SEATTLE — While Washington State athletic director Bill Moos hinted broadly Monday that the Cougars will play in a bowl game this season, a Sun Bowl official said Washington will be under serious consideration for that game if it beats WSU in Friday’s Apple Cup.
Both teams are bowl-eligible, the Cougars at 6-5 and Washington at 7-4. Nine schools from the Pac-12 are eligible and the league has seven bowl affiliates with the prospect of getting only one team to the BCS, which would leave two programs hunting for berths left open by leagues that can’t fill their obligations.
Moos, on his radio show on KXLY in Spokane, said, “I’m not going to sit right here and promise a bowl game, but I’ve been around this business a long time and I can tell our fans, they need to get prepared to get tickets.”
Meanwhile, if Washington wins Friday and gets to eight wins, “that makes them a lot more attractive,” said John Folmer, longtime chairman of the Sun Bowl selection committee. “A great deal of it is going to depend on what kind of feedback we get from their fans.”
The Dec. 31 Sun Bowl, picking behind the Rose, Alamo and Holiday bowls, figures to have attractive options. Stanford (9-2) and Arizona State (9-2) meet for the Pac-12 title, but Oregon is 9-2, USC is 9-3 and UCLA 8-3. The Huskies, at 8-4, would thus be weighed against two of those remaining teams (or possibly one, because the Sun isn’t high on USC after a downbeat showing there last year).
San Francisco’s Fight Hunger Bowl has been seen as the likely destination for the Huskies, opposite BYU, which is already committed to the game. The Fight Hunger has No. 6 pick of Pac-12 teams, but the Las Vegas Bowl, picking No. 5, hosted Washington last year and is widely figured looking elsewhere.
“We’d be very excited if Washington is 8-4 and available,” said executive director Gary Cavalli of the Dec. 27 Fight Hunger Bowl. “If they’re not and one of the LA schools is, we’d be very excited about that, as well. And thirdly, we like Arizona (7-4).”
Sources say Moos has been in talks with the New Mexico Bowl (Dec. 21), and he said Monday, “Most probably, it’s going to be one of the earlier bowls.” Arizona, which might be in competition with the Cougars, played in the New Mexico a year ago.
Jeff Siembieda, executive director of the New Mexico Bowl, acknowledged conversation with Moos, but said, “We’ve had contact with a lot of schools.
“Washington State does have appeal to us. I love a program on the upswing, and we’ve had a lot of success with programs that haven’t been to a bowl game in a while. It seems like there’s a real good feeling about that program, and a lot of energy.”