Preseason Mountain West Bowl Projections
Our first stab at bowl picks.
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Who is going to the postseason?
Preseason bowl projections are about as useful as ones published over the summer. Yes, there is a bit more information like Boise State and San Diego State naming its starting quarterbacks in Hank Bachmeier and Jordon Brookshire
There were no major injuries within the conference during fall camp, thank goodness. One minor injury hiccup to a major star in regards to Nevada quarterback Carson Strong is the biggest news. He had knee surgery in high school and also had a procedure during the offseason which is why his spring was limited. Recently in fall camp, he had swelling and bleeding, all signs are he will play when the Wolf Pack open up against Cal but this is something to watch.
The 2021-22 bowl cycle looks to be a full go and should be back to normal this fall. There will be a different look for the bowl season within the Mountain West as the Los Angeles Bowl finally gets to have its debut and this contest is basically replacing the Las Vegas Bowl with the conference champion taking on a mid-level Pac-12 team.
That LA Bowl is the only one scheduled to be against a Power 5 opponent unless a Mountain West team gets to a New Year’s Six game or there is some shuffling. Also, it has a unique sponsor as late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel forked over some cash to be the title sponsor.
There is another sponsor for the Arizona Bowl but we will not mention who that is but we have thoughts on it.
This year’s Mountain West is expected to be very competitive and six bowl slots might not be enough. Perhaps there will be backup agreements but in this initial projection, if not there will be some disappointed teams.
With this being the first week of bowl projections, we will not dare to guess what at-large spots the Mountain West could fill at this time. Odds are there will be some shuffling and changing but that is something down the road once games are played.
As for the New Year’s Six spot, that is also off-limits right now since Cincinnati is sitting in the high teens in both the Associated Press and USA TODAY’s coaches poll. There will be chances for the Mountain West to move up since the Bearcats do have to play Notre Dame and Indiana this offseason, so if the losses start to add up and the Mountain West teams keep winning, then we can project a big-time bowl game for the leader of the Mountain West.
Bowl Lineup and matchups
College Football Playoff/New Year’s Six Bowl
Los Angeles Bowl vs. Pac-12, Los Angeles
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl vs. MAC, Boise, Idaho
New Mexico Bowl vs. Sun Belt or C-USA, Albuquerque, N.M.
Arizona Bowl vs. MAC, Tucson, Ariz.
SoFi Hawai’i Bowl vs. AAC or C-USA, Honolulu
Tropical Smoothie Café Frisco Bowl vs. C-USA