Cougs Eye No. 5 Texas

WASHINGTON STATE'S holiday plans got a serious upgrade today. Or rather, their Holiday Bowl plans did, as No. 5 ranked Texas accepted an invitation to the San Diego classic where they'll face off with the No. 14 Cougars on December 30.

"I know it is an honor to play a program with the tradition of Texas and to go against a coach like Mack Brown, who is a proven winner," said WSU coach Bill Doba.

Texas finished the regular season with a 7-1 mark in the Big 12 conference and were 10-2 overall. It was their third consecutive 10-win campaign, a streak the 9-3 Cougs can match with a Holiday Bowl victory. A Longhorn win in San Diego would give them a school record third consecutive 11-win season.

The Longhorns' first loss came in a 38-28 week two setback against Arkansas. No. 3 Oklahoma handed Texas their second defeat, a 65-13 fall in early October.

Washington State's losses include an early season setback at Notre Dame, a week 12 upset by Washington, and a November defeat to No. 1 ranked USC.

This will be the Longhorns' third appearance in the Holiday Bowl, their last coming in the 2001classic that saw Texas come back from a huge deficit to defeat Washington, 47-43. Washington State has made one visit to the San Diego classic, a nailbiting 38-36 loss to Brigham Young in 1981.

This also makes six consecutive bowl appearances for Texas in six seasons under coach Mack Brown. They defeated Louisiana State 35-20 in the 2003 Cotton Bowl. The Holiday Bowl will mark the third consecutive post-season berth for the Cougs. They fell to Oklahoma 34-14 in the 2003 Rose Bowl.

"We have a lot of respect for the Washington State program," Brown said. "And look forward to playing in what has become one of the best bowl games in America."

The schools have had just two previous meetings, in 1954 and 1961, both Longhorn victories.

Prior to this weekend it had been widely speculated the No. 23 Nebraska Cornhuskers would be the Cougars' opponent.

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