From Pullman -- Tied with Oregon State and Arizona for seventh in the Pac-12 conference, Washington State will likely be competing with those programs for a place in the New Mexico Bowl, which selects last among the Pac-12 affiliated bowl games. The other two teams will have to hope for a spot as an at-large team in a bowl game affiliated with a conference with an insufficient number of eligible teams.
But there is another possibility for the Cougars. They could end up playing in the Fight Hunger Bowl, which picks a slot before the New Mexico Bowl. Find out how, after the jump.
There are two ways WSU or Arizona could find themselves in San Francisco for the Fight Hunger Bowl this holiday season. The first is that if Oregon plays in a BCS bowl, along with the winner of tomorrow's Pac-12 championship game. With two BCS teams, all the other programs in the conference would move up a spot.
Another possibility is that the Fight Hunger Bowl would "skip"the sixth place team in the conference -- Washington. The Pac-12 bowls are allowed to pass on a team with a better record as long as the team they select is within one game in the conference standings. So, the bowl could pass on UW, which is 5-4 in conference play, to take UA, OSU or WSU, which are each 4-5.
However, according to the bowl's executive director, Gary Cavalli, this seems unlikely.
"We can’t really be definitive but I can tell you that if everybody picks the way they’re expected to pick we would be looking at Washington, Washington State and Arizona," Cavalli said. "Since Washington beat both of those teams and finished ahead of them in the standings, that gives them a big leg up. We’ve never had them down here before, they’re a big-time program that travels well. So I think you could say that we’re looking at them in every positive way right now."
While OSU would also be a possibility under the selection guidelines, Cavalli indicated that the Fight Hunger Bowl isn't interested in the Beavers.
"When a team finishes with that many losses in a row, typically they’re not going to travel as well, fans are not going to be excited to go to that bowl game. We had that experience before here and its something that you try to avoid," he said.