Notoriously known as a poor football school, the Washington State Cougars have rebounded nicely from a 3-9 season a year ago to post six wins in 2013. Not having won a conference title since the early 2000s and having just four all-time, this team has a long way to go before it can be considered relevant.
It has been quite the same story for the Colorado State Rams as they have had a much more successful year in 2013 than they had in 2012 when they won just four games. With a 7-6 record on the season thus far, the Rams look to win their first bowl game since 2008 — the last time they went.
Washington State has had one of the best passing offense in the nation this year, ranking fourth in the nation in passing yards per game. The run game, however, is one of the worst in the nation, ranking an embarrassing 123 in the country. The Cougars are led by quarterback Connor Halliday who has passed for 4,187 yards and 28 touchdowns on the year, hitting Gabe Marks 69 times for 770 yards and six scores. Dom Williams has caught 39 passes for 644 yards and seven scores on the year.
Colorado State ranks in the upper half of the nation in most offensive categories and it has been a very consistent team. The pass game has been solid this season, ranking 39th in the nation in passing yards per game behind Garrett Grayson who has passed for 3,327 yards and 21 touchdowns while hitting Rashard Higgins a team-high 64 times for 795 yards and six scores. Kapri Bibbs leads the 31st-ranked rushing offense in the nation with an unreal 28 rushing touchdowns on 1,572 yards and 6.2 yards per carry.
Defensively, Washington State has struggled mightily this season. The Cougars rank 92nd in the nation in points allowed per contest while also ranking 104th in yards allowed per game, allowing more than 460 yards per contest. Colorado State has been a bit better, ranking 79th in points allowed and 75th in the nation in yards allowed per game.
Washington State and Colorado State will face off in the 2013 Gildan New Mexico Bowl in Albequerque, N.M., at 2 p.m. EST on Friday, Dec. 21. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN.
PREDICTION: Washington State 31, Colorado State 30
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.