are my current bowl projections for BCS and Big 12 games. For K-State fans, the key game to watch next week is Houston vs. Southern Mississippi in the Conference USA Championship Game. Below my projections are the scenarios that would affect the Wildcats.
BCS National Championship Game: LSU vs. Alabama
Orange: Virginia Tech (ACC) vs. West Virginia (Big East)
Sugar: Michigan (At-large) vs. **Houston** (At-large)
Rose Bowl Game: Wisconsin (Big Ten) vs. Oregon (Pac-12)
Fiesta: Oklahoma (Big 12) vs. Stanford (At-large)
BOLD: Teams I consider to be locks.
ITALICS: Spot of most uncertainty/potential for K-State.
**: Spot of potential for K-State with loss by that team next week.
Big 12-affiliated Bowl Games
Cotton: Oklahoma State vs. Arkansas
Alamo: Kansas State vs. Washington
Insight: Baylor vs. Nebraska
Holiday: Texas vs. Utah
Texas: Texas A&M vs. Iowa
Pinstripe: Missouri vs. Rutgers
TicketCity: Iowa State vs. Southern Miss
To go into more detail on where K-State may end up, I see things like this:
If OKLAHOMA wins… OU to Fiesta, OSU to Cotton, KSU to Alamo (this is what I predict)
If OKLAHOMA STATE wins… OSU to Fiesta, KSU to Cotton, OU to Alamo
If OKLAHOMA and SOUTHERN MISS win… OU to Fiesta, OSU to Sugar, KSU to Cotton
If OKLAHOMA STATE and SOUTHERN MISS win… OSU to Fiesta, KSU to Sugar, OU to Cotton
If OU, SOUTHERN MISS and GEORGIA win… OU to Fiesta, Georgia to Sugar, OSU to Sugar, KSU to Cotton
If OSU, SOUTHERN MISS and GEORGIA win…OSU to Fiesta, Georgia to Sugar, KSU to Cotton
If UCLA beats OREGON… UCLA to Rose, no other changes
If CLEMSON beats VIRGINIA TECH… Clemson to Orange, no other changes
If K-STATE loses to IOWA STATE… K-State to Alamo, and none of the rest of this matters.
In my eyes, KSU makes a BCS bowl if…
- Southern Miss beats Houston AND LSU beats Georgia, or
- LSU beats Georgia AND Sugar Bowl selects K-State over Michigan, or
- Georgia beats LSU AND OSU beats OU AND Sugar Bowl selects K-State over Michigan
Again, these are just my predictions. Obviously, still a lot that has yet to be determined. Exhale.