BOWL ANALYSIS: It’s conference championship week for everyone but the Big 12 and Sun Belt. There are still three teams across the nation that could get eligible to play in one of the 40 bowl games, not counting the National Championship. There are 75 programs already eligible and 50 which have been eliminated. That means the open spots will be filled by 5-7 teams with the highest Academic Progress Rates. Based on 2013-14, Nebraska has the best APR among 5-7 teams, at 985. Missouri and Kansas State are next on the list, with an APR of 976, followed by Minnesota (975), San Jose State (975), Illinois (973) and Rice (973). The Tigers announced late Monday that they will forego a bowl bid this year after the resignation of head coach Gary Pinkel.
As for our partner conferences, Conference USA, has five eligible teams in Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, Southern Mississippi and WKU to accompany its seven bowl commitments. The Mountain West has seven eligible teams in Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, and Utah State with six bowl agreements.
The semifinal matchups for the College Football Playoff will be announced between 10:30-11 a.m. MT on Sunday, Dec. 6. Following that, the matchups for the remaining New Year’s Six bowl games will be determined and announced between 1-2 p.m. MT. All remaining bowl game matchups may be announced after 2 p.m. MT. ESPN will conclude the night with a bowl preview show from 6:30-9 p.m. ET.
CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS THIS SATURDAY: With a 49-28 win over Marshall last Friday, the WKU Hilltoppers claimed the East Division crown earned the right to host the 2015 Conference USA Football Championship Game on Saturday, December 5. Southern Miss punched its ticket to the championship game as the West Division champs with a 58-24 victory at Louisiana Tech. The 2015 C-USA Championship Game will be televised live on ESPN2, beginning at Noon EST/10 a.m. MST. Southern Miss and WKU have met just once before as the Hilltoppers ran past the then-defending Conference USA Champion Golden Eagles, 42-17, on Sept. 12, 2012. Traditionally, home teams are 7-3 all-time in the C-USA Championship Game. Southern Miss was the last road team to win, beating Houston in 2011. WKU is the 10th different school to play in the C-USA Championship. Schools are 4-5 all-time in their first appearance.
The Air Force Falcons and San Diego State Aztecs will play in the 2015 Sports Authority Mountain West Football Championship Game on Saturday, December 5. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. PT/5:30 p.m. MT at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif. and will be televised on ESPN2. Air Force clinched the Mountain Division crown by virtue of its 37-30 victory at Boise State two weeks ago, combined with Colorado State’s 28-21 win over New Mexico in Albuquerque on Nov 21. The Falcons, are seeking their first Mountain West football title and fourth overall league crown. The last time the Falcons won a conference football championship was in 1998. San Diego State secured the West Division after Utah State’s 31-27 victory over Nevada on Nov. 21. The Aztecs are in search of their first outright Mountain West football championship. It would also be SDSU’s first outright football title overall since 1986. The two programs did not meet this season. The Falcons hold a 19-14 series advantage over the Aztecs, including an 11-6 record at home. SDUS holds the advantage in San Diego, 8-7 and is currently riding a 5-game win streak in the series with Air Force.
RECAPPING WEEK 13: It was a weekend that went against the odds for Conference USA as four of the six road teams were victorious, including Southern Miss, which beat Louisiana Tech for the West Division title in Ruston. Florida Atlantic also won on the road, handing Old Dominion its seventh loss of the season and eliminating the Monarchs from bowl contention.
The Mountain West got underway Friday afternoon as the Boise State Broncos snapped a two-game losing streak with a 17-point win at San Jose State and potentially ended the Spartans run for the postseason. On Saturday, San Diego State garnered a double-digit win over Nevada, completing the conference regular season undefeated. Complete C-USA and MW results for week 13 are:
Boise State def. San Jose State, 40-23
WKU def. Marshall, 49-28
BYU def. Utah State, 51-28
Boise State def. San Jose State, 40-23
Colorado State def. Fresno State, 34-31
FAU def. Old Dominion, 33-31
Hawaii def. Louisiana Monroe, 28-26
Middle Tennessee def. UTSA, 42-7
New Mexico def. Air Force, 47-35
Rice def. Charlotte, 27-7
San Diego State def. Nevada, 31-14
Southern Miss def. Louisiana Tech, 58-24
UTEP def. North Texas, 20-17
Wyoming def. UNLV, 35-28