It’s been an interesting season for the Mountain West. Heading into the weekend, Fresno State and Air Force were still realistic contenders for a spot in a New Year’s Six game. Those hopes are gone, but one thing is for sure, the spots in the conference championship game are going to come down to the final weekend. There are still five teams that have a realistic shot at playing in the first weekend of December. Let’s take a look at all five teams and what they need to happend.
Still in the hunt: UNLV (5-1), Air Force (5-1), Fresno State (4-2), Boise State (4-2), San Jose State (4-2)
Nearly Eliminated: Wyoming (3-3), Utah State (3-3)
Eliminated: Hawaii (2-4), Nevada (2-4), New Mexico (1-5), San Diego State (1-5)
If the Rebels win out, they are in. They absolutely need to avoid a tiebreaker with Fresno State. UNLV needs to beat Air Force this weekend and would benefit from New Mexico upsetting Fresno State. They still have a shot if they lose, but it would make things really tough. Utah State beating Boise State would help, and San Jose State losing to San Diego State would be huge as well.
Despite the absolute letdown against the Rainbow Warriors, the Falcons still control their own destiny. But, they have two very tough games to finish out the season against UNLV and Boise State. They absolutely need to beat the Reblels to stay in the driver’s seat which will help them in the case of potential tiebreakers. The Falcons should be Utah State and New Mexico fans this weekend. But ultimately, it all comes down to winning the games on their schedule.
Of all the two loss teams, I think the Bulldogs have the best chance at playing for the Mountain West Championship. For tiebreaker purposes, the Bulldogs should be pulling for the Falcons to beat UNLV since they already have a head-to-head victory over the Rebels. The Bulldogs also carry the tiebreaker over Boise State, so that game doesn’t really impact them much. A San Jose State loss in the final two weeks would go a long way to helping Fresno State secure a spot in the Mountain West Championship game.
First things first, the Broncos have to win their last two games, and they will need to do it with an interim head coach. If this staff can pull together two consecutive wins to finish off the season, it will show a lot about their character and the character of this football team. If the Broncos win their last two games, they also need to hope UNLV drops their final two games and Fresno State drops a game. There are other scenarios where Boise State could still play for the championship, but they mostly hinge on those two things. If the Bulldogs are out of the picture and the Broncos win out, they would be in the driver’s seat in most tie-breaker scenarios.
San Jose State
The Spartans are probably the biggest long shot of these teams. Here’s what they need to happen. They need UNLV to beat Air Force, Utah State to beat Boise State, and Boise State to beat Air Force in the final game of the season. If they beat UNLV, that would give them the tie breaker over Fresno State and the Rebels. Early season losses to Air Force and Boise State loom large for the Spartans. The path is there, but it doesn’t seem likely.
Which two teams will make the conference championship game? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.