MANHATTAN — Kansas State finished its regular season with a disappointing 42-35 loss to Iowa State on Nov. 25 in snow-covered Bill Snyder Family Stadium, and it could have repercussions when it comes to the Wildcats' bowl game.
By falling to Iowa State, the Wildcats dropped to 8-4 overall and fell into a three-way tie for fourth place in the Big 12 with Iowa State and West Virginia. It may also have cost them a trip to sunny Florida.
A victory against Iowa State likely would have landed the Wildcats in Orlando, Florida, for the Pop-Tarts Bowl to face an Atlantic Coast Conference team. A first-ever bowl visit to Florida remains on the table for the simple fact that Oklahoma State and Iowa State, the other top contenders for that selection, both have played twice in the Pop-Tarts Bowl.
If the Pop-Tarts Bowl passes on the Wildcats, they could end up back in Houston for the Texas Bowl, where they beat LSU just two years ago. Another familiar destination, the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee, could be in the mix as well, with the Guaranteed Rate Bowl in Phoenix a longshot.
Here are some projections for K-State's fourth bowl appearance in five seasons under head coach Chris Klieman:
AthlonSports' Steven Lassan: Pop-Tarts Bowl vs. North Carolina State
247Sports' Brad Crawford: Pop-Tarts Bowl vs. North Carolina State
The Pop-Tarts Bowl will take place at 4:45 p.m. (CT) Dec. 28 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando and would mark K-State's first-ever bowl appearance in Florida. The Wildcats could face a North Carolina State team that finished the regular season at 9-3 and were third in the Atlantic Coast Conference at 6-2. The Wolfpack has won five straight games heading into the postseason.
CBS Sports' Jerry Palm: Texas Bowl vs. Texas A&M
ESPN's Kyle Bonagura: Texas Bowl vs. Texas A&M
ESPN's Mark Schlabach: Texas Bowl vs. Texas A&M
USA Today's Erick Smith: Texas Bowl vs. Texas A&M
K-State is no stranger to the Texas Bowl, which is scheduled for 8 p.m. at NRG Stadium in Houston. It would mark their fourth time in the game and third since 2016, including a 42-20 blowout of LSU two years ago. They could face a Texas A&M team that went 7-5 overall and finished fourth at 4-4 in the Southeastern Conference West. The Aggies recently hired Duke's Mike Elko as head coach to replace the fired Jimbo Fisher, but interim coach Elijah Robinson will lead the team in the bowl game.
Fox Sport's Brian Fischer: Liberty Bowl vs. Kentucky
The Liberty Bowl takes place Dec. 29 at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee, and would be a familiar site for the Wildcats, who already have played there twice in the last decade. They are 0-2 in the Liberty Bowl, with a 45-23 loss to Arkansas in 2015, while falling 20-17 to Navy in 2019, coach Klieman's first season. Kentucky has a 7-5 record and tied for fourth in the SEC East.
Arne Green is based in Salina and covers Kansas State University sports for the Gannett network. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @arnegreen.
This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Kansas State football bowl projections ahead of selections on Sunday