West Virginia is sitting at 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the conference. They need just one more win to get bowl eligible. With the remaining four games left on the Mountaineers schedule, it’s possible they may not see bowl eligibility.
Iowa State comes to Morgantown this weekend with a 6-2 record, ranked 14th in the country, and currently in first place in the Big XII. This used to be one of those games you could chalk up as a win, not anymore.
Then the Mountaineers travel to Manhattan, Kansas – a place they have yet to walk away from with a win. Kansas State may be having a down year and it could be due to an injury to starting quarterback Jesse Ertz. He was expected to be back for the Kansas game last week. Now, it looks like he will be back in the lineup for Texas Tech this week – a week before the Mountaineers make that trip to Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
The following week, West Virginia will host a Texas team that has improved each week. Besides the first game of the year, the Longhorns have played some of the best teams in the country down to the wire. This team is extremely physical, which the Mountaineers are struggling with this year.
In the final game of the year, the Mountaineers must travel to Norman, Oklahoma to face a program they have yet to beat since joining the Big XII. In case you didn’t notice, they have a Heisman contender at quarterback, beat Ohio State on their home field and are ranked 8th in the country.
As bleak as that all sounds, West Virginia is still capable of winning all those games. The offensive performance we all witnessed against Oklahoma State, wasn’t the offense we have seen the seven previous games, so one bad game doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to continue to play like that.
Tony Gibson has improved the defense each week. They have been causing more turnovers, giving the offense more opportunities to put points on the board and even had an interception for a touchdown against the leading passer in college football, Mason Rudolph.
Now, if West Virginia did find themselves winning the last four games, they could end up in Dallas. That’s right, the Big XII Championship game. They would need some help, but that help is not farfetched.
The two teams that West Virginia would hold the tie-breaker over, if they won out, is Iowa State and Oklahoma. So, they would need TCU or Oklahoma State to lose two out of their next four games. Let’s look at who they have left on their schedules.
Oklahoma State – Oklahoma, @Iowa State, Kansas State, Kansas
TCU – Texas, @Oklahoma, @Texas Tech, Baylor
Oklahoma State could possibly lose their next two games, and again with Kansas State getting their starting quarterback back and with Bill Snyder being the wizard that he is, that’s not going to be an easy game either.
TCU is going to play against a tough defense against Texas this week ,although, I don’t know if Texas will have the offense to beat them. It’s an in-state game and anything can happen and last week’s loss to Iowa State may carry over for the Horned Frogs, then having to go on the road back to back weeks, that’s going to be tough.
Here is the list of Bowl tie-ins for the Big XII in order of what the teams will finish. Now, you would assume the Big XII champ would at least get a New Year’s Six Bowl, so that would bump the number two team to the Alamo Bowl and the 3rd place team to the Camping Word Bowl, and so on and so on.
1. Valero Alamo Bowl vs. Pac-12
2. Camping World Bowl vs. ACC
3. AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl vs. SEC
4. AutoZone Liberty Bowl vs. SEC
5. Cactus Bowl vs. Pac-12
6. Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Big Ten
It’s great to look at the possibility that the Mountaineers still have a chance in Dallas and some of the other Bowls, but if they continue to play like they did against Oklahoma State, they may just find themselves sitting at home watching the bowl games instead of participating in one.