MEDIA CREDENTIAL APPLICATION OPEN: The media credential application for this year’s Gildan New Mexico Bowl is now open. To apply, visit www.sportssystems.com/newmexicobowl or follow the link at www.GildanNewMexicoBowl.com under Media Info. Deadline is 12 a.m., Saturday, December 14.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR THIS WEEK: After Black Friday shopping, curl up on the couch or stop by your favorite football viewing spot because there are two huge Pac-12 rivalry games on national television. Washington hosts Washington State in the Apple Cup at 12:30 p.m. PT on Fox and No. 13 Oregon welcomes Oregon State for the 117th Civil War battle on Fox Sports 1 at 4 p.m. PT. The in-state rivalries continue Saturday as No. 12 Arizona State has a lot at stake when Arizona comes to town. A win gives the Sun Devils the Territorial Cup for the second straight year and would make them South Division champions and the host of the Pac-12 Championship game. The Victory Bell is also up for grabs as crosstown rivals UCLA (No. 22) and USC (No. 23) square off on ABC at 5 p.m. PT.
The week kicks off for the Mountain West with a high-stakes game on CBS Sports Network Friday as San Jose State fights to become bowl eligible, hosting 16th-ranked Fresno State. Colorado State and Wyoming are also vying for eligible status, taking on Air Force and Utah State, respectively. The league highlights ESPN’s evening slots as New Mexico invades Boise State at 8:15 p.m. MT on ESPN2 and San Diego State charges into UNLV at 7:30 p.m. PT on ESPNU. A complete list of each conference’s games is available on the first page of the PDF.
WEEK 13 RECAP: Several teams had their fates decided last weekend. For the Mountain West, UNLV overcame arctic conditions at Air Force to become bowl eligible and Wyoming moved one game closer with an overtime win at home against Hawai`i. Colorado State and San Jose State couldn’t attain the necessary victory as the Rams fell on the road and the Spartans succumbed to Navy in three overtimes.
Washington State became bowl eligible with a win over Utah, which ended the Utes bid for the post season. Colorado’s hunt for a bowl was also put down as the Buffaloes fell to red-hot USC at home. Arizona had a storybook outing in front of a national audience, upsetting No. 5 Oregon. The Ducks’ loss eliminated their shot at the Pac-12 championship title. The South Division was decided as No. 17 Arizona State upset No. 14 UCLA in Pasadena to claim the crown and send the Sun Devils to the league’s championship game in two weeks. Complete results from week 13 are:
11/21 UNLV def. Air Force, 41-21 / 29,898
11/22 Navy def. San Jose State, 58-52 (3OT) / 16,876
11/23 Wyoming def. Hawai`i, 59-56 (OT) / 12,227 Arizona def. #5 Oregon, 42-16 / 45,777
Washington State def. Utah, 49-37 / 23,112 Utah State def. Colorado State, 13-0 / 20,284
#9 Stanford def. California, 63-13 / 50,424 #15 Fresno State def. New Mexico, 69-28 / 41,031
#17 Arizona State def. #14 UCLA, 38-33 / 70,131 #23 USC def. Colorado, 47-29 / 36,005
San Diego State def. Boise State, 34-31 (OT) / 33,161 Washington def. Oregon State, 69-27 / 43,779
BOWL PREDICTIONS: The bowl season kicks off here in Albuquerque in three weeks but we still don’t know who will be trolling the sidelines. The national writers have their predictions narrowed down and the majority think Colorado State will represent the Mountain West as the home team. Arizona gets the lion’s share of the nods as the Pac-12. Here is the breakdown of what has been selected for the 2013 bowl game:
Athlon Sports: Arizona (Pac-12) vs. Colorado State (MW)
Bleacher Report: Washington State (Pac-12) vs. Utah State (MW)
CBS Sports: Arizona (Pac-12) vs. Colorado State (MW)
CFN.Scout.com: Arizona (Pac-12) vs. Colorado State (MW)
ESPN (Mark Schlabach’s pick): Arizona (Pac-12) vs. Colorado State (MW)
ESPN (Brad Edwards’ pick): Oregon State (Pac-12) vs. San Diego State (MW)
ESPN (Ted Miller’s pick): Washington State vs. MW
National Football Post: Washington State (Pac-12) vs. UNLV (MW)
Phil Steele: Arizona (Pac-12) vs. Colorado State (MW)
SB Nation: Arizona (Pac-12) vs. Colorado State (MW)
Sports Illustrated: Washington State (Pac-12) vs. Utah State (MW)
WHO’S GOING BOWLING: There are only a few teams (12) left that are still fighting for bowl eligibility as 69 are already qualified while 45 have already been eliminated. Two teams have accepted bowl bids: BYU (Fight Hunger Bowl) and Navy (Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl). Three bowl spots, one in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, one in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, and one in the Little Caesars Bowl, have already been vacated.
