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Bowl projections 2018: It’s a Texas Christmas, y’all

Even the projected at-large bids put the Cougs in Texas for the postseason.

NCAA Football: Sun Bowl-Arizona State vs North Carolina State Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

Is it Uncle Rico or Mississippi Mustache? Or does Uncle Rico HAVE the Mississippi Mustache? Or is it The Mississippi Mustache? I need to know for nickname synergy, people.

Regardless of what it actually is, Gardner Minshew II’s excellent Saturday against a very good defense has the Cougs at 4-1 as they enter October, in prime position to be bowl eligible in a season when many thought the team would be down as they rebuilt (not me though, definitely not. I wouldn’t even bother looking at our season preview or re-listening to early podcasts to prove differently).

Seven games to go, the Cougs need to win two more to become bowl eligible for the fourth season in a row for the first time in school history. A very winnable game against the Oregon State Beavers awaits but I remember what happened last time these teams met in Corvallis and I just unclenched for the first time in two years.

Before we get to the projections, a reminder of the Pac-12’s bowl tie-ins.

  1. Rose Bowl: Jan. 1st, 2:00 p.m. on ESPN vs. Big Ten
  2. Alamo Bowl: Dec. 28th, 6:00 p.m. on ESPN vs. Big 12
  3. Holiday Bowl: Dec. 31st, 4:00 p.m. on FS1 vs. Big Ten
  4. Redbox Bowl: Dec. 31st, Noon on FOX vs. Big Ten
  5. Sun Bowl: Dec. 31st, 11:00am on CBS vs. ACC/Notre Dame
  6. Las Vegas Bowl: Dec. 15th, 12:30 p.m. on ABC vs. Mountain West
  7. Cheez-It Bowl: Dec. 26th, 6:00 p.m. on ESPN vs. Big 12

(Note: The Redbox Bowl is the formerly named Foster Farms Bowl, which also had a cup of coffee as the San Francisco Bowl while they looked for a sponsor. We’ll let you know if they change to the Blockbuster Bowl at some point.)

SB Nation: SERVPRO First Responders Bowl

This is an at-large bid as the Pac-12 will likely have more than seven eligible teams and may be shut out of the College Football Playoff again. Day after Christmas isn’t great but it’s in Dallas and we’ve talked about in the past how appealing Mike Leach is for a Texas-based bowl. It would also be a reunion between Leach and former wide receivers coach and former quarterback Graham Harrell, who is the offensive coordinator for WSU’s projected opponent, the North Texas Mean Green.

ESPN: Redbox Bowl and Sun Bowl

I am open to whatever keeps WSU from playing another Big Ten opponent in the postseason so El Paso, please. A meeting with the Virginia Tech Hokies would also cause some family strife on my wife’s side, meaning I’ll just take a back row seat while watching the game and quietly sip my beer as items with gradually increasing weight are hurled across the room.

CBS: Las Vegas Bowl

It will be years until the Boise State Broncos are on the regular season schedule again but the Cougs will have a shot to play them in the postseason with the Mountain West’s Las Vegas Bowl tie in. The bowl will likely move up the hierarchy once the soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders’ stadium opens but, for now, it remains the marquee game on the opening day of bowl season and is always a threat to bring Brent Musberger out of retirement now that he lives down the street.

Sporting News: Alamo Bowl

Given the number of ranked teams ahead of the Cougs, just in their own division, this seems ... optimistic. However, Washington State vs. West Virginia would create a “there aren’t enough couches to burn in Texas” situation so yes, shoot this into our veins.

Sports Illustrated: Sun Bowl

IT’S A BATTLE OF THE COMMUNICATION COLLEGES. Winner is the team that gets furthest into Com 295 without an F error!