THIS WEEK’S GAMES TO WATCH FOR: It’s Championship Week and both Conference USA and the Mountain West have title games on Saturday. First up is the 2016 Dynacraft Conference USA Football Championship Game on Saturday, December 3. The WKU Hilltoppers host the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs and the game will be televised live on ESPN, beginning at Noon EST/11 a.m. CST. This will be the first time in league history that the game will be hosted by the same school in consecutive seasons. The game also represents a rematch of one of the highest-scoring games in Conference USA this season, a 55-52 Louisiana Tech win over WKU in Ruston on October 6. This will be the fourth time that teams that played each other in the regular season have re-matched in the C-USA Championship Game. The regular season winner is 2-1 in the three previous title game meetings.
Dynacraft Conference USA Championship
Louisiana Tech (8-4, 6-2 C-USA) vs. WKU (9-3, 7-1 C-USA)
10 a.m. /ESPN - LT leads series, 4-2 - Last Meeting: LT, 55-52 (2016)
The Mountain West Championship game is set to be played in Laramie, Wyo. as the Wyoming Cowboys play host to the San Diego State Aztecs at 5:45 p.m. MT (ESPN). The West Division holds a 2-1 advantage in the championship game and the home team is a perfect 3-0. A San Diego State victory would give the Aztecs their third conference title in the last five years. Wyoming hasn’t won a league championship outright since 1988 (WAC). Also, at Mountain West Football Media Days in July, Wyoming only received 31 total points in the preseason predicted order of finish as selected by the media. The 31 points were not only the fewest in the Mountain Division but the lowest total fewest among all 12 Mountain West teams. Furthermore, the 31 points in the preseason poll were are the fewest any MW team has received since 2004. Since the league’s inception in 1999-2000, no team that was picked last in the preseason poll went on to win the Conference championship.
Mountain West Championship
San Diego State (9-3, 6-2 MW) vs. Wyoming (8-4, 6-2)
5:45 p.m./ESPN - WY leads series, 19-17 - Last Meeting: WY, 34-33 (2016)
POSTSEASON OUTLOOK: The first bowl game is set as the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl announced on Monday that Conference USA’s Old Dominion and the MAC’s Eastern Michigan will play in the Dec. 23 game. That means of the 80 bowl spots, three have been claimed with BYU accepting an invitation to the San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl after the Cougars picked up their sixth win in week 11. There are 75 bowl eligible programs after week 13 and three that could still get eligible. There are 50 teams that have been eliminated but at least two 5-7 teams will be selected to play in a bowl based on their APR ranking.
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 in week 9 with its first win in program history over 13th-ranked Boise State. In week 10, New Mexico and Air Force joined the ranks with its six Ws. Colorado State earned its eligibility Saturday night, winning the final game at Hughes Stadium. Fresno State, Nevada, San Jose State, UNLV and Utah State have been eliminated. After a rule change recently, Hawai`i and any other team that finishes with six wins in a 13-game schedule are eligible for a bowl berth.
For Conference USA, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee and WKU all picked up eligibility after victories in week 9. Old Dominion joined the elite with a huge win over Marshall in week 10. Southern Miss and UTSA are now bowl eligible after winning their final game of the regular season. Charlotte, FIU, Florida Atlantic, Marshall, Rice and UTEP are out of contention. Both leagues have commitments to six bowls, including the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.