Boise State, TCU in line for invite to MAACO Bowl Las Vegas

When Boise State played in last year's MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, the 10th-ranked Broncos were the highest-rated team to appear in the local game.

Now, the Broncos could return to Las Vegas with an even higher ranking.

Bowl executive director Tina Kunzer-Murphy is careful not to divulge too much information, however, saying the committee is looking at No. 7 Boise State and No. 19 Texas Christian from the Mountain West Conference side for the Dec. 22 game at Sam Boyd Stadium.

"We have the conference champion in TCU and a team ranked in the top 20, and Boise State is a great football program," Kunzer-Murphy said. "Those are two pretty good football teams we have to make the decision."

The committee met Tuesday night, but the bowl probably won't be able to invite the Mountain West or Pac-12 team until Dec. 4, after the Bowl Championship Series games make their selections.

There is a chance, which depends on many factors, Boise State or TCU will make a BCS game, but the more likely scenario is the Las Vegas bowl will have its choice. Or the bowl could choose Wyoming in the remote event Boise State and TCU both go to BCS games.

The selection isn't so clear-cut on the Pac-12 side. Arizona State, California, UCLA or Washington probably will be headed to Las Vegas, but the bowl gets a choice for the first time, receiving the fifth selection rather than the fifth slot.


UNLV's 40-20 win over Hawaii on Sept. 17, its signature victory this season, could be under scrutiny. The Honolulu Police Department is investigating point-shaving allegations against Hawaii players over the course of the season. Hawaii was an 18½-point favorite over UNLV. ... Rebels coach Bobby Hauck knows in order to improve the conference's worst passing game, he will need to find answers in recruiting. "It has to be" an emphasis, Hauck said. "We are struggling to find passing yardage right now. We've got to protect, we've got to complete passes, and we've got to win at the receiver spot as well. That's a combination of things that we're not doing well right now." The Rebels' 114.7-yard passing average is fourth-worst nationally. ... New Mexico interim coach George Barlow has one more game before Bob Davie takes over. "I think the kids have really tried their best to stay focused and be mature about the situation, and they're continuing to try to get better," Barlow said. "If they keep building off of that with their new coach, I think they've got a chance to be drastically better than they have been this year."


1. No. 19 TCU (9-2, 6-0 MWC), off. The Horned Frogs play their final regular-season game as a Mountain West member Dec. 3 against UNLV. TCU joins the Big 12 Conference next year.

2. No. 7 Boise State (9-1, 4-1) vs. Wyoming (7-3, 4-1). The Broncos' 36 touchdown passes are three behind the conference record set by Brigham Young in 2001.

3. Wyoming (7-3, 4-1) at No. 7 Boise State (9-1, 4-1). The Cowboys have won seven regular-season games for the first time since going 7-4 in 1999.

4. San Diego State (6-4, 3-3) at UNLV (2-8, 1-4). Larry Parker's six interceptions are the Aztecs' most since Ricky Parker picked off six in 1995.

5. Air Force (6-5, 2-4) at Colorado State (3-7, 1-4). The Falcons need to win to become bowl eligible.

6. Colorado State (3-7, 1-4) vs. Air Force (6-5, 2-4). Freshman quarterback Garrett Grayson will make second consecutive start in place of injured Pete Thomas. Grayson passed for 248 yards at TCU on Saturday.

7. UNLV (2-8, 1-4) vs. San Diego State (6-4, 3-3). Dionza Bradford needs 36 yards to break James Wofford's school freshman rushing record of 624 set in 1997.

8. New Mexico (1-10, 1-5), off. Deon Long has 713 yards receiving, third on the Mountain West freshman list behind UNLV's Ryan Wolfe (911 yards in 2006) and BYU's Austin Collie (771 in 2004).


Wyoming at Boise State. Both teams are headed to bowls, and this game is about positioning. Boise State wants to keep alive its slim BCS hopes. Wyoming needs to win to make it even more attractive to Mountain West-affiliated bowls.


UNLV has been trying to lighten its future nonconference schedules, but it's not easy. The Rebels added home-and-home deals with Utah State and Louisiana Tech, and they travel to both places next season. But Louisiana Tech is 7-4 and just won the Western Athletic Conference title, and Utah State (5-5) is trying to make its first bowl appearance in 11 years. UNLV's nonconference schedule also includes home games against Minnesota and Washington State.