Bowl-eligibility is here for Kansas University's football team, after beating Kansas State, 39-20, Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
"We're going to a bowl game," cornerback Aqib Talib said. "Now we've got to work to get to a better bowl game."
Not so fast, Aqib.
Kansas is the ninth Big 12 Conference team to qualify for the postseason, and the conference only has eight guaranteed tie-ins for its member institutions.
KU (6-5) isn't a lock to get one of those eight. A victory next week at Missouri probably would be enough, but seven teams in the league currently have a better record than Kansas. Oklahoma State (6-5) has the same record with a rivalry game against Oklahoma scheduled this week.
By rule, all 7-5 teams must be taken care of before a 6-6 team can be invited.
2006 KU-KSU football
- Anthony Webb talks about his breakout game
- Aqib Talib talks about his defensive performance Saturday
- Jon Cornish talks about his 201-yard Senior Day at Memorial Stadium
- Mark Mangino meets with the media following KU's 39-20 victory Saturday over K-State
- Scott Webb talks about his four-field goal day
So, if Kansas wins and Oklahoma State loses next week, Kansas is guaranteed a spot in a Big 12-affiliated bowl, possibly the Insight, Independence or Texas Bowl.
With nine teams eligible, though, it's likely that at least one conference school will be hoping to snag an at-large berth.
The Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego offers one, but it could be getting tougher for a Big 12 team to get it. The Pac-10, right in the Poinsettia Bowl's region, now has extra teams eligible after Arizona's victory Saturday and will need an at-large berth to satisfy its schools' demands, too.
Other possibilities include the Motor City Bowl in Detroit and the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque, N.M., which may have at-large berths due to conferences not filling all their tie-ins. In all, three or four at-large berths could open up for what could be a lot of eligible teams left out in the cold.
It was speculation beforehand. But KU's third straight victory Saturday put Kansas in the middle of bowl-bubble discussions, with only a game at Missouri left to be played.
"If we go 4-0 in our last four games, it makes us a lock for a bowl," quarterback Kerry Meier said. "That's what we're working for, to get to the postseason."
KU coach Mark Mangino, meanwhile, wouldn't touch bowl talk Saturday, instead pointing out the importance of the Missouri game.
"That's all we're going to talk about," Mangino said. "That's all we're going to focus on. We are going to play our rival this Saturday, and we're going to get ready to do that."
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