THIS WEEK’S GAMES TO WATCH FOR: The Mountain West Conference kicks off our week on Thursday as 14th-ranked Boise State hosts BYU at 8:15 p.m. MT on ESPN. The Broncos have won 22 consecutive non-conference home games. Friday night, the league is back on the national stage as San Diego State hosts San Jose State at 8:30 p.m. MT on ESPN2. The Aztecs have won 13 straight MW conference games, which ties with Clemson for the longest active conference win streak in the nation. On Saturday, the league has four more conference games and one non-conference game as New Mexico hosts Louisiana-Monroe for the first time.
Three afternoon non-conference games and four league evening matchups are on tap for Conference USA this Saturday. Middle Tennessee travels to Missouri for its first SEC opponent since 2003, North Texas becomes the third C-USA school to face Army this season, and Rice plays Prairie View A&M for the first time in its homecoming game. Louisiana Tech and FIU fight to remain unbeaten in C-USA play as both enter gridiron 3-0 in the league. Old Dominion, also unbeaten in C-USA at 2-0, comes off a bye week and makes at trip to WKU, which has won nine straight home games against C-USA opponents. For a complete schedule with series notes, see page 1 of the attached PDF.
POSTSEASON OUTLOOK: The seventh week of the 2016 college football season is in the books and there are 13 teams eligible for a bowl game. The Big Ten has three perfect 6-0 teams in Michigan, Nebraska and Ohio State. The SEC’s Texas A&M and Alabama are also unbeaten and eligible with six and seven wins, respectively. Also eligible are the Pac-12’s Washington and Utah, Mountain West’s Boise State, MAC’s Western Michigan, American’s South Florida and Houston and ACC’s Clemson. There are still 115 teams that could possibly get eligible as no one has been eliminated yet.
For our partner conferences, the Mountain West’s Boise State was the first to become eligible with a victory last weekend. With a win this weekend, San Diego State would be the first from the league’s West Division to be eligible. On the flip side, Fresno State is the first to find itself in a must-win situation with a 1-6 record and just five games remaining. For Conference USA, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, Old Dominion, Southern Miss and WKU are two victories away from the six required for a bowl bid. Rice (0-6, 0-4 C-USA) is also in a must-win situation with six games left. Both leagues have commitments to six bowls, including the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
NEW MEXICO BOWL CONNECTIONS: As of October 19, there are currently 59 former collegiate athletes who played in at least one of the previous New Mexico Bowls and is listed as active, practice squad or injured reserve among 24 of the 32 NFL teams. Four, Marquis Bundy from New Mexico and Arizona’s Reggie Gilbert, Will Parks, and Scooby Wright, participated in last year’s game. All-time, the Gildan New Mexico Bowl has had 159 alumni listed on an NFL roster. A complete list of the active athletes is available in the attached PDF.