EVERYONE HAS A different opinion on where the Cougs might go bowling -- and who their opponent might end up being. For starters, take three ESPN writers – who have projected Washington State to play in three different bowl games.
It's worth noting right up front that these prognosticators appear to think Washington State
is going to lose to Washington in the Apple Cup, and that influences where they're slotting WSU. Another factor: most are projecting some teams in other conferences will lose/win their regular season finale, thus potentially opening up a bowl slot for a Pac-12 team beyond the seven Pac-12 bowl tie-ins.
Albuquerque is said to be very, very interested in Cougs -- they see the proximity to West Texas drawing a good 1,500 Leach fans into the stands.
Enough preamble. Let's get to it.
ESPN's Ted Miller projects Washington State will play in the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 21 against a MWC opponent, (Albuquerque).
ESPN's Mark Schlabach says the Cougs will instead go to the Poinsettia Bowl and face SDSU on Dec. 26, (San Diego).
ESPN's Brad Edwards went still another way – he has WSU in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl against Buffalo on Dec. 21, (Boise).
Sporting News' Bill Bender thinks WSU heads to the Heart of Dallas Bowl where they'll face off against Rice on Jan. 1.
Phil Steele also sees WSU in Dallas, but thinks they'll play North Texas.
The Orlando Sentinel, like Edwards, predicts Washington State will play in the Idaho Potato Bowl as well, but against Bowling Green.
College Football News and Edwards are also on the same wavelength, with the Cougars in Boise, and also matching up with Buffalo. (And from what we understand, no kittens were killed during the making of the CFN projections.)
Bleacher Report, like Miller, predicts the Cougs will be in the New Mexico Bowl. They see WSU squaring off against Utah State.
Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel also predicts the same: New Mexico Bowl, vs. Utah State.
National Football Post also sees the Cougs in Albuquerque, but against UNLV.
Meanwhile, three prognosticators see Washington State in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl played on Dec. 26, (Detroit).
Jerry Palm of CBS says the Cougs will face Ball State.
SB Nation thinks the Cougs will face Northern Illinois.
Sideline Mob projects WSU to instead face Toledo. (What is Sidleine Mob? No idea, but on their blog they proudly proclaim they have been around since… 2013. That's beautiful.)
One more thing to keep in mind: No Big 12 team is available to fill the conference's contracted slot in New York in the Pinstripe Bowl. It will be held in Yankee Stadium on Dec. 28, with an at-large team against an opponent from the American Athletic Conference.
Here's how the Pac-12 bowls are set up:
Rose: Pac-12 No. 1
Alamo Pac-12 No. 2
Holiday: Pac-12 No. 3
Sun: Pac-12 No. 4
Las Vegas: Pac-12 No. 5
Fight Hunger: Pac-12 No. 6
New Mexico: Pac-12 No. 7
That doesn't guarantee the finishing order in the standings is where teams end up - the conference has stated they have "mechanisms" in place to allow for flexibility to avoid repeat matchups and teams returning to the same region frequently.