From Pullman — It's not official yet but all signs say Washington State will take on Colorado State in the New Mexico Bowl. So let's take an early look at WSU's opponent. Like WSU, a second-year coach has led the Rams to their first non-losing season in years. Under former Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain, CSU (7-6, 5-3) is headed to its first game since 2008, when it defeated Fresno State, also in the New Mexico Bowl.
Follow the jump for some statistics that should shed some light on the Rams.
From Pullman — ESPN's Brett McMurphy tweeted that Washington State will play Colorado State in the New Mexico Bowl, which is owned by ESPN. The game will be played on Dec. 21, in Albuquerque, N.M. Keep in mind that this is neither official nor confirmed, yet.
Washington State will play Colorado State in New Mexico Bowl, source said— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) December 8, 2013
From Pullman — Washington State will find out if, when, and where it will be going at some point today. Follow the jump for all of the final bowl projections, including my own.
UPDATE: Reports are coming in that Oregon State will take on Boise State in the Hawai'i Bowl. Fight Hunger Bowl directors told the Spokesman-Review this week that they will not be selecting the Beavers, leaving only the New Mexico Bowl as a possibility.
That could be the case according to Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel.
I'm told an MWC team (likely UNLV) now going to Heart of Dallas Bowl, Boise State-Pac-12 (Oregon St?) likely game in Hawaii.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) December 8, 2013
The Hawai'i Bowl is one of the games run by ESPN. Earlier this week WSU athletic director Bill Moos told the Spokesman-Review that he was lobbying his contacts at ESPN to try and get WSU into one of those bowls, should the Cougars not receive a bid from a Pac-12 affiliated bowl.
While it is looking increasingly possible that Oregon will be invited to a BCS bowl, even in that scenario it would still technically be possible for the Cougars to need an at-large invitation to play in a bowl game. If that's the case, it looks like Hawai'i could be their destination.
UPDATE: As SpectreCoug points out in the comments, the post previously incorrectly listed bowls as being operated by ESPN. I was working off the wrong list and apologize.
Business is about to pick up for Gonzaga, which faces its first true road game Tuesday at West Virginia, then takes on South Alabama in Seattle and Kansas State in Wichita.
The Bulldogs enter that stretch following an 80-68 victory New Mexico State on Saturday, but they now have some injury issues with guards Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr.
More below in my day-after post (warning: it's a long one!).
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Can't quite remember a bigger Sunday. The Seahawks are in San Francisco for an afternoon battle with the 49ers. The Cougars will find out their bowl fate. And I promised Kim we would get a Christmas tree. Guess which one is the priority? Read on.
Video courtesy of Thomas Backman on YouTube.
From Pullman — There was only one Pac-12 football game this weekend and it was a big one. Stanford thrashed Arizona State to win the Pac-12 championship and secure a Rose Bowl berth. But just because the rest of the conference's teams weren't playing this weekend doesn't mean that there wasn't a lot of action that affected the teams. Texas lost, but Oklahoma won, increasing the likelihood of the Pac-12 getting two BCS teams. And the Heart of Dallas Bowl is more likely to take a Pac-12 team with Ohio State's loss.
The men's basketball team escaped Moscow with a win to continue their run of dominance over Idaho … Colorado knocked off No. 6 Kansas, their former Big 12 rival, in a big win for the Pac-12 … Arizona held off UNLV … The Bruins fell to Missouri … Utah stayed undefeated at home with a win over Fresno State.
A great crowd. A great atmosphere. A great game. But Idaho couldn't come up with one last shot — or one last rebound — against its border rival on Saturday night. The Vandals fell 67-66 to Washington State, and we have a recap from UI's perspective below.
Gonzaga's usual formula of 3-point shooting and a guard-driven, efficient offense needed some help Saturday.
It came in the form of Sam Dower Jr. (22 points), Gerard Coleman (21 points), rebounding (45-30 edge) and tenacious defense (keeping New Mexico State to a shooting percentage in the 30s until the latter stages of the game). It all added up to an 80-68 Gonzaga victory over the Aggies.
GU dealt with injury before the game (Kevin Pangos was a game-time decision because of a sprained toe) and during the game (Gary Bell Jr. exited early in the second half with a right hip injury). Bell said he hopes to be able to play Tuesday at West Virginia.
My unedited game story is below. I'll have a day-after post in the morning.
S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered the EWU's defeat of South Dakota State 41-17, at home in Cheney, Wash., Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. Check out his big picture story!
From Pullman — The Washington State football team again practiced indoors today, meaning that we reporters were not privy to what happened after the first 15 minutes. After practice we spoke with defensive line coach Joe Salave'a, however.
Read the Q&A after the jump.
There aren't many college teams with frontcourts taller and bigger than GU's 7-1, 296-pound Przemek Karnowski and 6-9, 243-pound Sam Dower Jr., but one is visiting the McCarthey Athletic Center tonight. New Mexico State, with 7-5, 355-pound Sim Bhullar and 6-10, 265 Tshilidzi Nephawe, takes on GU at 8 p.m.
Bhullar is one of four NMSU players from Toronto, including guard Daniel Mullings, who was teammates with Gonzaga's Kevin Pangos for Canada at the World University Games last summer. According to northpolehoops.com, there are 104 Canadians playing D-I basketball.
The Aggies haven't defeated a ranked opponent since knocking off Nevada in Jan., 2007.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
On this anniversary of the day that changed the world, we should all take some time to remember those whose lives were irrevocably altered that Sunday morning 72 years ago. Then we can move on to lesser things like sports. Read on.
The over/under on today's Eastern Washington-South Dakota State playoff game: 11, and I didn't get that from the boys in Vegas. That comes from the guys at the National Weather Service. A high today of 11, with a wild-chill factor of minus-5. Here's my game preview, plus the official preview from Eastern, which also made warm gesture this week. Meanwhile, here's everything you want to know about South Dakota State. … Two former Eagles won recognition from the Big Sky Conference. … Meanwhile, it'll be even colder in Missoula, where the Grizzlies know that weather alone doesn't win football games. … Stay warm, my friends.
From Pullman — The Pac-12 championship game is today. Because the winner is going to the Rose Bowl either way, it does not really matter who you root for as the game should have no impact on WSU's bowl situation. Maybe a Stanford win would be a bit better as Oregon is more likely to jump Arizona State than Stanford in the BCS standings … But WSU fans should root for Texas today … We've got an update on WSU's bowl situation in today's paper … Boise State's interim coach is a WSU alum … Micaela Castain of the WSU women's soccer team has been named a second-team All-American.
We'll have a live chat at noon to talk about Pac-12 football and WSU's bowl situation.
Links from around the conference, after the jump.
It seems a distant memory, but seven weeks ago the Spokane Chiefs had the best winning percentage (.833) in the Western Hockey League. Following Friday night's 7-3 loss to Seattle, the Chiefs are 4-5-0-2 in the last four weeks. Read story