The West Virginia football team has appeared in a bowl game in each of its last five seasons; however that streak may come to an end this year.
While 40 bowl games will be played to conclude the 2019 college football season, WVU may struggle to put itself in a position to be eligible to participate.
Since the beginning of the season, West Virginia has fallen out of bowl projections from national pundits.
The Mountaineers currently hold a record of 3-3 at the midway point of their 12 game schedule. They will have to win three of their remaining six games in order to go bowling, according to NCAA rules.
That is much easier said than done. In its final six games, West Virginia will take on two teams that were nationally ranked in the Oct. 13 issue of the AP Top 25 poll, as well as four other teams with varying strengths.
Oklahoma currently ranked as No. 6, is the next team the Mountaineers will face as the two teams will match-up on Oct. 19.
The Sooners are led by quarterback Jalen Hurts, a Heisman Trophy candidate, who leads the Big 12 in total offense with slightly less than 400 yards separating him and second place. Hurts, with the help of junior wide receiver CeeDee Lamb and the rest of the receiving corps, has the second highest passing efficiency (215.9) in the country.
Oklahoma currently holds a 6-0 record this season and, outside of a loss in last season’s Orange Bowl, has won 13 straight games.
The other ranked team, No. 18 Baylor, has also started its 2019 season undefeated. Charlie Brewer, the team’s starting quarterback, is currently fourth in the Big 12 in average passing yards per game with 259.
Against the remaining four teams on West Virginia’s schedule, the Mountaineers may have a better chance as the group has a combined record of 13-9 so far this season.
The Mountaineers will take on Texas Tech, led by new head coach Matt Wells, on Nov. 9. The Red Raiders are currently ranked No. 3 in the conference in total offense, averaging 489.3 yards per game.
West Virginia will then travel to Manhattan, Kansas, to take on the Kansas State Wildcats on Nov. 16. With new head coach Chris Klieman at the helm, the Wildcats are currently the premier team in the conference in passing defense as they allow, on average, only 155.4 yards per game through the air.
WVU will return to Morgantown to take on Oklahoma State on Nov. 23. The Cowboys have leaned heavily on redshirt sophomore running back Chuba Hubbard, who leads the Big 12 in rushing with 1,094 yards. His 182.3 average yards per game outpace the second place position by nearly 80 yards.
In their regular season finale, the Mountaineers will head to TCU to take on the Horned Frogs on Nov. 29. TCU features one of the top special teams units in the country as senior kicker Johnathan Song leads the conference in average points per game (10) while junior wide receiver Jalen Reagor is the Big 12’s leading punt returner with an average yards per game just shy of 20.
While it is possible that a below-.500 West Virginia team could make it to a bowl game, it is unlikely as, since the exception took effect prior to the 2016 season, only two teams have punched their ticket with this route.
Ultimately, the Mountaineers will not know until the end of the season what lies ahead of them.