MWC notebook: It's never too early to project the bowls
It's mid-November, and there are a lot of games to be played before bowl invitations are handed out.
But it's not too early to project what the postseason might look like for the Mountain West Conference, which boasts the best winning percentage of any conference in bowl games with an 18-8 record.
The MWC has agreements with five bowl games — the Las Vegas Bowl, the Poinsettia Bowl, the Independence Bowl, the Armed Forces Bowl, and the New Mexico Bowl. Right now, the MWC has four bowl-eligible teams while a fifth team, BYU, can become bowl eligible with a victory over New Mexico on Saturday.
TCU, which is ranked No. 3 in the BCS standings, is expected to go to its second consecutive BCS bowl. If that happens, the MWC won't be able to fill all five of its bowl obligations. Here are Scout.com's weekly bowl projections, with the destinations listed for MWC teams:
New Mexico Bowl
Mountain West No. 5 vs. Western Athletic Conference
Projection: BYU vs. Fresno State
Las Vegas Bowl
Mountain West No. 1 vs. Pac 10 No. 4 or 5
Projection: Utah vs. California
Mountain West No. 2 vs. Navy
Projection: San Diego State vs. Navy
Mountain West No. 3 vs. ACC No. 7
Projection: Air Force vs. Georgia Tech
Projection: Wisconsin vs. TCU
TROUBLE FOR TCU?: The Horned Frogs are still ranked No. 3 in the latest BCS rankings, but they did slip in other polls and computer rankings this past week. Boise State leapfrogged TCU in the AP poll, bumping the Frogs from No. 3 to No. 4.
This after TCU hung on to beat San Diego State, 40-35, last Saturday.
It's a source of frustration for coach Gary Patterson, who urged people to look at the statistics from the game, rather than just the score. TCU outperformed the Aztecs in first downs (27-7) and total offense (466 yards to 300).
The undefeated Frogs have a bye this week, which could hurt them again in the polls.
'TEAM DOWN SOUTH': Numerous rivalry games will be played over the next couple of weeks around the country, including Saturday's annual "Border War" in Laramie between Colorado State and Wyoming.
The last-place Cowboys are the only team in the league without a conference victory. They can get that against the Rams.
Wyoming coach Dave Christensen said that for his team, this is the biggest game of the year.
"There's a lot at stake. I understand how important this game is to the people of the state of Wyoming, and our alumni and our fan base," Christensen said. "It's a huge game. It'll always be the biggest game on our schedule each and every year."
Christensen even referred to CSU as "the team down south," just as former Utah coach Urban Meyer used to refer to arch-rival BYU.
Asked about that "team down south" reference, Christensen simply replied, "That's where they're located."
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