No title on line, but bowl implications left for Big 12 - Sports Illustrated

No title on line, but bowl implications left for Big 12

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While the Big 12 title has already been claimed by No. 3 Oklahoma, there are still potential bowl implications in the two league games on the final Saturday of the regular season.

Kansas State (5-6, 2-6 Big 12) can get its sixth win for bowl eligibility in the regular-season finale at home against West Virginia (7-4, 4-4). The Wildcats are also a potential bowl team with a losing record, though the chances for Texas (4-7, 3-5) doing the same now seem unlikely even with an upset victory at No. 12 Baylor (9-2, 6-2).

''Would we accept a 5-7 (bowl invitation), I don't even want to think about it,'' veteran K-State coach Bill Snyder said Monday. ''That's not the direction we're trying to move right now, and I certainly don't want a way out.''

The NCAA Division I council later Monday approved a plan to make teams with 5-7 records eligible for at least two bowl bids - and as many as five - based on their Academic Progress Rates.

Nebraska has the best APR among 5-7 teams at 985. Kansas State, with a 976 APR, would be eligible to go to a bowl win or lose Saturday.

Snyder said, as always, the players would get an opportunity to help decide what the Wildcats do if they are in position for a bowl invitation.

But with an APR of 958, Texas is lower that K-State and at least six other teams that will or could finish with five wins. Bowl selections will be made in order of best available APR.

Longhorns coach Charlie Strong said on the earlier teleconference that he wouldn't even address his players about the possibility of going to a bowl game at 5-7.

''I just really haven't thought about that, because with this Baylor game coming up, the preparation and focus is there,'' Strong said.

The Big 12's final teleconference of the season included only the four coaches who haven't finished the regular season.

The Sooners (11-1, 8-1) clinched their ninth Big 12 title with a 58-23 win Saturday night over No. 14 Oklahoma State (10-2, 7-2). Oklahoma has won seven games in a row since its 24-17 loss against the Longhorns on Oct. 10.

Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas Tech, who have all finished their regular seasons, are bowl bound.

With the likelihood of Oklahoma making it into the four-team College Football Playoff, another win for No. 12 Baylor could lead the Bears to being the Big 12 representative against an SEC team in the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day.

''Our bowl future is Saturday at 11 a.m., that's kind of where we're focused on right now,'' Baylor coach Art Briles said. ''All that other stuff will take care of itself after our game.''

The Bears' bid for a third consecutive Big 12 title ended with a 28-21 double-overtime loss at No. 11 TCU on Friday night. But even a win against the Horned Frogs wouldn't have been enough since Oklahoma won Saturday.

West Virginia has won its last four games since starting Big 12 play losing consecutive games to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor and TCU. Kansas State has won two games in a row since being 0-6 in the Big 12 for the first time ever.

''Two very similar teams, there's no question,'' West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. ''The scheduling, both 3-0 to start the season and playing pretty good, then having to play some of those teams in the Big 12, stacked a couple of losses up on it. Both teams hung in there.''