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New Year’s Six bowl race: It is a Broncos race to the finish line, for now

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We look at the key games this week in the race for a New Year’s Bowl game.

Washington State v Boise State Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

Another week and another set of games that can influence what Group of Five team can win the golden ticket to face off in right now sounds like the Cotton Bowl against a Big 12 team.

Things get started on Thursday night with Boise State vs. BYU and while this may not knock out the Broncos if they lose since it is not a conference game but it will drop them in the pecking order behind the top-rated American team and Western Michigan.

BYU vs. No. 14 Boise State 10:15 PM, October 20 (ESPN) - It's essentially strength against strength on the blue turf Thursday night, however. Setting aside their bend-don't-break performance against run-heavy New Mexico, Boise has allowed just three yards per carry. Win this game, and they may not face another such obstacle until the Mountain West title game.

They key matchup to watch in this game is BYU running back Jamaal Williams and Boise State’s Jeremy McNichols. This is a matchup of top five running backs in the nation and if either of those stumble then that could be the difference in this game.

Central Michigan vs. Toledo, 12PM, October 22 (ESPN3) - The Rockets survived on the road against Eastern Michigan, and now they square off with their second Directional Michigan school in the confines of the Glass Bowl. Logan Woodside deserves serious consideration for major quarterback hardware at season's end, but the game may hinge on whether CMU's Cooper Rush, who's been very good in his own right, can keep up.

One thing to watch, if the game is close late, is how much the Chippewas decide to put on Rush's shoulders. In the fourth quarter, only UCLA's Josh Rosen and Bowling Green freshman James Morgan have better QB ratings (and slightly at that) among passers with at least 50 attempts.

Eastern Michigan vs. No. 20 Western Michigan, 3:30 PM, October 22 (ESPN3)

Eastern Michigan is one win away from being bowl eligible for the first time since 1987 where they beat San Jose State in the California Bowl. While Western Michigan is undefeated and looking to stay in the race for the coveted New Year’s Six race.

A tip for Eastern Michigan, do not piss off P.J. Fleck

The Broncos are a 22.5-point favorite over the Eagles and Western Michigan might take care of business with that with their offense that is led by quarterback Zach Terrell who has completed 70 percent of his passes and had 17 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Eastern Michigan had done well but they are not overly dominant in any aspect but they are playing well enough and having a great year.

Memphis vs. No. 24 Navy, 3:30 PM, October 22 (CBS Sports Network) - How good are the Tigers? They've been pushed in the first two games of AAC play, but they've defeated Temple and Tulane and now travel to Annapolis for a critical West division matchup.

They know Navy will attack with the ground game, which has been average thus far in 2016: Memphis has allowed 4.1 yards per carry. There will be a lot of pressure on a young defensive line, led by sophomore Jared Gentry and freshman Jonathan Wilson, to create opportunities for the Tigers linebackers to clean up. Genard Avery has been good, with five tackles for loss to his name, but he'll need help.