Big 12 bowl eligibility at 5 teams, with West Virginia close

Big 12 bowl eligibility at 5 teams, with West Virginia close

Published Nov. 16, 2015 5:50 p.m. ET

West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen will finally talk about the Mountaineers' chances to get into a bowl this season.

''We got five (wins),'' Holgorsen said Monday during the Big 12 coaches teleconference. ''When it's one more, that's when I feel it's appropriate to start talking about it.''

Texas Tech on Saturday became the fifth Big 12 team to get the sixth victory that guarantees bowl eligibility. The Red Raiders joined the four Top 25 teams still contending for the league title and a possible playoff spot - No. 4 Oklahoma State, No. 7 Oklahoma, No. 10 Baylor and No. 11 TCU.

West Virginia (5-4), which has won two games in a row since an 0-4 Big 12 start against the playoff contenders, has three more chances to get eligible for its 14th bowl in 15 seasons. Texas (4-6) and Kansas State (3-6) are the only other Big 12 teams that can get to six wins, but neither can lose another game.


''It was tough in October. There's no doubt about it, we played four really good teams and caught them all four, it seems, like when they were playing at their best,'' Holgorsen said. ''We've got about 20 seniors. We met with those guys, and said we've got a lot to play for.''

The Mountaineers are at winless Kansas on Saturday, then play Iowa State and Kansas State. The Wildcats, who also play the Jayhawks (0-10) and Cyclones (3-7) need three consecutive wins.

''Yes, we address it, but we can't belabor the point because it is common knowledge and understood by everybody in our program, or anybody that's not in our program for that matter,'' K-State coach Bill Snyder said. ''If we're thinking down the road for three games, then we're going to be in trouble.''

Kansas State is 0-6 in Big 12 play for the first time ever, a stretch that includes a 36-34 loss to Oklahoma State and seven-point losses to Baylor and TCU. The Wildcats are home for the Dec. 5 regular-season finale against WVU.

Texas Tech ended a three-game losing streak and got bowl eligible Saturday with a 59-44 victory over Kansas State. The Red Raiders next have their regular-season finale Thanksgiving night at Texas, which then will have another game at Baylor.

''They're going to come out and go compete,'' Longhorns coach Charlie Strong said, when asked about keeping his players focused not throwing in the towel. ''I don't see them quitting at all.''

The Big 12 has agreements this season with seven bowl games, and might not have enough eligible teams to fill those spots. That doesn't even count a national semifinal game if the Big 12 champion makes the four-team playoff. If left out of the playoff, the Big 12 winner would instead play an SEC team in the Sugar Bowl.

CONTROL THEIR DESTINY: Either Oklahoma State or Oklahoma can claim the Big 12 title by winning its last two games, which includes their Bedlam rivalry to end the regular season.

''We understand the task at hand,'' Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said.

The Sooners have won five games in a row, the latest over two-time defending Big 12 champ and previously undefeated Baylor.

Some other notes from the Big 12 call:

- TCU coach Gary Patterson on the status of banged-up quarterback Trevone Boykin and injured receiver Josh Doctson: ''Possibly questionable.''

- Baylor coach Art Briles, whose team has to follow its first loss by playing at undefeated Oklahoma State, was asked about the challenge of that kind of turnaround. ''We use the word opportunity,'' he said.

- Texas Tech averaged 60 points a game at home this season. The Red Raiders are scoring half that on the road. ''We've played very well at home,'' coach Kliff Kingsbury said. ''We've got to somehow translate that to our road games as well.''



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