The 2013 college football bowl season gets started with a bang this Saturday afternoon with several intriguing match-ups including the New Mexico Bowl at 2:00 pm EST in Albuquerque, NM featuring the Washington St. Cougars (6-6) out of the PAC-12 Conference and coached by spread offense guru Mike Leach, taking on the Colorado St. Rams (7-6) out of the Mountain West Conference coached by Jim McElwain. Washington St. is making their first bowl game appearance since 2003, and Colorado St. their first appearance since 2008. Colorado St. rallied to qualify for a bowl game this season with a 3-1 run to close out the season, including a 58-13 pasting of Air Force in their season finale as 17-point favorites at home. Washington St. won 2 of their final 3 games despite a 27-17 loss to Washington in the Apple Cup to close out the regular season.
Washington St. ranks 53rd in total offense with 423.2 yards per game and 60th in scoring offense with 29.8 points per game behind a passing game that averaged 364.5 YPG (4th nationally) in Leach’s spread offense. Quarterback Connor Halliday threw for 4,187 yards with 28 TDS and 21 INTs with wide receivers Gabe Marks (69 receptions, 770 yards, 6 TDs) and Dom Williams (39 receptions, 644 yards, 7 TDs) the two top targets in an offense that spread the ball around with 8 different receivers tallying over 30 catches. Washington St. ranked 101st nationally in total defense with 446.6 YPG allowed and 91st in scoring defense with 31.3 PPG allowed.
Colorado St. ranks 28th in total offense with 461.2 yards per game and 28th in scoring offense with 35.3 points per game. Quarterback Garrett Grayson threw for 3,327 yards with 21 TDs and 10 INTs in a balanced offensive attack that is complimented by the running of Kapri Bibbs (1,72 yards rushing, 28 TDs). Wide receivers Rashrad Higgins (64, receptions, 795 yards, 7 TDs) and Joe Hansley (48 receptions, 557 yards, 1 TD) are the top aerial threats for the Rams. Colorado St. ranks 78th nationally in total defense with 417.5 YPG allowed and 78th in scoring defense with 28.6 PPG allowed.
Washington St. vs. Colorado St. Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Washington St. Cougars -4.5
@ Colorado St. Rams +4.5
Over 65 (-110)
Under 65 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Washington St. vs Colorado St. Pick
The past 5 New Mexico Bowls went OVER total. WSU is 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games dating back to last season, while Colorado St. is 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games and 3-1 ATS in their last 4 games. WSU went 3-5 straight up in their last 8 games after starting out the season with a 7-point loss to Auburn as a 14 point underdog and defeating USC 10-7 in week 2 as a 16-point underdog. Both coaches are in their second year at the helm and are looking to use this game as a stepping stone to take their teams to the next level.
Bibbs leads the nation in touchdowns, and should be able to run up and down against a Washington St. defense that ranks 84th in the nation with 184 YPG allowed. Likewise Washington St. should be able to have a great deal of success throwing the ball against a CSU defense that ranks a dreadful 109th in pass defense with 265.4 YPG allowed. The Cougars played what USA Today called the toughest schedule in the nation, and they were able to hang with BCS National Championship Game participant Auburn in a 1-24 week 1 loss so they will not be intimidated here. Look for them to throw the ball early and often and take advantage of CSU’s deficiency in stopping the pass. This will force CSU to abandon the run game and negate their advantage in that area somewhat. This tilts the scales in favor of Washington St., take the Cougars in this one.