ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Colorado State will play Washington State in the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 21.
The Mountain West Conference's Rams (7-6) also played in the 2008 New Mexico Bowl, which was the team's last trip to the postseason. The Rams defeated Fresno State 40-35.
"This is an exciting day not only for our team and our program, but for fans of Colorado State who have waited five years for the chance to go back to a bowl game," Colorado State coach Jim McElwain said. "I'm especially happy for our seniors, who have really stuck together and made a commitment to each other that they will get to finish their career experiencing a bowl game for the first time."
The Cougars (6-6) are playing in a bowl for the first time since 2003. Washington State finished the regular season with a 27-17 loss to rival Washington in the Apple Cup, but the team doubled its total wins from the year before — showing steady progress under second-year coach Mike Leach.
While the Cougars were bowl eligible, it did not mean they were guaranteed a postseason berth. Nine teams from the Pac-12 were eligible with just seven conference Bowl spots.
"There was never any doubt in my mind that we were going to a bowl game," Leach said Sunday night.
Colorado State is 5-7 in the program's 12 bowl appearances, including a run of nine postseason berths during coach Sonny Lubick's tenure from 1993-2007.