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Peak Perspective: Who’s Going Bowling?

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A look at every team’s chances at making a bowl.

Zach has been faithfully leading in our bowl projections each week, which serves as a week to week collection of our team’s thoughts. This post will serve as a snap-shot companion post to the week in, week out projections. As the weekly projections more or less plug deserving teams into the existing bowl structure, this one will look at every team in its own right and see what their chances are to go to a bowl game this season (Spoiler: some teams have a much better shot than other teams).

I’ll categorize each team’s chances (as told by me, so you know, it’s flawed) of making a bowl game this year with a rating system that may be familiar to some of you or may be something you’ve never heard of. If you are an avid TV watcher (like me), you may be familiar with the site tvline.com and their annual renewal/cancel scorecard.

Anyway, all 12 MWC teams will be rated using the following: Officially Clinched, A sure thing, A safe bet, Could go either way, A long-shot, Essentially eliminated, and Officially eliminated. The first and last in this list can’t happen this season, as everyone is technically bowl-eligible (even though not everyone will be going to a bowl game). A short explanation will follow each.

A Sure Thing

Boise State

The Broncos and bowl games go hand in hand, and this year is no different. They are winning, and they are marketable with whatever bowl they end up in (which will matter more when trying to pick bowl teams this season). Plus, it would be great to see how a healthier Boise State team measures up against a P5/non-conference foe at the end of this year.

Nevada

Some bowl somewhere is getting excited about seeing the Wolf Pack offense in their game come December. It’s a dynamic offense, and it would be a lot of fun to see them paired up against a tough defensive team or even get into a shootout with another high-powered offense. Although they look a bit flawed as of late, they continue to find ways to win. This Nevada team is what random bowl games are all about.

San Jose State

The Spartans are the feel-good story of the Mountain West this year and seem like a lock for a bowl game, even if they may not be a lock to go undefeated. They are fun to watch and now full of confidence. Going to a bowl is all but a certainty at this point, but it would also be the cherry on top of a great season for San Jose State.

A Safe Bet

San Diego State

Make no mistake, the Aztecs are right up there with the three teams mentioned above, though probably a step behind at this point. They will wear down the opposition with run after run after run after run. And they are very good at doing it. They get dropped a category due to their lack of a prominent passing game, making them a bit more vulnerable. If only three MWC teams can go to a bowl for whatever reason, SDSU would figure to be the first one out. Otherwise, pencil them into a game this season.

Could Go Either Way

Fresno State

The Bulldogs have had a bit of an uphill battle after looking pretty bad their first game, but they have turned it around ever since and are basically on flat ground now. At this point, they are solidly the fifth-best team, and math is not on their side with fewer bowls this season. They don’t control their own destiny, but they have a pretty good shot at making some noise if they do get into a bowl.

A Long Shot

Air Force

The Falcons need to get back to playing games consistently at this point. Last we chronicled all the bad breaks they have gotten this year, and it seems clear this just isn’t their year. Unfortunately, they seemed built for a fun season before everything went wrong and are now regulated to “what could have happened” status.

Hawaii

Ah, the most inconsistent team in the Mountain West. Some weeks they look like they can out-score anyone. Other weeks their offense looks pretty easy to stop. It’s difficult to see them making a bowl game this season with all the up and down. No Hawaii bowl doesn’t help either.

Wyoming

Similar to Air Force, many around the Wyoming program hoped they could find a spot in the conference championship this year. Those hopes were dashed after losing the Border War, and some games being cancelled hasn’t allowed them to show they have corrected their mistakes and flaws. At this point, they will have to wait until next year.

Essentially Eliminated

Colorado State

The Rams have a good offense, built on an above-average quarterback, a very good wide receiver, and the conference’s best tight end. However, it’s the same old story in that the rest of the team isn’t good enough to push them over the edge into a bowl game. They are better than the teams below them but end up in the same category anyway.

New Mexico

It’s hard to make a bowl when you haven’t won a game.

UNLV

It’s hard to make a bowl when you haven’t won a game.

Utah State

It’s really hard to make a bowl when you haven’t won a game, don’t have a head coach, and struggle in every facet of the game.