With bowl eligibility secured, where will the Mountaineers be spending the holidays?

With bowl eligibility secured, where will the Mountaineers be spending the holidays?

NCAA Football: Iowa State at West Virginia
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Will it be another trip down to Memphis or a cross country flight to the desert to play a Big 10 team?

By defeating Kansas, WVU has secured bowl eligibility — but where will WVU land? Let’s start with the ground rule reminders from our last installment: for 2021-2022, the conference is guaranteed six bowl bids. The College Football Playoff and the New Year’s Six games (Sugar, Rose, Fiesta and Peach) select first. The Fiesta and Peach do not have contractual agreements with any conference and will select two “at-large” teams each.

The Big 12, unlike the ACC, Big Ten and SEC, does not determine the placement of teams. Big 12 bowl partners will make selections from the remaining conference teams not selected by. Following is the order of selection. A bowl may pick from any available teams with .500 or better records when it reaches its spot in the selection order. After the placement of those teams, slots will be filled from among the pool of remaining teams.

  1. Allstate Sugar Bowl vs SEC
  2. Valero Alamo Bowl vs Pac-12
  3. Cheez It Bowl vs ACC
  4. Texas Bowl vs SEC
  5. AutoZone Liberty Bowl vs SEC
  6. Guaranteed Rate Bowl vs Big Ten

After this weekend, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State and Texas Tech and WVU have all qualified for bowl eligibility.

Based on this weekend the Big XII Bowl Picture looks like:

Bowls WVU is not in contention for:

  • Orange Bowl – Oklahoma State vs Georgia: With the upset of Ohio State and poor showing by Alabama against Auburn, it’s difficult to imagine a likely two loss Alabama jumping conference champion Oklahoma State or a one loss Notre Dame.
  • Sugar Bowl – Baylor vs Alabama: It would be extremely Ok Lite to lose to Baylor, but in that case they would get shuffled to the Fiesta Bowl, while Baylor would still end up here.
  • Alamo Bowl -Oklahoma vs Utah: Well, in our last column I predicted a lame duck coach in this game, but it turns out it was Oklahoma not Baylor that gets the honor of getting blown out by Utah.
  • Cheez It Bowl – Kansas State vs Clemson: Despite losing to Texas, I still think the Cheez It Bowl will take Kansas State here, having had Iowa State previously.
  • Texas Bowl – Texas Tech vs LSU: As I noted last week, the Texas Bowl hasn’t selected two non-Texas teams since 2013 and I’d be shocked if they did so this year. WVU could end up in play here if A&M were available, but I think they would try to sell a boat load of tickets with a Tech/A&M match up. Iowa State would also be a very attractive option if they got A&M.

WVU Possibilities:

  • Liberty Bowl – Iowa State vs Missouri: It seems unlikely Tennessee would fall to the Liberty, and having had WVU last year I am just not sure they’d go for that match up when they can snag Iowa State’s legions of Clones fans and possibly Missouri.
  • Guaranteed Rate Bowl – WVU vs Minnesota: This still feels like the most likely outcome based on how things are falling into place.

For now I am predicting Minnesota, but the Big Ten’s bowl situation will be pretty fluid until the conference title and playoff/NY6 are decided. Options for WVU in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl could include, in addition to Minnesota, Maryland, Penn State or Purdue. Of those, I think Penn State and Maryland would prefer other matchups. If we end up in the Liberty Bowl it could be any number of 6-6/7-5 SEC teams but most likely Auburn or Missouri.

A final possibility could involve a situation where only Baylor or Oklahoma State have a NY6 Bowl. In that case, one team from the Big 12 would be sent to either the Armed Services Bowl or the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl. If that were to happen, I think WVU would still be in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl as both of those bowls are in Texas and would likely maneuver to get Texas Tech.

Author’s Note: Yes, there is a story going around on a certain website that says WVU is not actually eligible due to LIU scholarship questions. That story is wrong. Mike Casazza of 247 confirmed yesterday: