Bowl bits to chew on

Wyoming needs one more victory to become bowl eligible, and it’s an early 25-point favorite to beat 1-9 New Mexico Saturday in Laramie to get that seventh win.

It’s a pretty safe assumption if the Cowboys are bowl eligible that they will play in their second bowl game in three years. But there are some interesting dynamics that could alter their bowl chances so I thought I would throw out some nuggets for you to think about and comment on.

The Mountain West has ties to four bowls this year: Las Vegas (vs. Pac-12, Dec. 22); Poinsettia in San Diego (vs. WAC, Dec. 21), Independence (vs. ACC, Dec. 26) and New Mexico (Dec. 19, vs. Pac-12).

Las Vegas gets the first choice from the MW, followed by the Poinsettia, Independence and New Mexico. However, bowls like these often work together to find the best teams and match-ups. But it all starts with the Las Vegas Bowl.

TCU’s win at Boise State last Saturday actually hurt some of the other MW teams’ bowl chances. Boise State was on its way to a BCS Bowl before that loss. Now, it’s staring second place in the conference in the face and there will be no MW team in a BCS bowl. It looks like there will be five bowl eligible teams in the conference this year (assuming UW gets there and Air Force wins its last two games against UNLV and CSU) with four automatic ties.

Remember when UW became bowl eligible in 2009? TCU played in the Fiesta Bowl, which helped open up another slot for a MW team for its bowl ties that year. As the dominoes fell, that helped UW land in the New Mexico Bowl. It’s probable that the MW will send all five of its teams to bowls, but one team will have to fill a spot from a bowl that can’t fill a commitment from another conference.

UW is tied for second place in the MW right now, and has a good chance of finishing no lower than third. If that happens, expect the Cowboys to go to one of the four bowl games affiliated with the MW. The higher UW finishes, the better chance it has to landing in Las Vegas or San Diego, but with Boise State losing last week, those chances are slim unless some other crazy things happen.

Bowl officials from the New Mexico and Independence bowls have seen UW play in person this season. Based on its 2004 appearance and win in the Las Vegas Bowl, officials there love Wyoming and the fans it will bring. And, the folks that run the Poinsettia Bowl also run the Holiday Bowl, and they still remember how well UW travelled to San Diego for the Holiday Bowls iin 1987 and 1988. UW still has a good reputation among many bowl reps for bringing fans, and spending money. That’s always a good thing.

The Independence Bowl is new to the MW this year, and that could be a tough draw for UW. It’s in Shreveport, La., the day after Christmas. Better fits would be Air Force (strong ties with an Air Force┬ábase nearby) and TCU (less than 200 miles away from Dallas-Fort Worth). But if Las Vegas and the Poinsettia bowls have the first two choices, they also have to consider the integrity of their game. They want the best team possible, so not sure TCU would go there, espeically if it wins the MW title.

Expect the Las Vegas and Poinsettia bowls to target TCU and Boise State if they are the top two teams in the MW. There is San Diego State right there in San Diego, too, but it would be difficult for bowl officials there to go after the hometown team a second straight year with TCU and Boise State there. However, if San Diego State upsets Boise State in San Diego Saturday, all that could change.

What other bowls could land a MW team like UW? The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco on Dec. 31 has an opening. Army was slated to go there to play at Pac-12 team, but Army suffered its seventh loss last Saturday and isn’t bowl eligible.

Conference USA has six bowl ties, but only four bowl-eligible teams as of now. East Carolina, Marshall and Central Florida all have four wins and need two more to get bowl eligible. If they can’t get there, bowl such as the TicketCity (Jan 2, vs. Big Ten No. 7) or the Armed Forces (Dec. 30 vs, BYU) could open up. The Armed Forces has a tie with the MW if BYU doesn’t get bowl eligible, but that won’t happen. However, if a CUSA team doesn’t make it, could you imagine as a UW fan a bowl game with BYU?

The Humanitarian, or Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise, also could come into the picture for a MW team. If Boise State played in it, it likely would sellout. But I don’t think the Broncos would do that with a chance to play in Las Vegas or San Diego. Then again, you never know.

A big misconception about most bowl games is that schools make a lot of money. With the MW bowl ties, the best case scenario is schools break even. UW won’t turn down an invitation to a bowl game in fear of losing money, but don’t think it will make a lot money by going to one.

Those are just a few things to think about for now. At least it’s a little fun to start thinking about such scenarios. If I had to predict it now, I say UW plays in the Independence or New Mexico bowls.

There have been some great comments from UW fans on their take of UW’s bowl outlook, and good participation so far on the poll question on the blog. Keep them coming!

