Bowl Projections: Rams Surge, Pokes on Shaky Ground

Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

The bowl prognosticators had plenty to say with their latest round of predictions, but what does it all mean for the Mountain West?

Week 8 in Mountain West action didn't do a whole lot to separate the contenders from the pretenders, and the experts at SB Nation, CBS and ESPN have a muddled picture of the conference's bowl projections that mirrors the ongoing uncertainty.

For a quick refresher, here is the list of bowls with which the Mountain West is affiliated, along with the slated opponent. The bowls have an order in which they are allowed to select teams, and the Las Vegas Bowl picks first.

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl - December 21

MWC #1 vs. Pac-12 #5

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl - December 26

MWC #2 vs. Army (if eligible) or at-large team

Bell Helicopters Armed Forces Bowl - December 30

MWC #3 vs. Conference USA #3 or Navy (if eligible)

Gildan New Mexico Bowl - December 21

MWC #4 vs. Pac-12 #7

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl - December 24

MWC #5 or Hawaii (if eligible) vs. Conference USA #2

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl - December 21

MWC #6 vs. MAC #3

***

The first set of predictions comes courtesy of SB Nation's Jason Kirk:

Fiesta Bowl: Fresno State vs. Baylor

Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State vs. Arizona

Poinsettia Bowl: Wyoming vs. Toledo

Armed Forces Bowl: Utah State vs. Navy

New Mexico Bowl: San Jose State vs. USC

Kirk is down on the MWC. Last week, his forecast called for the conference to fall one team short meeting its agreements, and this week it is two. On the other hand, he has forecast Fresno into a BCS game, which seems to be a popular sentiment after the 'Dogs beat UNLV. No surprises elsewhere.

What do ESPN's Mark Schlabach and Brad Edwards have to say?

Schlabach

Fiesta Bowl: Fresno State vs. Baylor

Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State vs. USC

Poinsettia Bowl: San Diego State vs. Utah

Armed Forces Bowl: Utah State vs. Navy

New Mexico Bowl: San Jose State vs. Arizona

Hawaii Bowl: Colorado State vs. Rice

Idaho Potato Bowl: UNLV vs. Bowling Green

Edwards

Las Vegas Bowl: Fresno State vs. Arizona State

Poinsettia Bowl: Boise State vs. Ohio

Armed Forces Bowl: Wyoming vs. Navy

New Mexico Bowl: San Jose State vs. Arizona

Hawaii Bowl: Utah State vs. Middle Tennessee State

Idaho Potato Bowl: San Diego State vs. Bowling Green

Wyoming fans, let Schlabach's projection be a glimpse of what the future might look like if the Pokes don't get a handle on any kind of consistency. Edwards, meanwhile, has still not bought into Fresno's BCS chances. It's surprising that SJSU is the only MWC team that the two agree upon, but even that can change with a couple of big wins. They get Wyoming, San Diego State and Fresno at home, so there will be ample opportunity to make some noise.

Colorado State fans can be encouraged by their inclusion since it appears that there are at least three winnable games left on the schedule, while UNLV shouldn't be discouraged by their loss to Fresno.

Lastly, CBS Sports' Jerry Palm gave out his two cents:

Fiesta Bowl: Fresno State vs. Oklahoma State

Las Vegas Bowl: Utah State vs. Arizona

Poinsettia Bowl: Boise State vs. Ohio

Armed Forces Bowl: San Diego State vs. Navy

New Mexico Bowl: San Jose State vs. USC

Hawaii Bowl: Colorado State vs. Middle Tennessee State

Not a lot of surprises here, other than that Palm still believes Vegas would want USU over Boise. Overall, though, this seems like it would be a pretty favorable slate of opponents for our conference.

My predictions are as follows:

Fiesta Bowl: Fresno State vs. Texas Tech

Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State vs. Arizona State

Poinsettia Bowl: Utah State vs. Ohio

Armed Forces Bowl: Wyoming vs. Navy

New Mexico Bowl: San Diego State vs. USC

Hawaii Bowl: San Jose State vs. East Carolina

Idaho Potato Bowl: UNLV vs. Buffalo

I realized last week that picking Tech to win the Big 12 could make me look like an idiot in a hurry but, one week in, I am looking very smart and enjoying that fact. The Sun Devils would be a worthy opponent for Boise, even if Joe Southwick weren't available. Utah State looks very capable of soldiering on without Chuckie Keeton, and they have a favorable schedule that should get them to seven wins and an attractive bowl bid. You never know which Wyoming team will take the field, and it is clear they have the most to lose in this field. Would it surprise you if the Pokes imploded and finished with five wins and no bowl bid? A win on the road in San Jose next weekend would make their position a lot more secure.

If you have your own thoughts on these bowl predictions or have a set of your own, make sure to leave them in the comments!

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