Oct 15, 2013

Week 8 Gildan New Mexico Bowl Notes

WHAT TO WATCH FOR THIS WEEK: All action for the Mountain West and Pac-12 Conferences are slated for Saturday, Oct. 19. The Mountain West has just four league games on tap as Air Force, Hawai`i, San Diego State and San Jose State all have byes. Colorado State and Wyoming kick off at Noon MT and the Cowboys are looking for their fifth straight win in the series and to stay undefeated in league play.

Boise State and Nevada follow as the Broncos look to remain undefeated (28-0) in October under head coach Chris Petersen. Utah State and New Mexico square off at 7 p.m. for the first time as league opponents and for the first time since 2003, which was the Aggies’ first year competing on the FBS circuit. The night ends for the MW with the undefeated (2-0) leaders of the West Division. UNLV and No. 17/19 Fresno State have not met since 1997 and both are riding hot streaks as the Rebels boast a four-game win streak since 2000 and the Bulldogs have won all five games they’ve played this season.

Every member of the Pac-12 hits the gridiron with five league games and two non-conference games. Colorado, originally slated to have a bye this week, is making up its rainout against Fresno State in week 3 with a last-minute game against Charleston Southern. USC resumes its storied rivalry with Notre Dame in South Bend, looking for revenge from last year’s loss at home. Conference play begins at 12:30 PT on ABC/ESPN2 with a rematch of last year’s Pac-12 Championship game as No. 13/13 Stanford hosts No. 9/10 UCLA. No. 20/25 Washington looks to end a two-game slide, visiting Arizona State, Washington State is at second-ranked Oregon and Utah is at Arizona. The night ends with Oregon State at Cal on ESPN2. A complete schedule with game information is available in the attached PDF.

WEEK 7 RECAP: Both conferences started off on Thursday night with league games that were decided by a touchdown. For the Pac-12, USC topped Arizona in its first game led by interim head coach Ed Orgeron. In the Mountain West, San Diego State won its second straight conference game, caging the Air Force Falcons. On Saturday, the MW had four more close contests. San Jose State and Wyoming each won by a touchdown while Boise State won by 11. Arguably the most exciting game in the league came in the final game of the night as UNLV started on its own 26-yard line with 1:39 remaining and drove 51 yards in 12 plays to set up Nolan Kohorst’s 44-yard field goal as time expired.

The Pac-12 had five conference games on the field Saturday. Three, No. 16 Washington at No. 2 Oregon, No. 5 Stanford at Utah, and Oregon State at Washington State were all tied at the end of the first quarter and were within two scores by half time but only one was close in the end. Utah made a goal-line stand in the final minute to end the Cardinals’ 13-game win streak and beat a top 5 team for the first time at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Complete results from week 7 are:

10/11 San Diego State def. Air Force, 27-20 / 17,280
USC def. Arizona, 38-31 / 64,215
10/13 San Jose State def. Colorado State, 34-27 / 26,022
Wyoming def. New Mexico, 38-31 / 22,853
No. 2 Oregon def. No. 16 Washington, 45-24 / 71,833
Utah def. No. 5 Stanford, 27-21 / 45,372
Boise State def. Utah State, 34-23 / 25,513
UNLV def. Hawai`i, 39-37 / 22,755
Arizona State def. Colorado, 54-13 / 50,104
No. 11 UCLA def. California, 37-10 / 84,272
Oregon State def. Washington State, 52-24 / 31,955

BOWL PREDICTIONS: Just one week away from the first BCS rankings of the season, there are already 11 teams that have achieved bowl-eligibiltiy status while two have been eliminated. Of the national writers who update their postseason projections each week, three different teams have multiple bids to represent the Pac-12 as the visiting team in the 2013 Gildan New Mexico Bowl. Utah leads the way after its upset of then fifth-ranked Stanford, garnering the Utes’ fourth win of the season. For the Mountain West, if you ignore the selections that haven’t been updated since the preseason, the two nods go to Wyoming, San Jose State and Utah State. Here is the breakdown of what has been selected for the 2013 bowl game:

Athlon Sports: USC (Pac-12) vs. Wyoming (MW)
Bleacher Report: Arizona State (Pac-12) vs. Air Force (MW)#
CBS Sports: USC (Pac-12) vs. San Jose State (MW)
CFN.Scout.com: Utah (Pac-12) vs. San Diego State (MW)
ESPN (Mark Schlabach’s pick): Utah (Pac-12) vs. Wyoming (MW)
ESPN (Brad Edwards’ pick): Arizona (Pac-12) vs. San Jose State (MW)
ESPN (Ted Miller’s pick): Utah vs. MW
National Football Post: UCLA (Pac-12) vs. Fresno State (MW)#
Phil Steele: Arizona (Pac-12) vs. Utah State (MW)
SB Nation: Oregon State (Pac-12) vs. Utah State (MW)
Sports Illustrated: San Jose State (MW) vs. Louisiana-Monroe (Sun Belt)*#
*at-large bid #pick not updated from preseason

NATIONAL RANKINGS: The latest Associated Press and USA Today/Coaches’ top-25 polls were announced Sunday and the Pac-12 has four teams in the Top 25, including two in the Top 10. It’s the 37th consecutive AP polling period where the Pac-12 has had three or more teams ranked in the Top 25. Oregon leads the way, sitting at No. 2 in both polls. UCLA moved up in both polls thanks to the loss of top-10 Stanford and Georgia, now placing No. 9/10. Stanford, suffering a loss to unranked Utah in Salt Lake City, fell from No. 5 in both polls to No. 13 while Washington’s loss to Oregon dropped them to No. 20/25.

For the Mountain West, Fresno State rose multiple spots despite not even taking the field. The Bulldogs come in at No. 17 in this week’s AP rankings, while sitting No. 19 in the USA Today/Coaches’ poll.

TALE OF THE TURNSTILES: The heads have been counted and during week 7 the Mountain West averaged 22,885 over five games while the Pac-12 averaged 57,959 in six games. The MW’s largest attendance figure came at home for the Colorado State Rams, who hosted their first league game of the season, witnessed by more than 26,000. The Pac-12’s biggest draw was 84,272 at the UCLA-California contest. A complete breakdown of each team’s attendance figures is available in the attached PDF.


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