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Stats Corner: Who is Likely Going Bowling

The probability of each team making a bowl game

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl - Western Michigan v BYU Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

One of the biggest and most important questions at this point in the season is who is going bowling? While I personally think there are way too many bowls, 43 bowls for 86 teams, going bowling provides money and exposure for the conference and college teams. And for most coaches, getting to a bowl game is the standard they are measured against. As of writing, the Mountain West has two teams who are going bowling, Fresno State and Air Force, both are in play for a coveted New Year’s Day bowl. Today on Stats Corner we are going to look at the possibility of each of the other ten teams making a bowl game. Yes, technically, every team in the Mountain West can make a bowl game.

Need One More (Go ahead and bet on it)

Wyoming: 99.8% chance of going bowling

Boise State 39.5%

Colorado State 82.6%

UNLV 50.6%

Hawaii 89.2%

Nevada 83.8%

Short of a complete and epic melt down the Cowboys are going bowling. They are heavily favored in 3 games, have a toss-up against UNLV and are underdogs to Boise State (I had to check that a second time to make sure I entered it correctly).

UNLV: 98.9%

Colorado State 79.9%

Fresno State 24.7%

New Mexico 75.4%

Wyoming 50.6%

Air Force 24.0%

San Jose State 58.8%

The Rebels have been a pleasant surprise this season, with the only blemish a loss at Michigan (but is that really a blemish?). They only need one more win and heavily favored against Colorado State and New Mexico. While it is unlikely they will make conference title game, see games against Fresno State, and Air Force, the Rebels are likely to tend the season at 9-3 or 8-4.

Half way there

Utah State: 73.6% chance of going bowling

San Jose State 45.6%

San Diego State 60.6%

Nevada 87.7%

Boise State 46.0%

New Mexico 75.1%

Even with the up and down performance of the Aggies there is a good chance they will be going bowling. They are favored against the Aztecs, Wolfpack, and Lobos. The games against the Spartans and Broncos are toss-ups so they will probably split them and will need to if they loss to an underdog. Not the best situation, but it is workable.

Boise State: 61.9% chance of going bowling

Wyoming 60.5%

Fresno State 35.3%

New Mexico 89.2%

Utah State 54.0%

Air Force 45.0%

This is where the schedule plays a role. The Broncos have the same record as Utah State, 3-4, are slight favorites against the Aggies, but have a lower probability of going bowling. That is due to the schedule they are favored against Wyoming and New Mexico, but also have Fresno State and Air Force, where the Aggies back up plan if they loss unexpectedly is more manageable toss-up game. If either the Broncos or Aggies loss an unexpected game the game on November 18th could determine who is going bowling between the two.

San Diego State: 37.7% chance of going bowling

Nevada 77.4%

Utah State 39.4%

Colorado State 50.4%

San Jose State 29.0%

Fresno State 22.9%

The third of the 3-4 teams, the Aztecs have the toughest road. They should win against Nevada, but Colorado State is a toss-up and they are pretty big underdogs in the other three. They need to have a big surprise victory to go bowling. That Boise State loss hurts now.

Colorado State: 33.8% chance of going bowling

UNLV 20.1%

Air Force 14.6%

Wyoming 17.4%

San Diego State 49.6%

Nevada 71.2%

Hawaii 36.8%

The only team with 3 wins in 6 games, the others have played 7, therefore with one more opportunity to qualify, is the team with the longest odds. There is only one likely win on the schedule Nevada, one toss-up, but the Rams will need to win both of those plus a long shot game to make it. If they had held on against Colorado, their odds would be over 70%.

Need 4 more

San Jose State: 24.4% chance of going bowling

Utah State 54.4%

Hawaii 63.8%

Fresno State 38.5%

San Diego State 29.0%

UNLV 41.2%

The Spartans need to win 4 out of 5 and the Hawaii game is not a given. I love the confidence, but maybe playing USC and Oregon State was a little much to start the season.

Hawaii: 12.6% chance of going bowling

New Mexico 39.7%

San Jose State 36.2%

Nevada 49.1%

Air Force 19.1%

Wyoming 10.8%

Colorado State 63.2%

The Rainbow Warriors have the same issues are the Spartans, they played Power 5 teams, Vanderbilt, Stanford, and Oregon, and are now playing the other teams who need multiple wins to go bowling. Even with the extra game, I don’t see the Warriors picking up 4 wins, 3 wins is the most likely situation.

New Mexico: 5.8% chance of going bowling

Hawaii 60.3%

Nevada 49.7%

UNLV 24.6%

Boise State 10.8%

Fresno State 7.9%

Utah State 24.9%

Need to 4-2 the rest of the season, huge underdogs in 4 games. Do not see it happening.

Have to win out.

Nevada: .1% chance of going bowling

San Diego State 22.6%

New Mexico 50.3%

Hawaii 50.9%

Utah State 12.3%

Colorado State 28.8%

Wyoming 16.2%

In order to go bowling the Wolfpack have to win out. The chances of that happening are .1%. At the beginning of the season the chances of the Wolfpack going undefeated in conference play were .12%.

It looks like six teams from the Mountain West will be going bowling: Fresno State, Air Force, Wyoming, and UNLV are locks. Utah State and Boise State are likely. If one of them falls they San Diego State or Colorado State can get in, but it is unlikely both the Aztecs and Rams get in as they still have to go head to head.