WASHINGTON STATE athletic director Bill Moos has gone public with his desire for the Cougars football team to play in the New Mexico Bowl. “We have to focus on hopefully getting selected for that bowl,” Moos said Monday on his weekly radio show in Spokane. “If not, there are other opportunities out there that are very good.”
The 6-6 Cougars are not guaranteed a bowl game. However, Moos said New Mexico Bowl representatives have shown “a real, sincere interest in us.”
Other potential bowls for WSU, according to Moos, include the Heart of Dallas Bowl, the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit, the Pinstripe Bowl in New York City and the AdvoCare Bowl in Shreveport, La. (Moos on Monday morning did not mention the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, though that too has been floated as a possibility by multiple media sources, taking place on Dec. 23 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Moos said the New Mexico Bowl held in Albuquerque is “is a very good bowl.” The game, which matches Pac-12 and Mountain West Conference teams, has potential for good exposure because it is the first bowl game of the year, set for 11 a.m. PST on Saturday, Dec. 21.
MOOS SAID WSU’s Pac-12 competition for a New Mexico Bowl berth consists of Oregon State and Arizona. The Cougars finished stronger than the Beavers and Wildcats, but 6-6 Oregon State beat WSU handily in Pullman after a fourth quarter meltdown by the Cougs. Arizona lost at home to the Cougars, but the Wildcats are 7-5 and thrashed an Oregon team that easily defeated Washington State.
Moos noted that he has a long history of good relationships with power brokers at ESPN, who have a voice in most bowl selections, including New Mexico. The AD said he must “shout about the good things” WSU has to offer a bowl.
“I think we’re among the most improved, if not the most improved football team (in the Football Bowl Subdivision) this year,” Moos said. “We played Auburn as tough as anybody did this year. We all know what Auburn has evolved into.
We can win on the road. We’ve got fans that are itching to get to a bowl game. They’ve been through a 10-year drought of no bowls.
“We’ve got the flashy offense, a record-setting quarterback in Connor Halliday. We have the (coach) Mike Leach factor, which in itself is appealing to a lot of bowls and a lot of folks.”
Moos, known for his gregarious personality and ability to “sell” ideas, said he believes many bowl officials view WSU football “as an up-and-coming program, which is what we are. I just have to convince them that we bring fans. We already have over 2,000 commitments for tickets. It’s double since last Monday. That’s appealing as well.”
Moos said WSU students will be guaranteed six percent of the Cougars’ allotted bowl tickets. Moos said he’s received an overwhelmingly positive response to his insistence that he will not provide bowl tickets to fans who have been particularly “hostile” toward the Cougars in past emails to Moos.
“I might reconsider a couple,” Moos said. “I’ll go back and read them. There’s a handful or so, no chance.”
Moos expressed delight that the Cougar Athletic Foundation received more than $200,000 in donations during Apple Cup week last week. WSU women’s basketball coach June Daugherty was a guest on Moos’ radio show Monday, and she lauded Leach and his coaching staff at length and encouraged fans to purchase football season tickets.
“Let’s sell out (Martin Stadium),” she said.