It appears a dream has died: According to a report from Jacob Thorpe of the Spokesman-Review, the Holiday Bowl has decided to extend its invitation to the USC Trojans, leaving WSU out in the cold -- literally.
With the Foster Farms Bowl -- the Pac-12's No. 4 bowl selection -- widely expected to extend its invitation to UCLA, that leaves WSU and Utah as the options for the Sun Bowl (which selects fifth) and the Las Vegas Bowl (which selects sixth). WSU and Utah are the only two options for those two bowls.
In the end, it really wasn't that close.
The committee vote for USC was nearly unanimous. Again, this is assuming Alamo Bowl picks Oregon instead of USC.— Jacob Thorpe (@JacobThorpeSR) December 6, 2015
By the way, if the Alamo picks USC, that just means USC and Oregon switch places, so it will have no effect on the Cougars.
So, what happened with the Holiday? As the momentum seemed to be building in the last few days for USC's selection to the game, my working theory was that there was one Holiday Bowl committee member -- maybe even two -- who had seen WSU and remembered 2003 and was willing to pound the table for the Cougs, and he/she was the source of the reports early in the week that suggested WSU was a serious contender for the game.
But when there's a choice between USC and WSU?
FWIW, it was described to me as "perhaps the toughest decision (the Holiday Bowl selection committee) has ever faced." Brand name won out.— Jacob Thorpe (@JacobThorpeSR) December 6, 2015
Now, we wait. The prevailing wisdom all week was that if the Holiday Bowl went away from the Cougs, the Sun Bowl would snap them up over Utah. We'll see.