As we reach the last month of the season, the question remains “does anyone want to win the Mountain West?” It has definitely been a down year for the MWC. With changes coming to the American, Conference USA, and Sun Belt, the MWC needs to take advantage of this opportunity and establish itself as the top of the G5. It has not done that this year. As the season draws to an end we are going to look at what teams have left to play for and what they need to do.
College Football Playoff
Yeah…, no, that’s not happening.
New Year’s Day Bowl
See playoff above.
At 6-2 the Broncos are going bowling, plus being undefeated in conference play, they are the favorite to come out of the Mountain Division. They are favored in each of the last 4 games, BYU (65.5%), Nevada (86.0%), Wyoming (75.0%) and Utah State (90.6%). They have a 58% chance of winning out, but all they need to do in beat Wyoming. A victory over the Cowboys and the other three games do not matter for the Division title. Chances are we are looking at a 10-2 or 9-3 Broncos team in the conference title game, as there is a 95% chance they win the division.
The Cowboys are the only team that can rope the Broncos (pun intended) and insert Cowboys/Bronco joke here. However, they also need to go undefeated as well. They are favored over Colorado State (78.3%), but not against Boise State (25.0%) or Fresno State (25.6%). The Cowboys only have a 5.0% of winning out, but at least they have 6 wins and going bowling. Chances are they will be 7-5 at the end.
Due to their victory of San Jose State and their one conference loss being out of division, the Bulldogs are in the driver’s seat. They also have the luxury of being favored in all their games, and if San Jose State loses, Fresno State can lose one game and still be fine. Obviously, the best option is to beat Hawaii (93.8%), UNLV (62.0%), Nevada (76.8%), and Wyoming (74.4%). The Bulldogs have a 33.2% of winning out. They do need win 2 of the last 4 to make a bowl game, but they have a 94.6% of that happening. They also have a 77.9% chance of winning the division.
San Jose State
Spartans, if you are going to lose a game, do not make it a divisional game. That 17-10 loss to Fresno State is big. The Spartans are favored in all their games, Colorado State (92.8%), San Diego State (54.9%), Utah State (68.6%), Hawaii (93.9%). They have a similar chance of winning out as Fresno State, 32.8%, but the difference is, they need to win out AND have Fresno State loss. This puts their conference title game chances at 21.9%. They only need one win to make a bowl game and they have a 99% chance of that happening. But once again, do not lose division games (but I guess with divisions going away that is not going to be an issue in the future.)
If UNLV (still need to play Fresno State) wins out and San Jose State loses, UNLV can take the division and if San Diego State (still need to play San Jose State) wins out and Fresno State loses, San Diego State can win the division. But either case has less than .5% chance of happening, so the Rebels and Aztecs are getting put in the next category.
Going Bowling (Out of title races, but can make a bowl game)
With 3 division losses the Falcons have two goals left, win the Commander in Chief trophy and make a bowl game. They can accomplish both this weekend. The Falcons are heavily favored the rest of the season Army (68.4%), New Mexico (93.8%), Colorado State (95.4%), and San Diego State (66.7%). They have a 40.8% chance of winning out the season and a 99.8% chance of getting to 6 wins.
At 4-4 the Rebels need to win 2 more games. Fortunately, they are favored in 2, Hawaii (66.1%) and Nevada (73.6%). They are underdogs again San Diego State and Fresno State (38.0% for both). They have a 48.6% chance of beating both Hawaii and Nevada and only a 85.6% chance to losing to both San Diego State and Fresno State, putting the chance that the Rebels go bowling at 91.2%.
San Diego State
The Aztecs are also 4-4 and need to win 2 games. They are favored against UNLV (62.0%) and New Mexico (70.7%). They are underdogs to both San Jose State (45.1%) and Air Force (33.3%). Their set-up is similar to UNLV, 43.8% chance of beating UNLV and New Mexico and an 84.9% of losing to both San Jose State and Air Force, puts the chances of the Aztecs at 89.7%.
The only other MWC team who could go bowling is the Aggies. While that UCONN game is looking better, that Weber State fiasco is still around biting the Aggies in the rump roast. The Aggies need to win 3 out of 4. The first two games are fine New Mexico (73.4%) and Hawaii (57.7%), the last two weeks are not San Jose State (31.4%) and Boise State (9.6%). The Aggies have to win one of those. That puts the Aggies chances at 14.6% that they will be going bowling this year. If they had beaten Weber State, the probability of going bowling would be north of 50%, that’s how much that game hurts.
New Mexico and Colorado State would have to go undefeated to make a bowl game, less than .1% for either, and Hawaii and Nevada are out.