From Pullman -- The Washington State football team extolls the virtue of limiting its focus to one game, series and even snap at a time. As such they've been reticent to discuss the possibility of playing in a bowl now that they're one game away from bowl eligibility. We, however, aren't taking the field on Saturday and as such don't have to limit ourselves. Because WSU (5-5, 3-4 Pac-12) is favored against Utah at home this weekend it seems appropriate to take a look at the Cougars' bowl situation. After all, a postseason bid could have big benefits for the Cougars. Here's what coach Mike Leach had to say about the extra practices granted bowl teams.
No question. I think you get more than 15 … I think it's 22 but anyways you get quite a few. But yeah that's huge, I think it's incredibly helpful. We went to 10 straight bowls and I thought in the middle of 10 straight bowls that everybody should have the practice opportunities because it's a definite advantage. And then your young guys, you know, you can work them and the young guys will have improved a lot since camp.
More on bowl possibilites after the jump.
Under NCAA guidelines, any team that finishes with a .500 or better record and, only one or fewer games against non-FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) teams is eligible to play in a bowl game. However, there are only a finite number of bowls and it is mathematically possible, as occurred in 2006 when both WSU and Arizona were left out of bowl games with 6-6 records. Many bowls have tie-ins with certain conferences. In the Pac-12 the bowls are as follows:
- Rose Bowl
- Alamo Bowl
- Holiday Bowl
- Sun Bowl
- Las Vegas Bowl
- Fight Hunger Bowl
- New Mexico Bowl
The winner of the Pac-12 Championship Game plays in the Rose Bowl, unless that winner is playing in the BCS National Championship Game (this will all change next year with playoffs).
As of today, there are eight Pac-12 schools that already are bowl eligible. If Utah was to beat WSU, and then Colorado, and WSU beat UW in the Apple Cup, then both schools would also be bowl eligible. Or, if Colorado was to beat USC and Utah then they would be bowl eligible. Those two scenarios would mean that the season would end with 10 bowl eligible teams. After the Rose Bowl, the bowls have the discretion to invite whatever Pac-12 teams they want, in the order of preference listed above. While it's possible that other bowls could then invite any remaining Pac-12 teams, a 6-6 finish is no guarantee of postseason play this year.