Michigan to face Kansas State in Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Amidst rumors that Michigan would face Georgia in the 2014 Gator Bowl, Angelique Chengelis of the Detroit News has tweeted that the Wolverines will actually square off against the Kansas State Wildcats in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, played on December 28. Via Chengelis's twitter:

This is further supported by Kellis Robinett, a reporter for K-State Media. Via his twitter:

(Chengelis obviously got the update from him, hence the re-tweet.)

Here is Robinett's full article via The Wichita Eagle:

Kansas State is headed to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, where it will face Michigan, according to a source.

The postseason game will be played at 9:15 p.m. on Dec. 28 at Sun Devils Stadium in Tempe, Ari. The Wildcats and Wolverines have never played.

K-State was invited to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl after finishing the regular season 7-5. The Wildcats were originally in line to play in the Holiday Bowl, which picks fifth in the Big 12’s bowl pecking order, but two Big 12 teams are headed to BCS bowls. That opened the door for the Wildcats to move up to the conference’s No. 4 bowl. The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl is also the No. 4 bowl in the Big Ten’s pecking order. It selected Michigan from that conference — another 7-5 team.

Many expected the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl to match K-State with former Big Eight and Big 12 rival Nebraska.

An official bowl announcement will be made at about 7:45 p.m. Sunday evening, after the BCS bowls make their choices public.

The source said K-State will receive a ticket allotment of 11,000 to the game, and tickets will be located in prime locations of the stadium. All fans are welcome to purchase bowl tickets on the school’s athletic web site, by phone or in person.


Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/2013/12/08/3168109/kansas-state-will-face-michigan.html#storylink=cpy

Like the earlier Gator Bowl rumors, this has not yet been confirmed by either of the athletic departments, nor the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl website. Presumably we'll know when the bowl selections are announced on ESPN.

Nam Le of SB Nation has recently posted an article saying that Michigan and Kansas State will indeed face each other in the December 28 bowl game.

Here is Le's rundown of Kansas State:

A season-opening loss to North Dakota State could have spelled trouble for Bill Snyder and crew. Instead, the Wildcats picked themselves back up and rallied for another bowl season -- their fourth in a row. Their 7-5 record looks all the more surprising considering they were at one point 2-4, losing three in a row to Baylor, Texas and Oklahoma State.

Wide receiver Tyler Lockett carries most of the load on offense, accounting for as many receiving yards individually as the team’s second- and third-leading receivers put together, with 1,146 to their 904. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he has caught more touchdowns than Tramaine Thompson and Curry Sexton, as well, eight to five.

On the other side of the ball, the Wildcats will lean heavily on defensive end Ryan Mueller, who has 18.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks on the season. Helping him out will be the fantastically named Blake Slaughter, who leads Kansas State with 103 tackles (6.0 for loss).

Check back here for updates.

UPDATE: The scheduling of Michigan vs. Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl is confirmed. Via Michigan Football Twitter:

Also, MGoBlue.com official release:

The University of Michigan football team has accepted an invitation to play in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl against Kansas State from the Big 12 Conference on Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013. The game will be televised nationally by ESPN starting at 10:15 p.m. EST from Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.

...

This is the first time that Michigan will play in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (formerly the Copper Bowl) but the second time that the football program plays a bowl game in the state of Arizona.

The only previous visit to the Grand Canyon State was the 1986 Fiesta Bowl held at Sun Devil Stadium. The fifth-ranked Wolverines defeated No. 8 Nebraska, 27-23, to finish the season ranked second in the national polls. Tailback Jamie Morris was named the offensive player of the game, and defensive lineman Mark Messner was selected as the defensive player of the game.

The Wolverines will be making their 43rd all-time bowl appearance (20-22). This will be the first-ever meeting between Michigan (7-5) and Kansas State (7-5) and the fourth time that U-M has faced a Big 12 foe in a bowl game.

The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl Home Page also has a summary of the two teams:

Michigan vs. Kansas State
Kansas State and Michigan have been playing college football collectively for 236 years. Yet when the two old-school programs collide at Sun Devil Stadium on December 28 in the 25th Annual Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, it will mark their first meeting. Michigan makes its first Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl appearance. For K-State, it’s a third trip. In 2001, it lost to Syracuse, 26-3, then in 1993, it defeated Wyoming, 52-17.

Which includes a comparison of the two programs:

Michigan Pedigree
The blue-blood Wolverines are completing their 134th season of college football. They boast 910 all-time wins, the most of any institution at any level of college football. Their .733 all-time winning percentage also leads the nation. The program boasts 42 bowl appearances, 11 national championships, 3 Heisman Trophy winners, 11 national award recipients, 36 College Football Hall of Fame members and 339 NFL draft picks. Michigan is appearing in its fourth consecutive bowl game and its 37th in the last 39 years.

Kansas State Pedigree
Kansas State has been playing college football for 102 years.  The Wildcats are appearing in their fourth consecutive bowl game and 15th in the past 20 seasons. It has tallied points in 215 consecutive games, the 10th-longest streak in the nation and the lengthiest in the Big 12. KSU has not been shut out since November 16, 1996. The Wildcats will be playing in their 18th bowl game, a list that includes last year’s Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Since 1999, K-State leads the nation in non-offensive touchdowns (91).

And how each did this year:

Michigan in 2013
The 7-5 Wolverines climbed as high as 11th in the Associated Press poll and 12th in its USA Today counterpart, both in week three. Overall, they spent nine and 10 weeks ranked in the two polls, respectively. Michigan was 1-2 against ranked opponents, including a victory vs. No. 14 Notre Dame on September 7. UM’s offense ranked third in the Big Ten in pass efficiency (143.5) and fourth in scoring (33.8 ppg) and passing offense (252.1 ypg). Michigan scored 40 or more points six times. The Wolverines’ defense ranked second in the Big Ten in interceptions (17), fourth in pass defense efficiency (119.2) and fifth in rush defense (139.4 ypg). Wide receiver Jeremy Gallon set single-game school and Big Ten record with 369 receiving yards against Indiana on October 19. In the same game, quarterback Devin Gardner set records with 584 yards total offense and 503 passing yards. Tight end Devin Funchess logged 727 receiving yards, a single-season record for Wolverine tight ends. He led Big Ten tight ends in receptions (47), yards and touchdowns (6) and among all FBS tight ends, he ranks third in receiving yards, fourth in catches and tied for sixth in touchdowns.

K-State in 2013
Kansas State qualified for its fourth consecutive bowl appearance with grit, perseverance and resiliency. After starting the season 2-4, the Wildcats won four straight conference games to become bowl eligible, then ended their season with a fifth-straight victory over in-state rival Kansas to finish 7-5. K-State’s five losses were by 10 points or less, and the Wildcats held fourth-quarter leads in three of those contests. Along the way, KSU became just the fourth school in Big 12 history to become bowl eligible after starting a season 2-4. Only eight percent of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) era (48 of 597) have started a season 2-4 or worse and become bowl eligible prior to the 2013 Wildcats. All-America candidate Tyler Lockett has paced KSU’s offense that averages 33.4 points per game. Lockett, a dynamic wide receiver and kick returner, ranks among the nation’s leaders at both positions. The Wildcats bring a two-quarterback system to Arizona — junior Jake Waters (2,198 passing yards, 15 touchdown passes) and sophomore Daniel Sams (11 rushing touchdowns, 4 touchdown passes). Running back John Hubert is just 32 yards shy of 1,000 rushing yards this season.

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