New Year’s Six Bowl: Where Does The Mountain West Fit?
Utah State, Boise State, and Fresno State are in the mix.
The Mountain West needs to help to get to a big time bowl game.
The latest College Football Playoff rankings came out and it saw Utah State and Boise State move up two spots each, with the Aggies at 21 and the Broncos at 23rd. Fresno State was not in the rankings this week, and that was not too shocking.
With just one regular season game and the championship weekend to follow there are just four realistic teams (maybe five) in the mix for a New Year’s Six game. Below is the pecking order of these teams.
- 12-0 UCF (AAC champ): winning out gets the Knights to its second-straight big-time bowl game. They are facing rival USF this weekend and then facing the winner between Memphis and Houston for the conference title.
- 12-1 Utah State (MW champ): This scenario would have the Aggies beating a ranked Boise State team on the road and then possibly a ranked Fresno State team in the conference title game. That would be two-straight quality wins and give the Aggies a boost in the rankings. If UCF slips up in the title game then Utah State slides into the NY6 bid.
- 11-1 UCF (Lose to USF; AAC champ): Currently the Knights are ninth in the CFP poll so losing to the Bulls would drop them to maybe the late teens heading into the title game of the American where they will play an eight- or nine-team which will not move the needle. This scenario would out UCF just ahead of a Boise State team that wins the Mountain West because the gap is too wide.
- 11-2 Boise State (MW champs): This placement would be extremely close for a one-loss UCF which also wins the American. Boise State would have a quality win over Utah State and a second over Fresno State. It just might not be enough to jump the Knights. What would help is if Fresno State is ranked in a title game.
- 11-2 Fresno State (MW Champ): Playing San Jose State will do nothing but the following week the Bulldogs will face a potential top 20 team in Utah State or Fresno State. Win that game and couple that with UCF not winning the American and the Bulldogs get in.
- 10-3 Houston (Beat Memphis; beat 11-0 UCF; AAC Champ): Ed Oliver could be back so that will help Houston quite a bit. The Cougars will not be ranked if they beat Memphis, but if they beat a UCF team which could be as high as seven if things fall a certain way they would be in contention as the American champion. The Cougars would also need Fresno State to win the Mountain West but also lose to San Jose State.
- 10-3 Fresno State (Lose to SJSU; MW Champ): This would require UCF to lose the game against USF and have Memphis beat Houston and then UCF in the American title game, but also the Bulldogs would lose to San Jose State in this scenario. There could be some arguments for Buffalo or App State if this scenario happens, but Fresno State’s win over a team ranked around 20 would trump any other win the MAC, Conference USA or Sun Belt champion would have.