The Kansas State Wildcats can earn a bowl trip the old-fashioned way on Saturday by beating West Virginia in the regular-season finale and earning a sixth win.
But there’s also a back door to a bowl game available this year. Because there won’t be enough six-win teams to fill out the massive bowl lineup, at least two teams with 5-7 records will get a bowl invite. If Kansas State doesn’t notch a sixth victory, the traditional number of wins required to earn a bowl bid, will it still accept an invitation?
"It will be the option of our players,” Snyder said. “I will provide them the opportunity to make a decision on whether they would want to attend a bowl or not.”
Perhaps Snyder will nudge them toward accepting the invitation. Kansas State has an exceptionally young roster this season and bowl teams get an extra two weeks worth of practices, which can be valuable to the coaching staff and players before taking a winter hiatus.
“That has always been our approach,” Snyder said. “There is a great deal of value in bowl games, as it relates to the development of younger players and giving them the opportunity to have those additional 15 days of practice, which is another full spring practice. There is a great reward for that.”
The Wildcats’ players would just as soon forgo such a decision and make it automatic with a win in Saturday’s final home game. A win would also give Kansas State a third consecutive victory after opening Big 12 play with six consecutive defeats.
"We have a statement to make," sophomore linebacker Elijah Lee told Robinett. "We have something to play for. This is something we have been waiting for all season. It’s something you talk about before the season. We have got to get to a bowl game. It’s a ‘go big or go home’ now that we are in this position. It’s time to go big."