The Washington State Cougars are bowl eligible.
Nope, that's not going to get old.
A couple weeks ago, we did a post on where the Cougs were projected to go as they sat with five wins staring down Stanford. Now, with six wins after beating Arizona State and three games to go, the real planning can begin. First, lets get you familiarized with the Pac-12's bowl tie-ins:
#1 Team: Rose Bowl* vs. Big Ten (Pasadena, CA)
#2 Team: Alamo Bowl vs. Big 12 (San Antonio, TX)
#3 Team: Holiday Bowl vs. Big Ten (San Diego, CA)
#4 Team: Foster Farms Bowl vs. Big Ten (Santa Clara, CA)
#5 Team: Sun Bowl vs. ACC (El Paso, TX)
#6 Team: Las Vegas Bowl vs. Mountain West (Las Vegas, NV)
#7 Team: Cactus Bowl vs. Big 12 (Phoenix, AZ)
*If Stanford ends up in the College Football Playoff, everything shifts up a spot. The #2 team wouldn't necessarily be whoever loses to the Cardinal in the Pac-12 Championship in this scenario.
Bowls can reach down as much as one spot to grab a team if they so choose so finishing seventh overall in the conference could mean a trip to Tempe or to Sin City if the Las vegas Bowl would rather have the Cougs than whoever finishes sixth. These are only the tie-ins as well; if more than seven teams end up eligible (which seems likely after a look at the conference schedule), teams can lobby to get into "at-large" bowls, as was the case for WSU with the New Mexico Bowl in 2013.
Even if, heaven forbid, the Cougs dropped their three remaining games, they'd still be able to find a home with 38 bowl games on the schedule this year (that doesn't include the CFP because, well, they aren't THAT good. Yet.). So no matter what, the Cougs are in good shape for the postseason. If the season ended today, they'd be in a mess of three teams in fourth place sitting at 6-3 overall, 4-2 in conference with USC and Oregon.
So, now that we've gotten that primer out of the way, where to the prognosticators think WSU will land?
SB Nation: Armed Forces Bowl, Dec. 29th, 11 a.m. on ESPN
This would be an at-large bid for the Cougs so Jason Kirk and the gang at the mothership are pegging them for probably a 7th place or worse finish in the conference overall. The Air Force Falcons would be their projected opponent in this game, played at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth. I don't think the Cougs will end up here because the likelihood of at least six teams being ahead of them if they're, at a minimum, 7-5 to the end the year is very low.
On a personal note though, this is like the only game I could go to since it's on a Tuesday go yay Armed Forces Bowl!
ESPN: Las Vegas Bowl, Dec. 19th, 12:30 p.m. on ABC or Sun Bowl, Dec. 26th, 11 a.m. on CBS
Mark Schlabach and Brett McMurphy pick the games for ESPN and they actually just flipped predictions from what they had a couple of weeks ago. In this week's edition of their forecast, McMurphy thinks the Cougs will take on Boise State in Vegas while Schlabach thinks they'd face Louisville in El Paso.
Try a polite handshake this time, Bobby, your brother tried to get a little salty with Mike and it didn't go well.
CBS: Sun Bowl
Jerry Palm is staying remarkably consistent with his pick; it's the exact same, opponent included (Louisville) as his prediction two weeks ago.
Sporting News: Foster Farms Bowl, Dec. 26th, 6:15 p.m. on ESPN
The Sporting News' Bill Bender thinks the most of Washington State from the bowl predictions I could find, slotting them for an appearance in Santa Clara the day after Christmas. Bender thinks WSU would be starring down the Penn State Nittany Lions in this match up in a field that's definitely going to be well taken care of and not one big giant mud puddle.
Campus Insiders: Las Vegas Bowl
Another vote for an appearance in Sin City, this one coming from Pete Fiutak of Campus Insiders. He predicts a double Cougs match-up, slotting Brigham Young into the game as WSU's opponent. Another reminder: Go Cougs is OUR thing, BYU. OUR THING! Get your own ... thing.
That's all we've got for now. We'll keep adding projections to this story as they become available this week.
The Washington State Cougars are bowl eligible. Nope, still not old.