Morgantown, West Virginia – The West Virginia Mountaineers – following a 34-28 win at Kansas – are 6-6 on the season and are now bowl eligible. A 6-6 record doesn’t often lead to exciting, sexy matchups in bowl games, but there are a few possibilities that would be interesting and would move the football program forward with a win.
Due to bowl affiliations, West Virginia will likely play in the Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando, the Autozone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, the Guaranteed Rate Bowl in Phoenix or the Lockheed Martin Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas.
Most Likely Matchup
Liberty Bowl against an SEC team like Tennessee, Florida or Auburn. This is not only the most likely but also the ideal situation for the Mountaineers. West Virginia beat Army in last year’s Liberty Bowl and an opportunity to play a traditional powerhouse like one of the aforementioned teams would get great publicity. Tennessee, Florida and Auburn are all having relative down years and West Virginia could compete with all three teams.
Most Exciting Matchup
Cheez-It Bowl against an ACC team like Miami. Beating a 7-5 Miami Hurricanes team in Orlando, Florida would be a tremendous ending to the season. Even a matchup against 6-6 Louisville in Orlando would be interesting.
Least Exciting Matchup
Liberty Bowl versus Missouri. A bowl game in Memphis against 6-6 Missouri does nothing for the West Virginia football brand. However, this does look like a real possibility.
The Guaranteed Rate Bowl game in Phoenix, Arizona would match the Mountaineers up with a mid-level Big Ten team like Penn State (7-5) or Maryland (6-6). A bowl game against Penn State would be extremely compelling and a rematch with Maryland – a rival the Mountaineers lost to in the first week of the season – would be fun.
The fact that West Virginia is going to play in a bowl game at all after starting the season 2-4 is a huge victory in of itself, but a chance to play teams like Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, Miami, Penn State or Maryland would be huge for gaining momentum going into the 2022 season for the Mountaineers.