The Washington State Cougars earned their sixth win of the 2013 season on Saturday, making the program bowl eligible for the first time since 2006. WSU as left out of postseason play that year, and there is concern that the same could happen again with nine Pac-12 teams already at are above six victories.
With just seven guaranteed bowl slots for the conference, two Pac-12 schools are going to have to look elsewhere if they want to continue playing into the holiday season. Brian Anderson broke down the potential landing spots for WSU last week (linked above) and we'll have an updated look soon.
For now, Jason Kirk of SB Nation puts Washington State in Shreveport, La. on Dec. 31 for the Independence Bowl against Georgia Tech. In Kirk's projections, WSU would be taking the spot of the 10th-place SEC team. Edit: Apparently he had a change of heart, and now has the Cougs playing in the Little Caesars Bowl against Northern Illinois.
Kirk also addresses the issue of there being more bowl-eligible teams than bowl bids available:
There are already 70 bowl-eligible teams with two weeks still to go. Every team that reaches six qualified wins until the end of the season will either fall short or crowd out somebody else. At the moment, I think Central Michigan, FAU, Ohio, and UTSA will fail to make it in, but that could change. (UTSA would likely be picked ahead of a couple of those at-large teams, but is still transitioning to FBS. All other six-win teams must be picked before the Roadrunners can go, without a successful NCAA appeal.)
There's no doubt that Bill Moos is working hard to make sure WSU isn't one of those teams that is left out of the bowl picture, especially after a 10-year postseason drought. The players and fans are hungry to see the Cougs in any bowl, no matter the location or the opponent.
In case you were wondering, Shreveport is about the size of Spokane (in population) with just over 200,000 people living in the city limits. It is located three hours east of Dallas, four hours north of Houston and five hours northwest of New Orleans. The projected opponent, Georgia Tech is 7-4 on the season with its annual rivalry game against Georgia coming up this weekend.
Edit: Now it's Detroit. You've heard of Detroit, right? It's that city they talk about in car commercials. And Northern Illinois? They were last year's BCS Busters.
Jerry Palm of CBS has the Cougs playing Ball State in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, for those of you who've always wanted to visit Detroit in late December. We've discussed the Pizza Bowl before, and it seems like a long-shot with the bowl's agreement to take a Sun Bowl team when available and when a spot needs to be filled. So, not sure if Palm actually knows what he is talking about.
Edit: Apparently Kirk and Palm agree now!
With the Apple Cup still to be played, a lot could change for WSU. These projections are likely assuming that the Cougs fall to UW, because if the team wins it has a good shot at one of the Pac-12's bowl agreements.