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Wednesday, October 30, 2013
The bottom five of Big 12's bowl chances

By Jake Trotter

At the beginning of every week, Kansas State coach Bill Snyder has a state of the union with his team about where they stand in the conference and where they stand for making a bowl game.

The Wildcats are out of the conference title picture. So are West Virginia, TCU, Iowa State and Kansas. But all five still cling to bowl hopes. Here’s a look at the chances each has of making a bowl game:

Kansas State Wildcats (3-4, 1-3 Big 12)
Remaining schedule: Iowa State, at No. 15 Texas Tech, TCU, No. 10 Oklahoma, at Kansas

Chances of a bowl: The West Virginia win was huge for K-State’s bowl aspirations. Now all the Wildcats have to do is beat Iowa State and TCU at home, then take care of Kansas on the road in the Sunflower Showdown. K-State should be favored in all three of those games. Games at Tech and at home against Oklahoma aren’t automatic losses, either. The Wildcats suffered some tough losses during the first half of the season. But they are finally healthy again, and with the way QBs Jake Waters and Daniel Sams are playing, good bets to get to a bowl.

West Virginia Mountaineers (3-5, 1-4)

Remaining schedule: at TCU, Texas, at Kansas, Iowa State

Chances of a bowl: No team in the Big 12 has played a tougher schedule than West Virginia. The schedule lightens up quite a bit. But that doesn’t guarantee the Mountaineers will get bowl eligible. Even if they beat Kansas and Iowa State, they’ll still have to knock off TCU in Fort Worth or Texas at home. West Virginia is a two-touchdown underdog at TCU. And the Mountaineers will likely be heavy underdogs against Texas, too. West Virginia is still capable of wining either game. But the Mountaineers will have to play much better than they did Saturday in Manhattan to have a chance in either.

TCU Horned Frogs (3-5, 1-4)

Remaining schedule: West Virginia, at Iowa State, at Kansas State, No. 6 Baylor

Chances of a bowl: The players’ preseason pick to win the Big 12 suddenly is in danger of just getting to a bowl. If you chalk up the Baylor game as a loss, that would mean TCU would have to win its next three games, including in Ames and Manhattan, to become bowl eligible. The Horned Frogs have the defense to do that. But do they have the offense to win three in a row? QB Casey Pachall is back. He’ll have to play well to get the TCU offense back on track -- and the Frogs to a bowl.

Iowa State Cyclones (1-6, 0-4)

Remaining schedule: at Kansas State, TCU, at No. 10 Oklahoma, Kansas, at West Virginia

Chances of a bowl: The Cyclones have suffered some tough losses, notably the one-point defeat at home to Texas. Now they have to win out to get to a bowl. With a road trip to Oklahoma on the remaining schedule, that’s just not happening.

Kansas Jayhawks (2-5, 0-4)

Remaining schedule: at Texas, at No. 18 Oklahoma State, West Virginia, at Iowa State, Kansas State

Chances of a bowl: To become bowl eligible, the Jayhawks would have to knock off Texas or Oklahoma State on the road. Kansas should be more focused on snapping its 24-game Big 12 losing streak.