Sometimes it might feel like there are too many bowl games, and then games like last year's New Mexico Bowl happen. Arizona trailed Nevada, 45-28, heading into the fourth quarter and needed two touchdowns in the final two minutes to pull off the comeback win. They did, stunning the world with a 49-48 rally. This bowl has also been host to a game that needed multiple overtimes.
The game will again feature teams from the Pac-12 and Mountain West this year.
Date and time, ET: Dec. 21, 2 p.m.
TV channel: ESPN
Location: Albuquerque, N.M.
Stadium: University Stadium (39,224)
Last year's score: Arizona 49, Nevada 48
Last year's attendance: 24,610
Last year's TV rating: 1.8 (2.6 million viewers)
Last year's payout for each school: $750,000
Team with the most all-time appearances: New Mexico, Fresno State, Wyoming and Nevada are tied with two appearances apiece.
Team with the most all-time wins: New Mexico, Wyoming, Arizona, BYU, Colorado State, San Jose State, Temple are tied with one win apiece.
Washington State (6-6, 4-5 Pac-12)
A 6-6 record is not necessarily something to be thrilled about, but under the circumstances, Washington State will take it. Mike Leach took over a Wazzu program that endured five consecutive losing seasons, and while his first year was a struggle, his team showed clear signs of progress in 2013, culminating in this bowl game appearance.
Washington State’s pass-heavy offense got better this season, though quarterback Connor Halliday remained turnover prone, throwing 21 interceptions. Those 21 INTs came in 652 attempts, but it’s still a rather ugly number. On the defensive side, the Cougars have struggled down-to-down, allowing 5.9 yards per play and more than 31 points per game. Fortunately, they managed to force 27 turnovers, which helped mask some of their issues. Only 11 teams have forced more turnovers.
Last bowl game: 2003 Holiday Bowl, 28-20 win
Last year without a bowl: 2012
All-time bowl record: 6-4
Head coach's bowl record: Mike Leach, 6-4
Colorado State (7-6, 5-3 MWC)
Jim McElwain's rebuilding job took another step in the right direction this season, and it's a pretty big one. The Rams had endured four consecutive losing seasons prior to 2013, so it had been a while since they were anything resembling competitive in the Mountain West.
CSU's renewed success was fueled largely by an improved offense that averaged about 35 points per game, which is a significant improvement over the 21.2 points it averaged a year ago. The Rams got a huge year from running back Kapri Bibbs, who finished the regular season with 1,572 yards rushing as well as an absurd 28 rushing touchdowns. Bibbs was the leader of a CSU ground attack that averaged more than 200 yards per game.
Last bowl game: 2008 New Mexico Bowl vs. Fresno State, 40-35 win
All-time bowl record: 5-7
Head coach's bowl record: Jim McElwain, 0-0