MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia entered the 2021 season with plenty of goals in mind, and securing bowl eligibility was towards the top of that list.
Even though its record fell to 4-5 after a 21-point loss to Oklahoma State Saturday, WVU’s opportunity to play in a postseason game remains a very real possibility, and its upcoming schedule presents the ability for that opportunity to become reality.
WVU must win to of its remaining three contests to become bowl eligible. Of West Virginia’s three remaining opponents — Kansas State, Texas and Kansas — only one has an overall winning record this season and a .500 record in Big 12 play.
That team is West Virginia’s next opponent, Kansas State. The Wildcats are currently on a three-game winning streak, but all those wins have come against teams currently sitting in the bottom half of the Big 12 Conference standings.
With bowl eligibility still a possibility, how will West Virginia attack the remaining three games?
“Head on. Same way we’ve been attacking them,” redshirt senior safety Alonzo Addae said after Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma State. “Like I said, we’ll go back to the drawing board, look at the film, and then take the coaching, and go out and give our full effort for these last three games.”
Head coach Neal Brown and company have defeated both Kansas-based schools in each of the last two years. WVU will face K-State on the road Saturday, then end the regular season on the road at Kansas Nov. 27. Brown earned road wins against both of those programs in 2019.
In order for WVU to run the table over the remainder of its schedule, Brown will have to pick up his first win against the Longhorns.
West Virginia was close to doing so last season. WVU’s offense had the ball for a 4th and 1 play with 4:44 remaining in the game, but couldn’t convert on a pass to Ali Jennings. Texas was then able to run out the clock to secure a victory.
The Mountaineers will host the Longhorns Nov. 20 in their final home game of the regular season.
West Virginia won the 2020 AutoZone Liberty Bowl on New Year’s Eve last year. Brown has guided his teams to bowls in four of his previous six seasons as a head coach, and he’s 4-0 in those games.
Below are the bowl games that will feature a Big 12 team, along with the conference that’s also tied it:
Dec. 28, 2021 – Liberty Bowl (vs. SEC)
Dec. 28, 2021 – Guaranteed Rate Bowl (vs. Big Ten)
Dec. 28, 2021 – First Responder Bowl* (vs. AAC or ACC)
Dec. 29, 2021 – Cheez-It Bowl (vs. ACC)
Dec. 29, 2021 – Alamo Bowl (vs. PAC-12)
Jan. 1, 2022 – Sugar Bowl (vs. SEC)
Jan 4, 2022 – Texas Bowl (vs. SEC)
*Note: The First Responder Bowl on Dec. 28 has conference ties to three conferences, including the Big 12.