WSU Bowl Projections: Only Thing Certain Is The Cougs Are Eligib - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

WSU Bowl Projections: Only Thing Certain Is The Cougs Are Eligible

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Cougar fans are anxiously awaiting a WSU bowl game and the possibilities seem endless. Cougar fans are anxiously awaiting a WSU bowl game and the possibilities seem endless.

As Washington State fell to Washington 27-17 in the Apple Cup on Friday, the Cougars’ options for a bowl game narrowed. The possibilities still remain endless, though, some are more likely than others.

On Thanksgiving the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl released it’s Executive Director Update #15 and narrowed its list of teams to the Huskies, WSU and Arizona as the primary options to face Brigham Young University in the game on Dec. 27 at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Executive Director Update #15 link: http://bit.ly/1bXj8S6

With the loss the Cougars have most likely lost the chance to play in that game, but a scenario of wins and losses from other teams could help them land in another bowl with Washington possibly now leading the chase to end up in the KFHB.

Washington State would’ve made a case for the No. 5 selection for a Pac-12 automatic bowl bid, the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl with a win. But that didn’t happen, and it was always an outside shot with USC vs. UCLA, Oregon State vs. Oregon and Arizona State vs. the Wildcats still looming large and the Trojans, Bruins and Ducks needing a place to play over the holidays.

The final Pac-12 automatic bid is for the Gildan New Mexico Bowl and this is where the Cougars are most likely to land following the Apple Cup (and likely could have even if they’d beaten UW on Friday). Since Arizona played in this bowl last season, it doesn’t seem likely that they will be selected to play here again. OSU has the best chance to oust WSU from this game, but they would have to beat Oregon in the Civil War, which doesn’t seem likely.

The GNMB website has a list of projections for its game on Dec. 21 in Albuquerque. ESPN’s Ted Miller, Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report and National Football Post all list Washington State as the team they think will play in the game.

Link to the GNMB’s list: http://bit.ly/1gqsWZa

Only Arizona had more picks, with six to the Cougs’ four, from the pundits. A Sun Devil’s win over the Wildcats would bode well for WSU.

The selection committee could still chose Arizona, their home attendance average is considerably higher than this season’s turnout in Pullman. Also Arizona is significantly closer to New Mexico than Washington. But at the same time there is pull to see the Cougars’ gun slinger-style of offense and Mike Leach is a popular man in the region with Lubbock, Texas (home to Texas Tech; Leach's former employer) not to far from Albuquerque.

If WSU doesn’t get a Pac-12 bid there are still a number of at-large bids available. The Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl in Detroit, Mich. and the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in New York are both open since the BIG and Big-12 conferences, respectively, don’t have an eligible team.

The Pinstripe is a stretch (it's doubtful many would be able to wave the flag at Yankee Stadium on Dec. 28 due to proximity). The LCPB could have a backup tie-in with the Sun Belt Conference (definitive sources on this cannot be found) and if so Western Kentucky and Troy are eligible and would eliminate the Cougars from contention. So while both are open, only the Pizza Bowl could really be a possibility.

The Plains Capital Bank Heart of Dallas Bowl is an option if Wisconsin receives an at-large bid into a BCS bowl game and with no backup contingent for an outside conference in place it looks like the Cougs could end up in Dallas on Jan. 1, 2014. The state of Texas loves Mike Leach, so this might help Washington State end up here.

Another scenario calls for both Rutgers and Southern Methodist University to lose out to give WSU a chance to play in either the BBVA Compass Bowl or the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl.

After the final BCS standings are announced the bowl picture will be stabilized on Dec. 8 and WSU Athletic Director Bill Moos will have a chance to vie for his team to be in the best bowl possible over the next nine days. Hopefully for the Cougs a few teams win and others lose to make the decision for the selection committees in all of the previously mentioned bowls an easy one.

Information from SB Nation's Cougarcenter.com was used in this article.

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