PULLMAN — The Washington State Cougars, who operate with one of the smallest athletics budgets in the Pac-12 Conference, continue to reap the benefits of Pac-12 membership.
The New Mexico Bowl requires WSU (and Colorado State) to pay for $150,000 in tickets. New Mexico Bowl and WSU officials said that amounts to about 5,000 tickets.
WSU, New Mexico Bowl and Pac-12 officials made no mention of supplementary money provided by the conference when asked Sunday and Monday about reports that WSU and Colorado State would be paid either $462,500 or $750,000.
WSU athletic director Bill Moos said the trip to Albuquerque for the Dec. 21 bowl (11 a.m., ESPN) will cost the Cougars more than the $750,000 payout, the NCAA-required minimum per school. Moos said WSU’s first bowl game in 10 years makes the cost worthwhile, since current players and the program’s future will benefit.
The Cougars said they had sold 3,500 tickets by Monday afternoon. Tickets, priced at $25 and $40, are available at www.wsucougars.com or by phoning (800) GO-COUGS. Tickets may be donated to charities and military in the Albuquerque area.
The Cougars resume practice Tuesday afternoon during final exams week. The workout will be held in WSU’s indoor practice facility in chilly Pullman, as were the other three practices the Cougars held since finishing the regular season with a Nov. 29 loss at Washington.
Las Vegas oddsmakers list 6-6 WSU as a 3½-point favorite over 7-6 Colorado State. The extended forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and a high of 40 degrees for the bowl game. Albuquerque sits on the Rio Grande River and averages 278 days of sunshine annually.
WSU is ranked first in the nation in the Sagarin computer rankings for toughest schedules. The Cougars played four Top 25 teams, including No. 2 Oregon and No. 5 Stanford. WSU opened the season at then-unranked Auburn, which is playing in the national title game . . . Moos said the marching band, spirit groups and staff with work assignments will be part of the Cougars’ traveling party . . . Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson is a nephew of Dan Grayson, an all-conference linebacker at WSU in 1989. The younger Grayson starred at Heritage High School in Vancouver, WA. . . . College Football Hall of Famer Joe Theismann, an NFL broadcaster and former NFL quarterback, will be the featured speaker at the bowl banquet the day prior to the game. . . The bowl provides each player with the maximum $550 in gifts permitted by the NCAA. Each school and conference also may provide gifts . . . The Pac-12’s contract with the New Mexico Bowl ends with this year’s game . . . Safety Deone Bucannon has accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL. . . . The Cougars are providing a survey to determine if there’s enough interest to warrant charter flights for fans to Albuquerque. Here’s the survey: https://www.