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Bowl picture taking shape

With only a few weeks left in the season, the Mountain West bowl picture is quickly taking shape, so I thought I'd take a look at the possibilities and what bowl game Utah is most likely slated for if they win 6 games.

While 6 wins makes Utah bowl eligible, it does not guarantee them a bowl game.

Firstly, let's look at the teams that have a realistic shot of winning 6 games (or in BYU and TCU's case, already have won 6 games).

BYU: 8-2, games left: New Mexico, Utah
TCU: 6-2, games left: New Mexico, CSU, Air Force.
New Mexico: 5-4, games left: TCU, BYU, SDSU
Utah: 5-4, games left: CSU, Air Force, BYU
Air Force: 4-4, games left: Notre Dame, Utah, UNLV, TCU
Wyoming: 5-6, games left: UNLV
CSU: 4-5, games left: Utah, TCU, SDSU

BYU and TCU are already at the needed 6 wins, so we'll just look at the rest of the conference.

New Mexico should pick up its 6th win against San Diego State to end the season. They could upset TCU, but that is not likely. If they finish at 6-6, the Lobos will probably play in the inaugural New Mexico Bowl.

Utah's best shot at picking up 6 wins comes this Saturday against CSU. They lose, and there won't be any chance of getting a 6th win. That would probably put them in the Poinsettia Bowl, but some things could change that.

If Air Force beats UNLV and Utah, which they should, that would give them 6 wins and most likely Utah's spot in the Poinsettia Bowl. I think the Poinsettia Bowl would rather choose Air Force over Utah, not only because of their bowl drought, but because of the fact they're a service academy and could draw well in San Diego.

If that were to happen, Utah would have to hope for an at-large bid to another bowl game. That could be the Insight Bowl (not likely) and if they don't get an at-large, well then they would spend the holidays home for the first time since 2002.

Colorado State needs to beat Utah for any hope of a bowl game, while Wyoming will probably hit 6 wins, but not make a bowl game. I guess it's possible a bowl takes Wyoming over Utah, but not something I see happening.

Current bowl predictions:

Las Vegas Bowl: BYU
Armed Forces Bowl: TCU
New Mexico Bowl: New Mexico
Poinsettia Bowl: Air Force

I'm going to go out on a limb and say Utah wins its 6th game against Colorado State, but finishes the season 6-6. That won't be enough, unless Air Force stumbles against UNLV, to get Utah into a bowl game. Unless the Utes luck out and a bowl the Mountain West has no ties to comes calling, but I still think that is extremely unlikely.