BOWL ANALYSIS: There are just two weeks left in the regular season and there are still 31 teams across the nation that could get eligible to play in one of the 40 bowl games, not counting the National Championship. There are 62 programs already eligible and 35 that have been eliminated. As for our partner conferences, Conference USA, has four eligible teams in Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Southern Mississippi and WKU, and five fighting for postseason action. On the flip side, Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas and UTSA are out of the running. The Mountain West has five eligible teams in Boise State, Air Force San Diego State, Nevada and New Mexico, and three still in the hunt for a bowl. UNLV, Fresno State, Hawaii and Wyoming have been eliminated. A chart detailing both leagues teams whose fate is undecided and what is left on their schedule is available in the attached PDF.
CONFERENCE CHAMPION SCENARIOS: As the regular season comes to a close, both the Mountain West and Conference USA have division titles up for grabs. For Conference USA, the East Division winner will be decided in the final week as Marshall visits WKU on Friday, Nov. 27. The West Division comes down to the Southern Miss-Louisiana Tech game in Ruston, La. on Saturday, Nov. 28. The C-USA Championship game date, time and location will be announced after the division champions are determined.
Determining the MW Mountain and West Division champions is a bit more complicated. The one certainty is the 2015 Sports Authority Mountain West Football Championship will be at 5:30 p.m. MT on Saturday, Dec. 5 and televised by ESPN2. The division scenarios are as follows:
Boise State wins: with victories over Air Force and San Jose State and a loss by New Mexico in
one of its last two games.
Air Force wins: with victories over Boise State and New Mexico; with a win at Boise State and a
New Mexico loss to Colorado State; with a loss at Boise State, a victory at New Mexico and a
Boise State loss at San Jose State.
New Mexico wins: with victories over Colorado State and Air Force.
San Diego State wins: with a win over UNLV or Nevada; with a Nevada loss at Utah State.
Nevada wins: with wins over Utah State and San Diego State and SDSU loss at UNLV.
THIS WEEK’S GAMES TO WATCH FOR: The Mountain West kicks off Friday night at 7:30 on ESPN2 as Air Force and Boise State battle for first place in the Mountain Division. The last two meeting have been won by the home team and Boise State has not suffered back-to-back home losses since 1997. On Saturday, Colorado State, San Jose State and Utah State are fighting for postseason eligiblity. The Rams head to New Mexico, where they have won two straight and five in a row in the series. The Spartans are in a must-win situation, playing at Hawaii. SJSU has won five of the last six in the series but one three of the meetings have happened since 2000. The Aggies, who have won 13 straight at home, host Nevada, which is 9-3 in Logan and has won six of the last seven dating back to 2005.
Conference USA has all of its games on Saturday, including two non-conference matchups against the SEC as Florida Atlantic takes on No. 8/8 Florida and Charlotte travels to Kentucky. FIU, Middle Tennessee and Old Dominion are all entering the day needing just one win to become bowl eligible. FIU is playing its final game of the regular season, hosting WKU, which is atop the East Division. Middle Tennessee has won two straight as it hosts North Texas. Old Dominion has never been eligible for a bowl before but may have to wait another week as it travels to West Division co-leader, Southern Mississippi. For a complete schedule with series notes, see page 1 of the attached PDF.
RECAPPING WEEK 11: There was a lot of tough games on Saturday for both the MW and C-USA. Four of the six MW games were decided by two touchdowns or less. New Mexico stunned Boise State, 31-24 in Idaho for its sixth win of the season, a first since 2007. Air Force also one by a touchdown (35-28), moving into first place in the Mountain Division. Nevada took San Jose State into overtime before earning a 37-34 victory for its sixth win of the season.
Three of the six C-USA games were also decided by two possessions or less and three of the victors were away from home. Middle Tennessee picked up its fifth win, topping Florida Atlantic, 24-17, on the road. UTSA also garnered a hard-fought road win, topping Charlotte in overtime, 30-27. Southern Miss’s Nick Mullens helped his Golden Eagles fly high on the road as he threw for five touchdowns in a 65-10 win at Rice. Complete C-USA and MW results for week 11 are available in the attached PDF.