Mountain West Football Bowl Projections After Week 12
Two more teams are bowl eligible this week.
Utah State, Hawaii are now bowl eligible
Two more Mountain West teams became bowl eligible over the weekend when Hawaii outlasted UNLV, 21-7, and Utah State survived Wyoming, 26-21, while also losing quarterback Jordan Love to an injury.
This now gives the league seven bowl-eligible teams and there are three teams at 4-6 in Fresno State, San Jose State, and Colorado State. Only two have a chance at six wins since the Spartans and Bulldogs play each other. The Rams are likely out as they would have to defeat Wyoming and Boise State to get to six.
With seven bowl-eligible teams, there still could be one or teams left out. There are five official Mountain West bowl spots. BYU has officially accepted an invitation to the Hawaii Bowl. Technically, the other half of the bowl goes to an AAC team but Hawaii is also an option.
It would make a whole lot of sense for the Hawaii Bowl to have is hometown Warriors play a former rival in BYU. The only way the Warriors are passed over is if the American has a ranked team available. There is a real possibility of three AAC teams being ranked at the end of the year; some combination of SMU, Memphis, Navy, and Cincinnati.
It all depends on the bowl and how many tickets they want to sell or if they want a good matchup. Hawaii vs. BYU could be both but it also would be attractive for the bowl game to have BYU vs. a team ranked in the 20s over the Warriors.
In this reincarnation of the Hawaii Bowl which dates back to 2002, the game has never had a ranked team in its game and that might be hard to pass up.
There is also some bowl shuffling going on with the Big Ten and SEC having more teams in the New Year’s Six and playoff to not allow enough teams to fill its required spots, and that is how the Mountain West could find space for all seven bowl-eligible teams.
There is an itch to just put Boise State in the Cotton Bowl but with the AAC having a fairly deciding edge that will have to wait until things look more realistic for the Broncos.
With some bowl swapping, we welcome the Frisco Bowl to our bowl projections.
A few notes about the bowl lineups. Starting with the Hawaii Bowl. The game has a vaguely worded tie-in which is a combination between BYU, Hawaii or an AAC team. The Warriors have a 13-game schedule and must have seven wins to secure a bowl berth. Technically, BYU takes the Mountain West spot but a Cougars vs. Warriors matchup would be a classic WAC rivalry renewal.
There is a new bowl this year and it’s a Power Five opponent from the Big Ten in the Armed Forces Bowl.
Overall, the league has six guaranteed bowl berths and is a backup for the Cheez-It Bowl if the Pac-12 or Big 12 does not have enough teams eligible. As always, there can be trades for the best matchups.
Finally, if the Mountain West is the highest-rated team in the College Football Playoff then a New Year’s Six Bowl game is an option at either the Cotton or Orange Bowl.
1. Las Vegas vs. Pac-12
– Famous Idaho Potato Bowl vs. MAC
– Gildan New Mexico Bowl vs. Conference USA
– Hawai’i Bowl vs. BYU or American
– NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl vs. Sun Belt
– Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl vs. Big Ten
– Cheez-It Bowl Conditional for MW if bowl can’t fill a spot.