Bowl officials were vague, hush-hush, all that - but as of Saturday, it appeared the safest bet was that Kansas University's football team would receive an invitation to play in the Fort Worth Bowl on Dec. 23.
The Jayhawks' 24-21 overtime victory over Iowa State on Saturday guaranteed KU's roller-coaster season would last one more game. Eight bowl slots are allotted for Big 12 Conference teams, and KU's victory assured the league would have eight bowl-eligible teams this season.
"I'm not going to be presumptuous here, but I think there's a good chance that we may receive an invitation to the Fort Worth Bowl," KU coach Mark Mangino said. "Here's how I'll put it to you: We just want to play another game. Whoever will have us, we'll come with a smile on our face and gratitude."
Fort Worth Bowl executive director Tom Starr attended Saturday's game, and officials for the Alamo Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl and Houston Bowl also were credentialed. Starr said after Saturday's game that because of the uncertainty of having five Big 12 North teams with six or seven victories, he wasn't sure what team would make it down the pecking order to his bowl.
The Fort Worth Bowl gets last choice, after the BCS, Cotton, Holiday, Alamo, Independence, Houston and Champs Sports.
"We can't make any kind of bid until they pick ahead of us," Starr said.
It's believed that the Champs Sports Bowl, formerly the Tangerine Bowl, isn't interested in having KU for the second time in three years. The Nebraska, Missouri and Iowa State fan bases, meanwhile, are known to travel well, something bowl officials like.
And, because the Colorado Buffaloes are the Big 12 North champions, it's unlikely Kansas would get picked ahead of them.
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That leaves KU for the Fort Worth Bowl, which will be played at 7 p.m. on Dec. 23 in Amon G. Carter Stadium, the home field of TCU. That bowl matches the Big 12 against a Conference-USA team, and Starr said Texas-El Paso, Tulsa and Houston were the most likely candidates.
The official bowl selections for Big 12 teams will be made after the conference championship game, with an announcement expected soon after, perhaps Dec. 4.
It's lining up to be KU taking the trek down I-35 toward Texas, but the players don't seem to have a preference one way or another.
"I don't care," quarterback Brian Luke said. "Let's just go bowling somewhere."