For now, the only certain thing about the Mountain West Conference's bowl outlook is this: Air Force accepted a bid to the Armed Forces Bowl Tuesday.
As for the league's other four bowl-eligible teams BYU, Utah, New Mexico and TCU they'll probably have to wait until Sunday to officially find out where they're headed.
With five bowl-eligible teams, the MWC has contracts with four bowls, the Las Vegas, Poinsettia, New Mexico and Armed Forces. But it's possible that all five teams could go bowling.
The Falcons (9-3) are locked into the Armed Forces; the Cougars (9-2) are expected to return to Las Vegas for the third straight season; and the Utes (8-4) are projected to go to the Poinsettia to face Navy (which has already accepted an invitation to play in that game).
TCU (7-5) could go to the Texas Bowl if the Big 12 receives two bids in the Bowl Championship Series, according to MWC associate commissioner Javan Hedlund. That seems likely, since Missouri is No. 1 in this week's BCS poll, followed by Kansas (No. 5) and Oklahoma (No. 9). The Tigers and Sooners meet Saturday for the Big 12 championship.
"The Big 12 has eight bowl-eligible teams and if it gets two BCS teams, it would most likely vacate the Texas Bowl," Hedlund explained. "Since the MWC has an agreement with the Texas Bowl to replace the Big 12 if it vacates the bowl, TCU would likely receive that bid."
As for New Mexico (8-4), it is expected to return its own New Mexico Bowl, according to Hedlund. "The only way New Mexico wouldn't go to the New Mexico Bowl is if BYU made it into the (Bowl Championship Series) and Utah went to the Las Vegas Bowl," Hedlund said. "That would leave UNM to the Poinsettia Bowl most likely since TCU participated in that game last year. TCU would then be slotted in New Mexico."
Meanwhile, the Bowl Championship Series announced Tuesday that 16 teams remain under consideration for one of the five BCS bowl games and that list includes BYU (No. 19 in this week's BCS poll). The Cougars visit San Diego State on Saturday. According to BCS officials, "One conference champion from among Conference USA, the Mid-American, Mountain West, Sun Belt and Western Athletic Conferences earns a guaranteed berth in one of the BCS games if that champion is ranked 12th or better in the final BCS standings or is ranked in the top 16 of the final BCS standings and its ranking is higher than that of a champion of a conference that has an annual automatic berth."
To be eligible for an at-large selection, a team must have nine regular-season wins and be ranked in the top 14 of the final BCS standings, which will be compiled on Dec. 2.
BYU's chances of receiving a BCS bowl invitation are slim. The Cougars would have to beat San Diego State, be ranked in the top 16 of the final BCS standings and hope that a champion from an automatic qualifying conference is ranked below them.
For that to happen, three upsets would have to occur: Washington over Hawaii, UCLA over USC and Arizona over Arizona State. That scenario would create a four-way tie between UCLA, USC, Arizona State and Oregon or Oregon State for the Pac-10 title. In that case, UCLA would go to the Rose Bowl because of the Pac-10's tie-breaking formula. If the Bruins go to the Rose Bowl, BYU would qualify for a BCS bowl game because a league champion from an automatic qualifying conference would rank below the Cougars.
Meanwhile, the Idaho Statesman reported that Boise State is still an option to play in the Las Vegas Bowl. The Pac-10 has tie-ins with both the Las Vegas Bowl and the Armed Forces Bowl. If the Pac-10 has two teams in the BCS, the league would have to give up one of those bowls. In that scenario, Arizona State and USC would have to win this weekend.The Pac-10 would also have to be willing to send a team to the Armed Forces Bowl rather than play in Las Vegas. If that happens, then the Broncos could possibly wind up in Las Vegas. Other teams projected to wind up in Las Vegas include Oregon State, Ball State, Purdue and Indiana.