The Mountain West Conference is sending 7 of their teams to bowl games this season, which is great for the conference. Being a Group of 5 conference, often times bowl tie-ins leave something to be desired. Let’s take a look at each of the bowl games and rate the matchup.
Las Vegas Bowl:
Thoughts: This bowl matchup likely came to be due to the storyline. The Vegas Bowl is the best the Mountain West has to offer but it seems like a consolation prize for a 12-1, 19th ranked team. Washington is 7-5 in a down year, but has tons of talent, especially on defense. It should be a good football game and the payout is extraordinary, but I’m sure Boise State would not have objected to ESPN making a trade for a different P5 bowl matchup.
Opponent: Washington State
Thoughts: This may be the best game for a Mountain West team this season. A very good payout and a Power 5 matchup is big. The triple option vs the air raid is a made for TV matchup and one that could attract casual fans not associated with either team. The Falcons clock-controlling offense and solid defense could take it to these Cougars. Air Force deserves this after their strong season and being snubbed in the rankings.
Opponent: Kent State
Thoughts: I have mixed thoughts with the Aggies matchup. They are a good 7-5 team who on any given day can have an explosive offense and so the Kent State matchup may be lackluster. The payout is just average. Still, it’s a matchup conducive to their record so maybe this is what a seven win group of 5 team gets in the college football world. It’s another chance for the MWC to grab a win though, which is important no matter who the opponent is.
Thoughts: A really good pay-out. Staying at home so there’s no big travel costs from the islands and it’s a de facto home game for the Warriors. A storied program that is better than a mid-tier AAC team. There isn’t much not to like about this matchup. It should be a really good game too. All in all a plus for the Rainbow Warriors.
New Mexico Bowl:
Opponent: Central Michigan
Thoughts: San Diego State has an interesting matchup here. For a team that didn’t win it’s division and playing in the weaker West, I think this spot is about right for them. It’s a pretty nice payout, easy travel, and a matchup that could be sneaky good. Central Michigan got destroyed by Wisconsin but played Miami tough and only lost by 5 points in their conference championship. Then again, the Aztec defense could just suffocate them like the Badgers did. The MWC doesn’t have good bowl tie-ins so this is about right for SDSU.
Thoughts: Nevada basically got more or less what they should have gotten. I’ve long thought the Potato Bowl is a pretty good one, as far as random non-important ones go. The payout is pretty good and although Ohio isn’t a great opponent, at 6-6 it’s an even one. It’s also a very beatable one. I think this is a fitting spot for the Wolf Pack.
Opponent: Georgia State
Thoughts: To be honest, Wyoming deserves better. I would’ve put them in the Potato Bowl instead of them getting the lowest MWC bowl. The payout is pretty awful. Wyoming is a good team who just wasn’t able to overcome a strong Mountain Division this year. But losing to two top 25 teams and an explosive offense isn’t anything to scoff over. If the Cowboys can beat Missouri and take Boise State to overtime, they should be able to handily beat a seven-win Georgia State team.
Your turn: What do you think of the bowl matchups? Which ones are strong and which are disappointing? Drop a comment.