Oct 12, 2013; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars mascot Butch cheers with the student section against the Oregon State Beavers during the first half at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
WSU athletic director Bill Moos is doing all he can to convince the bowl committee to give the Cougars a chance. The Cougars finished the 2013 regular season with a 6-6 record which results in the Cougars being bowl eligible for the first time since 2006.
There is a list of different types of bowl games the Cougars could play in such as the Heart of Dallas Bowl, the Liberty Bowl, the Little Caesars Bowl, and more according to Moos.
However Moos is pushing for the Cougars to play in the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque. According to Moos, the New Mexico Bowl is a very good bowl game. The New Mexico Bowl is the first bowl game of the year which is on December 21. If the Cougars can play in the New Mexico Bowl game, this would be a great opportunity for recruiting and will provide national exposure for WSU.
The New Mexico Bowl matches up a Pac-12 team and a team from the Mountain West Conference. According to cougfan.com and others, the chances of WSU getting the New Mexico Bowl are good. Besides WSU, teams competing for the spot are a 6-6 Oregon State team and a 7-5 Arizona Wildcats team.
"“I think we’re among the most improved, if not the most improved football team (in the Football Bowl Subdivision) this year,” Moos said in an interview that was reported on cougfan.com. “We played Auburn as tough as anybody did this year. We all know what Auburn has evolved into. We can win on the road. We’ve got fans that are itching to get a bowl game. They’ve been through a ten year drought of now bowls.”"
The last bowl game the Cougars went to was the 2003 Holiday Bowl where the No.14 ranked Cougars defeated the No. 6 Texas Longhorns by a score of 28-20.
What has Oregon State done this year? The team did drop its last five games of the season and lost its home opener to Eastern Washington. However what helps Oregon State is the win they had over the Cougars in October. The Cougars gave up 28 unanswered points in 4th quarter and lost to the Beavers by a score of 24-52. OSU also lost at their rival Oregon by one point and Stanford by a touchdown. The Beavers also have an explosive offense lead by quarterback Sean Mannion and 2013 First team All-Pac-12 wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
How about Arizona? The Wildcats do have the most wins out of both teams but have one “legit” win. The Wildcats dominated the Oregon Ducks and won by a score of 42-16. However the Cougars might have the advantage over the Wildcats. The Cougars defeated the Wildcats by a score 24-17 in Tuscon.
In the negative dept. for the Cougs, Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez’s name is among one of the popular ones in college football today which plays a role in choosing a team for a bowl game. The Wildcats also have one of the top running backs in the country in Ka’Deem Carey.
The Cougars make a solid case as well, with the fact that four of their six loses have come against top-15 ranked teams. The Cougars won at the Coliseum in early September against the USC Trojans. WSU head coach Mike Leach’s reputation will also help the Cougars’ chances of grabbing this bowl game.
“We’ve got the flashy offense, a record-setting quarterback Connor Halliday,” Moos said. “We have the Mike Leach factor, which in itself is appealing to a lot of bowls and a lot of folks.”
Moos also said he has a long history of good relationships with power brokers at ESPN, who have an influence in most bowl selections, including the New Mexico Bowl, again according to cougfan.com.
“We have to focus on hopefully getting selected for that bowl,” Moos said. “If not, there are other opportunities out there that are very good.”
–Evan Baron (Follow me on twitter: @Evan_Baron)