Nov 19, 2014

WEEK 13 NEWS & NOTES


The college football analysts are starting to agree on their predictions for the 2014 Gildan New Mexico Bowl. UTEP, which garnered 7 of the 13 predictions viewed, is the top vote-getter for Conference USA. Utah State still has a majority of the nods (6) for the Mountain West, but San Diego State is gaining ground with four this week. Three projections foresee Conference USA vacating its spot and filling it with either Houston or California.

Week 13 Notes in PDF Format

BOWL PREDICTIONS: The college football analysts are starting to agree on their predictions for the 2014 Gildan New Mexico Bowl. UTEP, which garnered 7 of the 13 predictions viewed, is the top vote-getter for Conference USA. Utah State still has a majority of the nods (6) for the Mountain West, but San Diego State is gaining ground with four this week. Three projections foresee Conference USA vacating its spot and filling it with either Houston or California. Here is the breakdown for the 2014 bowl game:
    Athlon Sports: UTEP (C-USA) vs. Utah State (MW)
    Bleacher Report: California (Pac-12) vs. San Diego State (MW)
    CampusInsiders.com: Houston (American) vs. San Diego State (MW)
    CBS Sports/Jerry Palm: Rice (C-USA) vs. Utah State (MW)
    CFN.Scout.com: Houston (American) vs. Air Force (MW)
    College Sports Madness: Louisiana Tech (C-USA) vs. Colorado State (MW)
    ESPN (Mark Schlabach’s pick): UTEP (C-USA) vs. Utah State (MW)
    ESPN (Brett McMurphy’ pick): UTEP (C-USA) vs. San Diego State (MW)
    NFL.com/College Football 24/7: UTEP (C-USA) vs. Utah State (MW)
    Phil Steele: UTEP (C-USA) vs. Utah State (MW)
    SB Nation: UTEP (C-USA) vs. Utah State (MW)
    Sporting News: UTEP (C-USA) vs. San Diego State (MW)
    Sports Illustrated: Louisiana Tech (C-USA) vs. Nevada (MW)
^indicates at-large bid

POSTSEASON PREVIEW: The first bowl commitment has been made: BYU is going to the Miami Beach Bowl. That leaves 75 slots left amongst the 38 bowls slated for 2014-15. There are currently 60 teams that are bowl-eligible, which requires six or more wins in most cases. There are 31 teams which could still get eligible and 37 that have been eliminated from the postseason, including Idaho (Sun Belt), which is eliminated due to NCAA probation.    For our aligned leagues, Conference USA has 13 teams and five bowl commitments while the Mountain West has 12 teams and 6 commitments. Both leagues also have one game where they are slated as a back-up.
    Conference USA’s Marshall, Louisiana Tech and Rice are eligible for a bowl while Middle Tennessee, UAB and UTEP all need one more win. C-USA’s North Texas needs to win the rest of its games to avoid elimination while FIU, Florida Atlantic, UTSA and Southern Miss are already ineligible. Old Dominion has four of the six wins needed with two games remaining. However, the Monarchs are in the transitioning period and ineligible for a postseason berth unless there are not enough bowl-eligible teams to fill every game. The road to a bowl for those still looking to get eligible looks like:
    Middle Tennessee (5-5): Florida Atlantic (3-7), at UTEP (6-4)
    Old Dominion (4-6): La Tech (7-3), at Florida Atlantic (3-7)
    UAB (5-5): Marshall (10-0), at Southern Miss (3-8)
    WKU (5-5): UTSA (3-7), at Marshall (10-0)
    The MW’s Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Nevada and Utah State have the wins needed for a postseason berth. San Diego State needs one more victory while Fresno State and Wyoming must win its last 2 games in order to make a bowl. Hawai`i, New Mexico, San Jose State and UNLV have been eliminated. The road to a bowl for those still looking to get eligible looks like:
    Fresno State (4-6): at Nevada (6-4), Hawai`i (3-8)
    San Diego State (5-5): Air Force (8-2), San Jose State (3-7)
    Wyoming (4-6): Boise State (8-2), at New Mexico (3-7)

RECAPPING THE WEEKEND: There were just four conference games and one non-conference game for both the Mountain West and Conference USA. UTSA and Southern Miss got action started for C-USA Thursday night with a low-scoring affair as the Roadrunners kept the Golden Eagles from scoring until the fourth quarter. Marshall served up revenge to Rice after the Owls spoiled the Herd’s season in the conference championship game last year. Marshall is now one of just two unbeaten teams this season. FIU spoiled Middle Tennessee’s bid to become bowl eligible while UTEP ran away from North Texas, garnering its sixth win and bowl-eligible status.
    Hawai`i ended a 17-game losing streak on the road, shutting out San Jose State on Saturday. In the other three league games, it was highly contested until the very end with multiple lead changes and ties. Also, the Mountain division continued its dominance over the West division as Air Force topped Nevada in overtime and Boise State rallied to beat San Diego State. Complete results for the week are:
        Conference USA                                            Mountain West
        UTSA def. Southern Miss, 12-10                Air Force def. Nevada, 45-38 OT
        Western Kentucky def. Army, 52-24           Utah State def. New Mexico, 28-21
        Marshall def. Rice, 41-14                            Hawai`i def. San Jose State, 13-0
        FIU def. Middle Tennessee, 38-28            BYU def. UNLV, 42-23
        UTEP def. North Texas, 35-17                    Boise State def. San Diego State, 38-29

THIS WEEK’S GAMES TO WATCH FOR: Conference USA gets us underway for the second straight week, this time with a Lone Star State battle as UTEP visits Rice. The game will air Friday at 7 p.m. CT on Fox Sports 1. Saturday, everyone except Southern Mississippi is slated to play. UAB will have its hands full, searching for its sixth win of the season against unbeaten Marshall. Western Kentucky is also looking to become bowl eligible, hosting UTSA as the programs meet for the first time. Middle Tennessee would love to earn a spot in the postseason at home on Senior Day, taking on Florida Atlantic, a team the Blue Raiders have beaten in three consecutive outings. Louisiana Tech can clinch the West Division title with a win at Old Dominion.
    Two more cross-divisional games are on tap for the Mountain West Friday night as Air Force travels to San Diego State and San Jose State invades Utah State. The Mountain division swept the cross-divisional games in Weeks 10, 11 and 12, boosting its record to 12-4 this season. Fresno State and Wyoming are both fighting against postseason elimination Saturday night. The Bulldogs are at Nevada (airing at 7:30 p.m. PT on ESPNU) while the Cowboys host Boise State (at 8:15 p.m. MT on ESPN2), a team they have never beaten in eight tries. For a complete schedule with series notes, see page 1.


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