Good riddance to Oklahoma; bowl matters next
SHEPHERDSTOWN — “Oklahoma, where the wind comes rushing down the plain” . . . and the Big 12 football teams beat West Virginia.
Good riddance to the Sooner State, after Oklahoma State outlasted the Mountaineers, 49-45, and the once-beaten Sooners won a pulsating, 59-56, verdict in Morgantown last Friday, to keep WVU from enjoying its first visit to a Big 12 Conference championship game.
With the conference title game being staged In Dallas, there’s little doubt the political types in the Big 12 office are happy with the matchup of Texas vs. Oklahoma selling the game’s tickets.
Whatever happens in the so-called Red River rivalry Part II, where the Longhorns and Sooners meet for a second time this season, the Mountaineers will be playing in a late-December bowl game.
There are 39 bowl games this holiday season. That meant some 78 teams with at least six wins were needed to fill all those bowl spots. And there are enough, since 81 teams won at least those six games. Those 81 could be joined by Virginia Tech, which carries its 5-6 record into a quickly arranged game in Blacksburg against the Marshall Thundering Herd of Huntington.
Fully seven teams from the 10-school Big 12 Conference have qualified for a bowl game, with at least a 6-6 record. Baylor and TCU got their sixth wins last week and Oklahoma State also has a 6-6 record ready for bowl participation.
Oklahoma is 11-1, Texas is 9-3, WVU is 8-3 and Iowa State is 7-4.
Two of the three teams that couldn’t get the necessary six wins acted according to the unwritten rules of the time and fired their coaches. Kansas and Texas Tech will be back under new management and Kansas State might want to do the same since their much-revered coach is almost 80 years old.
West Virginia won’t be chased by the Peach, Fiesta, Rose or Sugar bowls. And the Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl will host the semifinals of the four-team national playoffs.
A victory by Oklahoma in its second bout against Texas could boost it into the national playoffs, or at least into one of the more coveted bowls.
The Big 12 has bowl agreements with only six of the 39 games being staged.
Only one of those agreements is with a bowl in Florida, and that is the Camping World Bowl (once known as the Citrus Bowl) in Orlando. That game is on Dec. 28 against a team from the ACC.
The other five bowl agreements are with the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, the Cheez-It Bowl in Phoenix (last year the Cheez-It Bowl called itself the Cactus Bowl), the Outdoors Texas Bowl in Houston, the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio and the Liberty Bowl in Memphis.
West Virginia appeared in the Heart of Dallas Bowl in 2017, losing to Utah.
Each of the six bowls gets to select the Big 12 team it wants, with the Armed Forces Bowl having the first selection of the teams it can choose from for its Dec. 22 date.
The state of Oklahoma and the 108 points its two schools scored, versus WVU, are finally in West Virginia’s rear view mirror. Ahead is a bowl game in late December. Mountaineer fans will be going to either Houston, Fort Worth or San Antonio in Texas; Phoenix or Memphis in other states or Orlando near Disney World in the fabled Sunshine State.