Colorado State is the Mountain West’s best hope to make a New Year’s Eve or Day Bowl … except for that loss to Boise State.
Otherwise, Boise State is the best hope … except for that loss to Air Force.
Because Boise State controls its own destiny for the Mountain West championship, Colorado State needs help to get into the discussion of representing the lower five conferences in one of the premier bowls.
That’s because the representative must be a conference champion, meaning even if the Rams finish 11-1 and ranked in the Top 25 ahead of the other non-power teams, they still won’t get in.
“That policy was recommended unanimously by the group of five conferences at the time the playoff was created, to reward the conference champions,” Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, said in an email. “The full group of 10 conferences subsequently adopted that recommendation.”
Rather than blame the system, however, the Rams should first point the fingers at themselves. They were the ones who were no-shows for the first three quarters Sept. 6 at Boise State, falling behind 37-10. Then the Rams scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to make the score look more respectable.
They’ve been on a roll since that day, winning seven games in a row and receiving votes in the two major polls. Colorado State might not be able to overcome those three lousy quarters, however.
Boise State has its own awful stretch of football it won’t live down, committing seven turnovers in a 28-14 loss at Air Force on Sept. 27. The Broncos’ other loss was the season-opening 35-13 defeat to Mississippi, which doesn’t look as bad now as it did then.
Colorado State and Boise State can’t say they didn’t have their chances if Marshall or East Carolina is the team playing in the Fiesta Bowl.
AROUND THE MOUNTAIN WEST
Boise State scored 143 points in three victories to close October, scoring an average of 47.7 points in defeating UNR, Fresno State and Brigham Young. … Fresno State reopened its quarterback competition between Brian Burrell and Zack Greenlee. …Hawaii’s 16-game road losing streak is the nation’s longest. …UNR’s Cody Fajardo became the second major-college quarterback to pass for 9,000 career yards and rush for 3,000. The other player to do it was Colin Kaepernick, who also played for the Wolf Pack, from 2007 to 2010. … Lamar Jordan is New Mexico’s starting quarterback after Cole Gautsche injured a foot Saturday at UNLV and appears out for the season. … Utah State faces a short week after returning from Hawaii on Sunday afternoon with plans to leave for Wyoming on Thursday. … Wyoming running back Brian Hill was named the Walter Camp national offensive player of the week after rushing for 281 yards and two touchdowns at Fresno State. He also caught three passes for 106, giving him 387 all-purpose yards, a school and Mountain West record.
1. Boise State (6-2, 3-1 MW). Last game: Defeated Brigham Young 55-30. Next game: at New Mexico, Saturday. Last meeting: Won 45-17 in 2013. Line: Boise State -17½.
2. Colorado State (8-1, 4-1). Last game: Defeated San Jose State 38-31. Next game: vs. Hawaii, Saturday. Last meeting: Won 35-28 in 2013. Line: Colorado State -17½.
3. Utah State (6-3, 3-1). Last game: Defeated Hawaii 35-14. Next game: at Wyoming, Friday. Last meeting: Won 35-7 in 2013. Line: Utah State -6½.
4. UNR (6-3, 3-2). Last game: Defeated San Diego State 30-14. Next game: at Air Force, Nov. 15. Last meeting: Won 45-42 in 2013. Line: N/A.
5. Air Force (6-2, 2-2). Last game: Defeated Army 23-6. Next game: at UNLV, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 41-21 in 2013. Line: Air Force -5½.
6. San Diego State (4-4, 3-2). Last game: Lost to UNR 30-14. Next game: vs. Idaho, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 34-20 in 2009. Line: San Diego State -21.
7. San Jose State (3-5, 2-2). Last game: Lost to Colorado State 38-31. Next game: at Fresno State, Saturday. Last meeting: Won 62-52 in 2013. Line: Fresno State -1½.
8. Wyoming (4-5, 2-3). Last game: Defeated Fresno State 45-17. Next game: vs. Utah State, Friday. Last meeting: Lost 35-7 in 2013. Line: Utah State -6½.
9. Fresno State (3-6, 2-3). Last game: Lost to Wyoming 45-17. Next game: vs. San Jose State, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 62-52 in 2013. Line: Fresno State -1½.
10. Hawaii (2-7, 1-3). Last game: Lost to Utah State 35-14. Next game: at Colorado State, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 35-28 in 2013. Line: Colorado State -17½.
11. New Mexico (3-5, 1-3). Last game: Defeated UNLV 31-28. Next game: vs. Boise State, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 45-17 in 2013. Line: Boise State -17½
12. UNLV (2-7, 1-4). Last game: Lost to New Mexico 31-28. Next game: vs. Air Force, Saturday. Last meeting: Won 41-21 in 2013. Line: Air Force -5½.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Hawaii at Colorado State. This is a dog of a week in the Mountain West, with no attractive games on the schedule. What makes this one a little better than the rest is the Rams’ continued pursuit of the conference title and perhaps an elite bowl, so the pressure is on to keep the winning going. And hope Boise State loses at some point.
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2914. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.