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Mountain West likely giving up Las Vegas Bowl spot to BYU

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All signs point to the Mountain West not sending a team to the Las Vegas Bowl this year.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The bowl situation for the Mountain West is more confusing than normal because of side deals with BYU for either the Las Vegas or Hawaii Bowl, plus the Cactus Bowl which is an overflow option for the conference.

During Monday's Mountain West title conference game teleconference, commissioner Craig Thompson said that the conference is "likely going to vacate Vegas this yea,r" and that means that BYU will take the spot in the Las Vegas Bowl. Looking ahead, the 2019 bowl destination for the Cougars is the Hawaii Bowl, and displacing a Mountain West team that year.

This also means that the Poinsettia Bowl will get the first pick in the bowl selection process, and the early report is that the San Diego-based bowl game wants to take Boise State for their game -- remember the Mountain West bowl lineup goes by selection order and not order of finish within the league. Plus, the bowl does not like the same teams in consecutive years and San Diego State played in the Poinsettia Bowl last year.

The Poinsettia Bowl wanting Boise State makes sense for travel purposes, but Air Force likely would draw as well with San Diego having a large presence from the armed forces.

One other tidbit about bowl selection is that the Cactus Bowl is an overflow and the Big 12 can take that spot with a 5-7 team over a Mountain West team because of the contract that is in place. A big 12 team with a losing record would not take the place of a bowl eligible Mountain West team.

San Jose State, who is 5-7, could land there if the Big 12 does not send a representative. There is still a lot to be sorted out if 5-7 teams are to be selected for a bowl game, but the Spartans are in good shape because the APR is supposed to be used to fill out these unclaimed bowl spots.