WVU Bowl Breakdown

WVU Bowl Breakdown


West Virginia has a handful of potential bowl destinations on the boards. Where might the Mountaineers land? Here’s the breakdown.

As of now, the Liberty (Memphis), Cactus (Phoenix), Texas (Houston) and Zaxby’s (Dallas), are the four destinations that are the most in play. While the Camping World (Orlando) is in the middle of the pecking order where the Mountaineers sit, the specter of a return visit to the same bowl destination as a year ago is one item that most schools, and the bowls themselves, try to stay away from. Of course, no rule is absolute (Oklahoma State figures to make a return trip to the Alamo Bowl, depending on the outcome of the Big 12 Championship game), but that’s a fairly good premise from which to start.

With that in mind, here are the lower tier bowls, and the Big 12 attendees in each over the last three years. Keep this handy, so you avoid picks like one ESPN pundit who predicted a WVU – Miami rematch in Orlando. The Big 12,  ESPN and the bowls try to lay out the best schedule that will attract the biggest numbers of fans overall, and that will provide draws for viewers.

YearAlamoCamping WorldTexasLibertyCactusZaxby's
2016Okla StWVUK-StateTCUBaylorNone
2015TCUBaylorTexas TechK-StateWVUNone
2014K-StateOklahomaTexasWVUOkla StNone

“I think from an excitement perspective you want to be able to showcase different teams,” Alamo Bowl representative Brandon Logan told BlueGoldNews.com. “[A repeat] wouldn’t be the ideal situation. But at the same time, people want to be entertained, and if we can produce that there might not be a problem with it.”

That, of course would depend largely on the opponent. If WVU got a huge name opposite, (say, Notre Dame) that might help. Still, it’s a repeat destination. So, while never saying never, we knock out the Camping World as a realistic destination for the Mountaineers. Iowa State, this year’s surprise team, would be a human interest draw against the Irish – a traditional name vs a newcomer.

It’s been three years since West Virginia visited Memphis for the Liberty Bowl, so that helps. So too does the distance, which is driveable for Mountaineer fans. Those two factors probably put the west Tennessee destination at the top of the heap, but there’s also another factor looming. Is that what ESPN wants? Just how much clout does the goliath of sports broadcasting have? The quick answer is “a lot”, but Logan says TV does not totally set the agenda.

“It is a factor,” he admitted. “Of course you want media exposure, and you want to make sure everyone involved is getting value. But at the same time, we have our own independent process of selecting the teams and making sure it’s a good fit.”

Is there a natural draw for the Mountaineers in the Liberty? There’s probably not one that moves the TV needle a great deal, but Missouri is reasonably close, and that would set up a repeat of the just concluded AdvoCare Invitational basketball championship. OK, that’s a bit thin, but the Tigers are a quality name.

It’s just been two years since the Mountaineers visited the desert for the Cactus Bowl, but there would be one undeniable draw — Arizona. Envision, for a moment, a West Virginia – Rich Rodriguez bowl match-up. It’s uncertain how many fans would travel cross-country to see that, but the pregame hype would be high on the scale for the pre-New Year’s bowls. The Wildcats might be headed for a bit lower bowl, and Arizona State would certainly fume if, after beating UA, it was relegated to a lower game, but in general teams within a loss of each other can be shuffled around in the bowl pecking order without too much angst. Bump that difference to two games, and it’s much more difficult to justify a leap in the selection process, but when teams are within one game of each other, most bets are off.  Note that WVU, Kansas State and Iowa State finished 7-5, while Texas and Texas Tech were 6-6.

“We have a team selection committee, and we look at a number of factors,” said Logan, doubtless describing the process employed by most of the lower-tier bowls. “It’s more than just records to us.”

Then there’s the Texas and Zaxby’s bowls, but both of those are possibilities of much less likelihood. Again, they can’t be ruled out, but a Texas Longhorns slot in that bowl, again nodding to the power of the Longhorn Network, seems a fit. Texas Tech, which squeaked into bowl eligibility by upsetting UT in the last game of the regular season, looks to have the Zaxby’s spot. That would leave WVU and K-State, and it makes more sense to put the Wildcats in the Cactus, where they have never played. Again, the narratives are a big draw.

“I think people like a good story,” Logan said.  “That’s what you want to identify and communicate those as to why this game matters. Whether it’s a coach that used to be at one University or a first-time visitor, there’s always a narrative to tell.”

All of these suppositions likely depend on Oklahoma beating TCU in the Big 12 Championship game and earning a spot in the CFP, while the Horned Frogs make one of the New Year’s Day bowls. If the Sooners were upset, they would still have a strong case for making one of the New Year’s bowls themselves, so that wouldn’t be an automatic crusher, but if one or the other did not, that would cause some serious bumping up and down the bowl lineup.

While West Virginia has had fewer fans at bowl games than the 20,000 it used to send forth to Jacksonville, Atlanta, Charlotte and the like, the Mountaineers still enjoy a healthy respect among bowl committees.

“WVU has a very engaged fan base, and they are very passionate about West Virginia,” Logan said during his trip to campus in late November. “They are willing to travel all across the country, and that’s something that resonates with [bowl committees].”

Had WVU knocked off Texas, the Mountaineers would have been in position to make an Alamo Bowl push, as  it would have been within one game of Oklahoma State. That two-game gap makes all the difference, though, so at this point it looks as if Memphis or Phoenix are the two most likely spots for a holiday trip for West Virginia fans.

Home forums WVU Bowl Breakdown

This topic contains 7 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Kevin Kinder Kevin Kinder .