For the Mountain West, which has six bowl commitments for its’ 12 members, Boise State, Fresno State, San Diego State, UNLV and Utah State are already eligible for bowl games. Colorado State, San Jose State and Wyoming need to win their final game this weekend to be in the running. Their remaining schedules are:
CSU: 11/30 vs. Air Force
SJSU: 11/29 vs. #15 Fresno State
WYO: 11/30 @ Utah State
The Pac-12, which has seven bowl tie-ins for its’ 12 members, has nine bowl-eligible teams in Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington and Washington State.
PAC-12 FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: On the heels of Arizona’s upset victory over Oregon, the Stanford Cardinal defeated California and punched their ticket for a repeat appearance in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game. The Cardinal clinch at least a share of the Pac-12 North Division title finishing league play with a 7-2 record and own the tie-breaker over Oregon, should the Ducks conclude the regular season with a win over Oregon State and also finish with a 7-2 league mark.
With their victory over UCLA Saturday night, the Arizona State Sun Devils move to 7-1 in league play and have secured a spot in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game as the South Division representative. The Sun Devils can win the division crown outright with a win over Arizona next Saturday. Should Arizona defeat Arizona State, the Sun Devils would finish no worse than tied for first in the South Division, and own the tie-breaker over USC, if the Trojans should also finish with an identical league record. Arizona State would host the Pac-12 Football Championship Game should it defeat Arizona next week. Should Arizona defeat Arizona State, the Sun Devils will travel to Stanford where the Cardinal will host the Pac-12 Football Championship Game for the second consecutive year. The Pac-12 Championship Game will be Saturday, Dec. 7 and televised by ESPN at 4:45 p.m. PT, or ABC at 5 p.m. PT.
INAUGURAL MW CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: The 2013 Mountain West Football Championship game will kick off at 8 p.m. MT / 7 p.m. PT on Saturday, December 7. The contest will be hosted at the home stadium of the regular-season Mountain West divisional champion with the highest BCS ranking. CBS will broadcast the inaugural title match-up. Currently, Utah State is in control of its own destiny with a 6-1 mark in MW play heading into the regular-season home finale against Wyoming. An Aggie victory, or a Boise State loss, would secure the Mountain Division title and propel them into the MW Championship Game against Fresno State. Boise State enters the final week of regular-season play with a 5-2 record in league action. The Broncos need a win in their home finale versus New Mexico and a Wyoming victory over Utah State in order for BSU to share the Mountain Division title with the Aggies and earn a spot in the championship game. Boise State holds the head-to-head tiebreak over Utah State with its 34-23 win over Utah State on Oct. 12.
In the West Division, Fresno State will be the representative even though it only has clinched a share of the division title heading into this weekend. Even with a Bulldog loss and an Aztec win, Fresno State holds the head-to-head tie-breaker after its 35-28 overtime victory at San Diego State on Oct. 26.
NATIONAL RANKINGS: The latest BCS rankings were announced Sunday evening and the Pac-12 still has five teams ranked among the top 25, but there was a lot of movement for them. One week after reclaiming the top spot for the league, Oregon fell to Arizona, dropping them to No. 13. Stanford moved up one spot to No. 8 and Arizona State shot past the Ducks with its win over UCLA, coming in at No. 12. The Bruins dropped from 14th to No. 22 and USC stayed No. 23 for the second straight week. For the MW, Fresno State slipped another spot for the second consecutive week, sitting No. 16 and lost its foothold on an automatic bid to a BCS Bowl, getting passed by Northern Illinois (No. 14).
The Associated Press and USA Today/Coaches’ top-25 polls were also released Sunday and the same five Pac-12 teams are ranked in both polls. Stanford is No. 8 in the AP poll and No. 10 in the coaches poll while Oregon is 12th in both. Arizona State is No. 13 in the AP and 18th in the coaches’ rankings, UCLA places 22nd and USC is 23rd in both.
For the Mountain West, Fresno State rose three spots in the USA Today/Coaches’ poll, sitting No. 13 but fell one spot in the AP poll, ranking No. 16.
TALE OF THE TURNSTILES: The heads have been counted and during week 13 the Pac-12 averaged almost 45,000 per game while the Mountain West drew over 25,500. The largest crowd for the Pac-12 was the 70,131 that witnessed the Arizona State Sun Devils steal the South Division title and spot in the Pac-12 Championship game away from UCLA at the Rose Bowl. For the MW, Fresno State hosted the largest crowd (41,031) as Derek Carr put up over 500 passing yards and 7 touchdowns to throttle New Mexico, 69-28. A complete breakdown of each team’s attendance figures is available in the attached PDF.