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Cougar Football awaits bowl fate

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Most signs point to Santa Clara

Washington State v Washington Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Good morning. While the Cougar football team didn’t play on the final Saturday of the college football season (Army-Navy excepted), Saturday’s results may have affected their December destination. While I won’t steal colleague Michael Preston’s thunder by posting a bunch of bowl projections, I will go a bit into what Saturday’s results mean for our Cougs.

If we’re thinking about location, the Big 12 title game may have had the biggest impact for WSU. TCU came into the game ranked No. 11, two spots ahead of Washington. A blowout loss carried with it the possibility that TCU could fall behind UW in the final CFP rankings. While it wasn’t exactly a blowout, Oklahoma handled TCU fairly easily, winning 41-17.

Aside: Every time I watch Baker Mayfield play, I remember that WSU was his only Power Five offer, and I lament what might have been.

That result, coupled with Stanford’s loss in the Pac-12 title game, could move Washington up to as high as No. 11 Sunday. (Even though Clemson poleaxed Miami, I don’t see the ‘Canes falling below UW). If UW moves up to 11, there’s a good chance they’d wind up in a New Year’s Six game. Count me among the people who hope that happens. A second Pac-12 team in the NY6 means more money for the conference, which means more money for WSU.

While the CFP hasn’t shown as much propensity to punish conference title game losers as much as the bowls did in the BCS era, they did so last year when they moved USC into the Rose Bowl ahead of Colorado. By the way - Nice job with that title game, Big 12. You may have cost yourself a second team in the NY6 by staging it, though I’m sure the revenue generated at Jerry World Saturday more than made up for it.

Where was I? Oh yeah, the Cougs. If UW gets into the NY6 (almost certainly the Cotton Bowl), every Pac-12 school moves up in the pecking order, which puts more bowls (possibly the Alamo) in play for WSU. ESPN will announce the pairings a couple hours after this is published, and I’d give UW a 60% chance of sneaking through the back door and heading to Arlington. Even so, many projections I’ve seen, with UW in NY6 and without, still slot WSU in Santa Clara.

EDIT: Per Brett McMurphy, Stanford is headed to the Alamo City, subsequent to UW’s NY6 selection.

So it looks pretty likely that WSU will be in Santa Clara, possibly against San Diego State, or San Diego against a Big Ten opponent.

EDIT 2.0: San Diego it is!

The one other result that may have a secondary impact on WSU’s fortunes was the Mountain West title game. Boise State rallied to beat Fresno State, possibly altering the MWC bowl selections. Many projections show that the Big Ten won’t fill its Foster Farms slot, which could lead to a Mountain West school filling in as WSU’s opponent. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather watch WSU play a Big Ten team.

Either way, it’s great that we get to see the Cougars piss us off play one more time this season, with a chance to win a tenth game for one of the precious times in program history. And who knows, maybe Mike Leach will even be there calling the plays!

Football

(Almost) all signs point to Foster Farms Bowl debut for Washington State | The Spokesman-Review
WSU’s bowl destination will be officially revealed on Sunday, but it seems unlikely the Cougars will be headed anywhere other than Santa Clara, California...

Saturday Night Five: Pac-12 playoff and New Year's Six updates, fading Heisman hopes Mike Leach won nine games at Washington State (again) but couldn’t take the North and got run off the field in the Apple Cup (again). Should be an interesting vote.

Basketball

The WSU Men’s basketball team returned to the floor Saturday, and the result was more in line with what we expected from this team. Something tells me that the further we get from that weekend in Fullerton, the more bizarre it will seem.

Robert Franks pours in career-high 32 points, but sluggish start dooms Washington State in first loss of season | The Spokesman-Review
In front of their largest crowd of the season – a reported 3,183 – the Cougars, who received votes in the latest Associated Press top 25 poll, were off-target, out of rhythm and disjointed for much of a nonconference game at Beasley Coliseum.

Volleyball

Turned out to be a nice little fall for athletics on the Palouse. The football team has a shot at 10 wins, the soccer team pulled off two upsets in the NCAA Tournament, and the volleyball team advanced to the 2nd round of its own NCAA tournament. Not bad!

WSUCougars.com | Washington State University Athletics
Junior Taylor Mims led the Cougars with nine kills with Jocelyn Urias adding five kills. Claire Martin contributed three kills and two blocks. Ashley Brown had 19 assists while Alexis Dirige had seven digs. Nicole Rigoni served the lone WSU ace.

Beer

Best beer I had this week: The beer drinking was truncated somewhat this week, due to two unrelated events. First, my beer fridge went to the great appliance farm in the sky. Second, I took a quick jaunt to Qatar, which isn’t exactly known for its burgeoning craft beer scene. I did crack open a Crooked Stave Trellis Buster Double IPA when I got home, and it was incredibly good. It was a welcome departure from Crooked Stave’s seemingly endless production of sours.

The Latest Craft Beer Buyout is Colorado's Avery Brewing Co. | VinePair
A Spanish conglomerate that owns a minority stake in Founders Brewing Co. just purchased a stake in Avery, a craft brewery in Boulder, Colorado.

Florida

Introducing a segment that may last one week, or may become a weekly thing. As everyone is aware, Florida attracts the largest percentage of weird and/or crazy people on earth. When you put all those people together, stuff happens. Adam Carolla used to have a segment called “Germany or Florida?” since that’s where the strangest events take place. We’re all aware of the Florida Man Twitter feed, all of which is true.

So since I’ve lived in different parts of this state for all but three of the last 13 years, I figured I’d share with you some of the craziness that leads my local news every night. Oddly enough, the subject of the first story isn’t a person, but an animal. The best part? I used to be stationed just outside Fort Walton Beach, and I’ve been to this liquor store! (It’s a dump)

Possum breaks into liquor store, gets skunky drunk
An opossum that snuck into a liquor store and apparently helped itself to a few drinks the day after Thanksgiving was brought in to the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge for treatment before it was released Thursday.

Non-Sports

How One Woman's Digital Life Was Weaponized Against Her | WIRED
A rare court case exposes the all-too-common horror of online harassment that followed when one woman broke off a relationship.