Manhattan, KS– 9 days ago K-States bowl picture seemed crystal clear. Beat Baylor and solidify at least a Fiesta Bowl berth, then play Texas for a trip to the National Championship. Surely the number 1 team in the country wouldn’t lose to the worst defense in the country. But once again, the Sports Illustrated curse reared its ugly head and the Cats went down. Now with one game left to play where does that put K-State in the bowl picture?
For starters, beat the Texas Longhorns for the 5th time straight and the Cats are headed to the Fiesta. K-State is a double digit favorite at home, and one would imagine K-States most decorated quarterback since Michael Bishop won’t lose his last game at home. But after the 52-24 loss to Baylor, the nation isn’t really sure what to make of Kansas State.
None the less a win against the Longhorns on Saturday will book the Cats plane ticket to Tempe and deliver the schools first Big 12 Championship since Ell Roberson and Darren Sproles torched Oklahoma in 2003. This would likely pit K-State against a fellow 1 loss team…… the Oregon Ducks. In what would be a fitting game between two teams whose national title hopes died just minutes apart.
If the Cats lose to Texas, it starts to get interesting. K-State will have to hope TCU took down Oklahoma earlier in the day. An Oklahoma loss would also deliver K-State a conference title. But if K-State loses and Oklahoma wins, the Sooners will be headed for a Fiesta Bowl while K-State will be left hoping for a BCS at large berth.
History has shown that the Cats can not rely on an at large berth to get them into the BCS. The Cats have been left on the outside looking in on 3 occasions in terms of getting an at large bid, 1998, 2002, and 2011. 1998 was of course an alliance bowl bid, but considering the Cats were a fumble away from the National Championship, an invite to the Alamo Bowl was more than a little harsh. Most recently, everyone will remember the Sugar Bowl debacle from last season when two lower ranked teams were picked over K-State.
If the Cats did somehow manage an at large berth, it would likely mean a Sugar bowl bid against either Alabama or Georgia. It is also possible the Sugar and Fiesta bowl could agree to swap teams, sending the Big 12 champion Oklahoma to the Sugar, and K-State to the Fiesta. This could happen due to Oklahomas multiple trips to Tempe.
If the Cats lose to Texas, and do not receive an at large bid, they will most likely end up in what some fans might see as the most fitting bowl of all, the Alamo Bowl. It is unlikely the Cotton would select K-State 2 years in a row, and would more likely select Texas or Oklahoma State. That would leave the Cats finishing the season in the exact same bowl the 1998 team did.
If history has anything to say, its Fiesta or Alamo at this point. Lets hope Bill Snyder and the rest of the Cats can avoid an upset hangover and come out with their best on Saturday. If not, the Cats might end the season with nothing to show for it.