On we go to the bowl season, with Washington State and Colorado State kicking it off Saturday in the New Mexico Bowl, and shortly after, USC and Fresno State meeting in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Washington State (minus 5) vs. Colorado State — So much of this depends on whether Colorado State can play above its 2013 resume, which isn’t terribly daunting. The Rams plastered some big numbers up on some bad teams, but they also drew encouragement from a relatively stiff showing at Alabama early in the season. I think if (a) Connor Halliday doesn’t turn the ball over, and (b) WSU keeps CSU runner Kapri Bibbs relatively at bay — say, under 100 yards, then it’s a WSU day. Washington State 41, Colorado State 30.
USC (minus 6) vs. Fresno State — I’m finding this a tough one to call, largely because it’s hard to know what sort of frame of mind USC will be in after all its turmoil recently. No doubt FSU will be rarin’ to go, and if you’re a Pac-12 follower, you’d also think the Trojans would turn in a better effort than their sad-sack performance a year ago in the Sun Bowl. (Eleven guys off the streets of Juarez might look better than USC did last year in El Paso.) I’m going to conclude that USC brings it and its athletes carry the day against FSU’s Derek Carr. USC 34, Fresno State 26.