THIS WEEK’S GAMES TO WATCH FOR: As we enter the final month of the regular season, there is so much to be decided. Week 10 begins for us with the Mountain West’s 24th-ranked Boise State looking to rebound from its first league loss of the season. The Broncos, which are 12-0 against San Jose State, host the Spartans Friday night at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN2. Saturday morning, Air Force’s final battle for the Commander-in-Chief Trophy kicks off at 10 a.m. MT at West Point against Army. New Mexico has home field advantage over Nevada on Saturday night (8:15 p.m./ESPNU) as it aims to become bowl eligible for the second consecutive year. Wyoming also boasts home field advantage against Utah State (8:15 p.m./ESPN2) as it hopes to build on its lead in the Mountain Division.
Conference USA has six league games on tap for Saturday afternoon and one non-conference match-up (Houston Baptist at UTEP) Saturday evening. Southern Miss hosts Charlotte, which is coming off a bye week and a road win at Marshall in week 8. The Golden Eagles lead the series 1-0 and would be bowl eligible for the second straight season with a win. Old Dominion is also a home (against Marshall) and with a win would be unconditionally bowl-eligible for the first time since moving up to the FBS level. UTSA hits the road for its first game at Middle Tennessee while North Texas welcomes Louisiana Tech. The Blue Raiders look to keep up with WKU in the East while the Bulldogs want to maintain possession of the West. UTSA and North Texas could really use the wins though with both programs at 4-4 with a very difficult schedule remaining. For a complete schedule with series notes, see page 1.
POSTSEASON OUTLOOK: The ninth week of the 2016 college football season is in the books and there are 37 teams eligible for a bowl game. Every division of each conference now has at least one bowl eligible team. The Big Ten leads the way with six eligible teams, three from both divisions. The American, ACC, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC each have four teams ready to bowl. None of the four independent teams are eligible yet. There are still 84 teams that could possibly get eligible and seven have been eliminated.
For our partner conferences, the Mountain West’s Boise State was the first to become eligible with a victory in week 7. With a win in week 8, San Diego State was the first from the league’s West Division to become eligible. Wyoming picked up the necessary six wins this past weekend with its first win in program history over 13th-ranked Boise State. This weekend, New Mexico and Air Force fight for win No. 6. On the flip side, San José State and UNLV find themselves in a must-win situation with 3-6 records and just three games remaining. Fresno State (1-8) has been eliminated.
For Conference USA, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee and WKU are all now eligible after victories this past weekend. Old Dominion and Southern Miss are one win away from the six required for a bowl bid. FIU is in a must-win situation with three games left. Florida Atlantic and Rice, both 1-7 overall, are out of contention. Both leagues have commitments to six bowls, including the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.