BOWL ANALYSIS: In one week, the number of postseason-eligible teams tripled with 18 teams now officially in the running for a bowl game. For our partner conference, Conference USA, WKU and Marshall are both in with 6-1 overall records. There are 21 teams that need just one more win to be eligible, including the Mountain West’s Boise State. Three teams, North Texas, UTSA and Wyoming, are in must-win situations.
THIS WEEK’S GAMES TO WATCH FOR: Week 8 starts with a Mountain West game between division leagers on ESPN2 Friday night. Utah State, coming off a big win at home against Boise State, heads to San Diego looking to snap an 8-game losing streak in the series with San Diego State. The league as four more conference games on Saturday, including two that have been hotly contested as of late. Three of the last four games between Fresno State and Air Force have been decided by six points or less. Six of the last seven between New Mexico and San Jose State have been decided by nine points or less, with the last meeting resulting in the 20-12 Spartan victory in the 2006 New Mexico Bowl.
Conference USA’s day begins and ends with nonconference games as Rice hosts Army and WKU heads to No. 5 LSU. Sandwiched in between are five league games, including two first meetings in Southern Mississippi-Charlotte and Florida Atlantic-UTEP. It’s also the first meeting for Middle Tennessee and Louisiana Tech as C-USA members. For a complete schedule with series notes, see page 1.
RECAPPING WEEK 7: WKU started the high-scoring weekend for Conference USA with a 55-28 victory over a winless North Texas program, improving to 4-0 in the conference. In the five league games in week 7, the winning C-USA team scored an average 40 points. Marshall also picked up a win, topping Florida Atlantic to improve to 3-0 in C-USA action.
In the Mountain West, Utah State stunned the 21st/22nd ranked Boise State Broncos Friday night, forcing seven first-half turnovers en route to a 52-26 win. The league had two more incredible victories as Fresno State and New Mexico pulled off come-from-behind victories. The Bulldogs trailed the UNLV Rebels by 14 with just minutes left in the 3rd before converting a field goal to end the quarter and finding the endzone twice in the fourth. The Lobos trailed by 10 at the half and won on a 28-yard touchdown pass with just 55 seconds left in the game to claim a one-point win. The Complete C-USA and MW results for week 7 are:
WKU def. North Texas, 55-28
Fresno State def. UNLV, 31-28
Utah State def. #21/20 Boise State, 52-26
Colorado State def. Air Force, 38-23
Marshall def. Florida Atlantic, 33-17
Middle Tennessee def. FIU, 42-34
Mississippi State def. Louisiana tech, 45-20
New Mexico def. Hawaii, 28-27
Old Dominion def. Charlotte, 37-34
San Diego State def. San Jose State, 30-7
Southern Mississippi def. UTSA, 32-10
Wyoming def. Nevada, 28-21