I was a senior in high school the last time WSU played in a bowl game. I had already been accepted into WSU and was set on my decision. My mom -- like most moms probably are -- was outrageously excited. She was buying up anything and everything with a Cougar logo on it. That included the commemorative 2003 Holiday Bowl shirt I got for Christmas that year. I remember not being very excited about the shirt because I was certain it would be replaced in a year, probably by a 2004 Rose Bowl shirt.
A decade later and that shirt still hasn't been replaced ... until now.
I have no idea if they will make 2013 New Mexico Bowl shirts, but I will absolutely buy one. It's not because a New Mexico bid is worth celebrating with a commemorative t-shirt. Instead, I just want to forget the last 10 years ever happened.
The Cougars have lost 81 games since that Holiday Bowl. They've suffered through three seasons with at least 10 losses. Endured two coaching changes and even supposedly lost their innocence.
I was originally planning to list all of the bad things that happened over the last decade, but I really don't want test SB Nation's word limit. It's been a decade of awful, both on and off the field. There were good moments, good players and a few Apple Cup wins, but I doubt anyone would object to ripping the last 10 years out of the WSU record book, and storing the pages deep in the basement of Terrell Library.
Although a 6-6 season and a bid to the Pac-12's lowest bowl won't erase the last 10 years, it won't add to it either. Finally, we can stop talking about the bowl drought. Finally, we can stop hearing about how when the Cougars get juniors and seniors they'll make a run. Finally, I can get a new t-shirt.
The New Mexico Bowl bid will bring a lot of positives. More practice time, a return to postseason play, a chance at a winning season, etc. The bid, however, may be about what it isn't as much as what it is. It's not another season without a bowl. It's not another "well maybe next year." The Cougars are finally going bowling.
I look forward to wearing my 2013 New Mexico Bowl shirt. And I look forward to replacing it next year, for real this time.