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #39710

    WVU Bowl Breakdown West Virginia has a handful of potential bowl destinations on the boards. Where might the Mountaineers land? Here’s the breakdown.
    [See the full post at: WVU Bowl Breakdown]

    #39720

    Didn’t see Grier’s name mentioned in relation to
    bowl committee considerations for teams!? It seems
    that a WVU team’s value with and without him would
    be considerable in the evaluation!

    #39747

    Not sure WV can keep up with Memphis offense with Chuggs. That wouldnt be a good look.

    #39750

    A lot of thought (and time) went into that, and it’s appreciated, as always.

    This season, though, despite what’s happened with Grier, has to have a lot of fans–and most importantly boosters, questioning where the future of the program is headed. “Coach-speak” is one thing, but reality is altogether something different.

    Are they content? Are we as fans and alumni? Is the AD and who heads it?

    Myself, I see WVU being on the cusp of “committing” to the “next level,” or simply being “content” for where they are in football. Just how important is it for this school?

    Speaking only for myself, I know we’re not Oklahoma. We’re not an underachieving Texas. But we’re better than everything else this conference offers in football. And that’s a fact.

    Point is, either you step up and take charge, or you yield to those that do. You rule, or be ruled. And in this case, you play in the miserable excuse of a “national championship” that’s presently afforded to you or one of the better handouts, or you are simply content for a participation ribbon.

    Spun any other way is unacceptable as a WVU fan.

    #39753

    A lot of thought (and time) went into that, and it’s appreciated, as always.

    This season, though, despite what’s happened with Grier, has to have a lot of fans–and most importantly boosters, questioning where the future of the program is headed. “Coach-speak” is one thing, but reality is altogether something different.

    Are they content? Are we as fans and alumni? Is the AD and who heads it?

    Myself, I see WVU being on the cusp of “committing” to the “next level,” or simply being “content” for where they are in football. Just how important is it for this school?

    Speaking only for myself, I know we’re not Oklahoma. We’re not an underachieving Texas. But we’re better than everything else this conference offers in football. And that’s a fact.

    Point is, either you step up and take charge, or you yield to those that do. You rule, or be ruled. And in this case, you play in the miserable excuse of a “national championship” that’s presently afforded to you or one of the better handouts, or you are simply content for a participation ribbon.

    Spun any other way is unacceptable as a WVU fan.

    What is your point? Are you suggesting the football program is being run as accepting a 7 win season is OK?

    I would wholly disagree but then again I’m simply asking your view. Fans typically have erroneous views of what a coaching staff’s motives and intentions are for each game and season.

    #39760

    Didn’t see Grier’s name mentioned in relation to
    bowl committee considerations for teams!? It seems
    that a WVU team’s value with and without him would
    be considerable in the evaluation!

    That was one of the other things I asked the Alamo Bowl rep about – does style of play or star power matter? He said that it does help to have a high-profile player, but losing such a player wouldn’t keep a team out of the selection process. In this case, WVU’s reputation for travelling and watching the team probably helps more.

    #39771

    Not sure WV can keep up with Memphis offense with Chuggs. That wouldnt be a good look.

    After watching that Memphis – UCF game, certainly understand that worry. But, can’t be concerned about the opponent, anyone you play in a bowl is going to be at least decent, and probably pretty good. I also have the feeling that the defense will play pretty well in the bowl game. OU has an outstanding offense, and it made WVU look bad, but I think that’s as much credit to the Sooners as it is to WVU’s issues.

    #39772

    A lot of thought (and time) went into that, and it’s appreciated, as always.

    This season, though, despite what’s happened with Grier, has to have a lot of fans–and most importantly boosters, questioning where the future of the program is headed. “Coach-speak” is one thing, but reality is altogether something different.

    Are they content? Are we as fans and alumni? Is the AD and who heads it?

    Myself, I see WVU being on the cusp of “committing” to the “next level,” or simply being “content” for where they are in football. Just how important is it for this school?

    Speaking only for myself, I know we’re not Oklahoma. We’re not an underachieving Texas. But we’re better than everything else this conference offers in football. And that’s a fact.

    Point is, either you step up and take charge, or you yield to those that do. You rule, or be ruled. And in this case, you play in the miserable excuse of a “national championship” that’s presently afforded to you or one of the better handouts, or you are simply content for a participation ribbon.

    Spun any other way is unacceptable as a WVU fan.

    Lots of food for thought in this post, and well done.

    There is a difference between saying you want to compete at the top and actually taking the steps to do it. The first thing is money, obviously, and while WVU isn’t in the OU/OSU/UT range, I think it can be close enough to compete. If that’s the case, then the next thing, as you noted, is taking charge, and that includes finding the right people to run programs. People that can recruit and coach and sell what the school has to offer. That, to me, is the biggest challenge for WVU. It has coaches like Jon Hammond, Nikki Izzo-Brown and Mike Carey who are either doing it at the highest level or continuing to move upwards.

    Is HCDH in that class? I’ll leave that for another thread. I think Shane Lyons understands WVU might not be in the mix every year, like OU. But I don’t think he will accept one ten-win season out of four or five years, with minor bowls mixed in.

    This bowl game, while off the national radar, is going to be important in that regard. Can WVU overcome adversity, and show that the players care? (If you don’t care in this game, are you going to care in non-con games or against K-State or TT next year?) Can they make it a springboard for a better year next year?

    A lot of this is on recruiting, too. I think this year’s class is better than those of a few previous seasons, but is enough to make up some of this gap? And fairly soon?

    I have never been an advocate of firing a coach over the results of one year or two. Too many quick triggers ruin programs. HCDH does have a body of work built up now, though, and I think the results of 2018 are going to weigh a great deal in any decision ADSL might make.

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Home forums WVU Bowl Breakdown