If it's Albuquerque for Cougs, best book fast

IF WASHINGTON STATE IS picked for the New Mexico Bowl, as all signs indicate, Cougars living in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, Dallas and a few other cities can rejoice in the fact they have multiple non-stop flights to Albuquerque each day. For those living in the Pacific Northwest, the flight plan to see the Cougs on Dec. 21 is a bit more complicated.

By our informal reckoning, there are but three daily non-stop trips from the PNW to the land of Breaking Bad.

Southwest Airlines pilots all three of them. Two are out of Seattle (departing at 6:40 a.m. and 2:40 p.m.) and one is out of Portland (departing at 10:30 a.m.). Flight time for each is about 2 ½ hours, and the airfare just north of $1,000 for a round trip.

Between Southwest, Alaska, Frontier and United, there are a load of one-stop options from Seattle and Portland, as well as two from Spokane. Depending on the layover, those trips will take anywhere from six to 12 hours to reach Albuquerque. However, with a little advance planning, you might be able to turn one of the layovers into a little fun or sun in Las Vegas, Los Angeles or Phoenix.

Underground New Mexico Bowl logo.

Besides the limited number of non-stop flights from the Pacific Northwest to Albuquerque, the number of available seats going that way looks like it could be an issue -- at least for those not wanting to get to town too soon. A survey of Alaska's 11 one-stop trips from Seattle to Albuquerque on Dec. 20 -- the day before the New Mexico Bowl kicks off at 11 a.m. -- showed just 18 totals seats available as of late afternoon today.

The WSU Alumni Association and an enterprising travel agent or two will no doubt organize some charter flights, regardless of where the Cougs go bowling. For bowl sites off the beaten path, like Albuquerque and Shreveport, such package deals may present the most attractive way to get there.

The BCS bowl selection show on ESPN starts at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time tomorrow (Sunday). As the biggest bowls fill, the downstream scenarios will become clear very quickly. The advice from this corner of the Web is to move quickly once it's official where the Cougars are going.

The bet here is that all roads will be leading to Albuquerque.

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