ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The first game of the college football postseason will once again be the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, as it has been for the last five years. The annual bowl game will be played at University Stadium in Albuquerque on Saturday, Dec. 21, at noon MT/2 p.m. (ET) and televised nationally on ESPN and ESPN Radio. The eighth annual Gildan New Mexico Bowl is scheduled to feature teams from the Pac-12 and Mountain West Conference.
The Gildan New Mexico Bowl set a high standard with one of the best and most exciting games of the 2012 bowl season with the Pac-12’s Arizona Wildcats and Nevada Wolf Pack representing the Mountain West. The Wildcats scored two touchdowns in the final two minutes to come from behind for a thrilling 49-48 victory in a game that saw many offensive bowl records fall.
This year's game matches Colorado State (7-6) of the Mountain West against Washington State (6-6) of the PAC-12. It's the first bowl trip for the Rams since defeating Fresno State 40-35 in this game in 2008.
Washington State's last bowl game was the 2003 Holiday Bowl that produced a 28-20 win over Texas. Overall, Washington State is 6-4 in the postseason.
"It’s great to be able to welcome the Washington State Cougars back to the college football post season, and for the first time have them in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl," said Jeff Siembieda, Gildan New Mexico Bowl Executive Director. "The Cougs are an exciting team with a marquee passing attack and a passionate fan base that has been very vocal about wanting to be here with their team. And it’s great to have head coach Mike Leach on the sidelines in Albuquerque."
The Cougars are led by senior safety Deone Bucannon, who is a first team All-Pac-12 Conference honoree. Bucannon led the Pac-12 in tackles with 109, his second straight 100-tackle season. On the other side of the ball, WSU is led by junior quarterback Connor Halliday, who is fourth in the country in passing yards (4,187).
Colorado State's 7 wins this season is the most since 2003 (7-5). Their 5-3 Mountain West record is their best since the 2005 team posted the same record.
The Rams are the only school in the country with both a 3,000-yard passer and 1,500-yard rusher. Running back Kapri Bibbs leads the nation in total touchdowns (28) and rushing touchdowns (28) and ranks sixth in rushing yards (1,572). He has set the CSU and Mountain West touchdown records this season and is just 30 yards short of CSU's single-season rushing record. Quarterback Garrett Grayson ranks 16th in the nation in passing yards with a school-record 3,327 and ranks 22nd in completions per game (20.5). Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year candidate Shaquil Barrett is tied for third nationally in sacks (12.0) and ranks third in tackles for loss (20.5).
This is the first-ever meeting between the teams.
The Congrove Computer Rankings project Colorado State to win by 2.86 points.