9 thoughts on “Bowl bits to chew on

  1. The best thing to happen for the Pokes is for a MW team to get into the BCS and there is still a very good chance of that happening. TCU is the only realistic team with their win at Boise, because they now have the inside track at the conference championship, assuming that they take care of UNLV and CSEWE. Currently they are #19 and as you know in order to qualify for BCS a team must win its conference and be ranked in the top 16 teams. There are 4 B10 teams in front of them and all of them still have to play each other so it isn’t inconceivable to think that TCU could move up 3 spots in the remaining weeks assuming they win out which they should.

    The threat to them is in Conference USA and it lies with Houston. Houston has 3 remaining games (SMU 4-2 and Tulsa 6-0 and the C-USA Championship game). It is conceivable to think that Houston could slip up in one of these games at which point TCU gains the non-AQ BCS slot. If this happens, TCU is out and if the Pokes can win out they would most likely go to Las Vegas because the MAACO folks really like us and how we travel. If we win 2 of 3, they more than likely go to San Diego. If they only win one, then it becomes dicey as to who goes to San Diego or Shrieveport so the best case scenario for the Pokes is to win out or at least 2. I for one would much rather go to Las Vegas or San Diego vs heading to Louisiana the day after X-mas. For all Poke fans we should be pulling for TCU to win out and for Houston to lose at least one of their last three games.

    • I’m pulling for Wyo winds to blow us to Vegas. We love it there!
      Go Pokes, Beat UNM.
      We owe them, after last years fiasco.

  2. Wow…..I’ve been to numerous sites and the ‘Bowl Projections’ have us going anywhere from the NM Bowl, to the Hawaii Bowl (seeing how Conference USA won’t have a 7th team eligible).

    I would like to know for sure, so I can book my hotel.

    (BTW, Brad Edwards from ESPN doesn’t even have us in a bowl)

    • Unfortunately, that could happen even if UW gets bowl eligible. Don’t think its likely, but it could happen.

      A bowl UW could land is the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco. No Army since it won’t be bowl eligible. Three CSUA teams at 4-6. Would be nice to see at least two of them fall short of 6 wins.


      • If Air Force becomes bowl eligible then I would think they would take the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco in place of Army. Kinda makes sense since that bowl had (has) a military tie in…
        If Wyoming and Air Force goes 7-5 then the only bowl I could see Air Force bumping Wyoming on is the NM Bowl.

        As I understand it, NM Bowl reps were at the Wyo-Air Force game. I would hope those reps considered the following:
        1. How many Wyoming fans came to the Air Force game and how empty Falcon Stadium was, implying that Wyoming fans won’t sweat the extra travel time, their fans weren’t exactly showing much support…
        2. Sure there is an Air Force Base in Albquerque, but how much money will an Airman spend on the day of the Bowl. Not sure spending at least $30 on a ticket alone is on his/her list of priorities. It is all about scheduling Teams that will bring fans to spend $$ in the local economy. I went in 2009 and it was 2 hotel rooms X 2 nights plus eating out, shopping, etc. Wyoming fans will come to the bowl game.
        3. Fun Factor. Since ESPN is covering the game and the NM Bowl was the first to kick off bowl season, it was highly rated, in fact it was the 2nd on the best bowls to watch in 2009. Why? Because Wyoming came to town with a fantastic crowd and an exciting team to watch. Wyoming will do that again…

        I think we’ll be okay. I

        • Also take into account Colorado Springs is easy access to Albuquerque.
          New Mexico Bowl reps were at UW-UNLV game. I didn’t see them at Air Force but they may have been there. Good point with the Hunger Bowl keeping a military tie. I think UW will be fine, too. If the Pokes keep winning it won’t matter.


  3. I can easily see the cowboys with eight wins and maybe even nine. I don’t see Boise as unbeatable, especially now, we gave a pretty good fight to TCU and you never know when a guy can get lucky. New Mexico and CSU are teams we should beat. I guess I would like the Las Vegas Bowl but San Francisco or San Diego would please the heck out of my wife and I am happy when she’s happy. I am planning a trip in december and so should you!

  4. I would love to see a poll that reads something like: “What bowl game would you most likely be able/willing to attend.”
    I personally am hoping for a New Mexico Bowl invite. Although Las Vegas would top my list, I don’t think it is a likely scenario for the Cowboys.
    With finances tighter these days, going to San Diego or Shreveport would be practically impossible for us.
    In 2009, the people of Albuquerque were incredibly hospitable and they apparently didn’t jack up their rates for food or lodging. We had an outstanding time!

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