With WVU’s regular season ended, we take a look at the possibilities for where the Mountaineers will be spending part of their Christmas vacation and who they might face.
First let’s recap the BIG XII bowl tie-ins and selection order (note this is the order they pick in, other than the Sugar Bowl, which must take the conference champion if they’re not in the CFP, a bowl may select any team available.)
- Sugar Bowl
- Valero Alamo Bowl
- Camping World Bowl
- Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl
- Autozone Liberty Bowl
- Cheeze- It Cactus Bowl
- Lockheed Martin Armed Forces
Readers will know that both the Peach Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl have, collectively, 3 at-large spots to bid out as well, but it seems unlikely that WVU would be much of a candidate for those over LSU, Washington State, Florida or Penn State (Georgia is locked into either the Sugar Bowl or the CFP).
So that aside let’s look at each of the bowls and the likelihood for WVU to go to them:
- Valero Alamo Bowl (Big XII vs Pac 12) - December 28, 2018 San Antonio Texas | Two real scenarios seem to exist for WVU to make our first appearance in the Alamo Bowl: Texas wins the Big XII and Oklahoma goes to either the Fiesta or the Peach bowl or Oklahoma wins the Big XII and goes to the CFP with Texas taking their spot in the CFP. The loser of Utah vs Washington seem like good possibilities here, with Wazzu looking like a solid Fiesta Bowl participant.
- Camping World Bowl (Big XII vs ACC) - December 28, 2018 Orlando, FL | At the outset of Saturday, this seemed like the most likely spot for WVU to land, but it feels like the needle has really shifted. The scenario is pretty straight forward here: Oklahoma beats Texas but is not in the CFP. A wildcard could be the Camping World Bowl desiring Iowa State’s rabid fan base, versus the prospect of WVU having weak ticket sales after a disappointing finish to the season. That scenario would feel more likely if they were to take Syracuse instead of NC State.
- Sugar Bowl (Big XII vs SEC) - January 1, 2019 New Orleans, LA | The only real chance of this would be for: Oklahoma to win the Big XII and get into the CFP, Texas to fall behind WVU in the final CFP rankings. It could happen, but it seems unlikely — but if it did WVU would likely play Georgia.
- Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl- December 27, 2018 Houston, Texas | As I mentioned above, if the Camping World Bowl wanted to take Syracuse I think they’d give serious thought to Iowa State instead of WVU (Syracuse travels poorly.) Which would almost certainly lock us into the Texas Bowl versus an SEC team — possibly South Carolina or Auburn. (Missouri could also be in play, but I feel we would balk at that.)
- Autozone Liberty Bowl, Cheeze-It Cactus Bowl, or Lockheed Martin Armed Forces | There just doesn’t feel like many ways WVU ends up in either of these three bowls. Theoretically I guess if WVU were to get shifted into the Texas Bowl spot and they really wanted Missouri we could ask to go to either of these three but uh... yeah not very likely.