By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
It’s November, so it’s time to start our weekly bowl projections for the Mountain West, Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and Bowl Championship Series:
New Mexico (MW vs. Pac-12), Dec. 15, Albuquerque: New Mexico vs. Arizona State: Lobos might not get eligible. They must win this week at UNLV.
Famous Idaho Potato (WAC vs. MAC), Dec. 15, Boise: Utah State vs. Kent State: The MAC has four strong teams but two have made trips to this game recently — Ohio and Northern Illinois.
Poinsettia (MW vs. BYU), Dec. 20, San Diego: San Diego State vs. BYU: This will be a popular game in San Diego, matching longtime rivals.
MAACO (MW vs. Pac-12), Dec. 22, Las Vegas: Fresno State vs. Arizona: If the Bulldogs win out, they likely are the backup to Boise State. If not, Air Force becomes a factor.
Hawaii (MW vs. C-USA), Dec. 24, Honolulu: Nevada vs. Houston: If Boise State makes BCS and New Mexico doesn’t get eligible, Mountain West might vacate this one.
Armed Forces (MW vs. C-USA), Dec. 29, Fort Worth, Texas: Air Force vs. East Carolina: If the Falcons keep winning, they will be a popular team with bowl directors.
Rose (Pac-12 vs. Big Ten), Jan. 1, Pasadena, Calif.: Oklahoma vs. Wisconsin: I took Wisconsin because they have the clearest path to the Big Ten title. The Rose could take Notre Dame, but if bowls work together it makes more sense to put the Irish in the Fiesta. Oklahoma replaces Oregon because the Pac-12 is unlikely to have a second eligible team.
Orange (ACC vs. BCS), Jan. 1, Miami: Florida State vs. Boise State: If you list the things that need to happen for the Broncos, all are more likely than not.
Sugar (SEC vs. BCS), Jan. 2, New Orleans: Florida vs. Louisville: If anyone other than Louisville wins the Big East, Boise State is the more attractive pick. But does the SEC want to play the Broncos? It would be a fun matchup with Florida’s Brent Pease-led offense.
Fiesta (Big 12 vs. BCS), Jan. 3, Glendale, Ariz.: Kansas State vs. Notre Dame: If these teams are undefeated and left out of the title game, this is a no-brainer. If the Rose takes Notre Dame, Clemson could get a BCS berth instead of Oklahoma.
BCS National Championship Game (1 vs. 2), Jan. 7, Miami: Alabama vs. Oregon: If the top four go undefeated, it will be close. But the Ducks should prevail because of what they would have to do in the final month.
Note: The BCS gives the first choice of available teams to the bowl that loses No. 1 (in this case, Sugar) and the second choice to the bowl that loses No. 2 (Rose). The last three picks go Fiesta, Sugar, Orange this year.
San Diego State senior cornerback Leon McFadden turned down scholarship offers from Washington, Washington State and BYU in part because San Diego State wanted him to play wide receiver.
“I wanted to be scoring touchdowns,” he said. “I wanted to be part of the hype.”
He’s doing both of those things — but he’s doing them at cornerback, after all. He switched positions two weeks into his first fall camp, started six games as a true freshman in 2009 and has developed into one of the Mountain West’s best players. He was named the preseason defensive player of the year.
“He’s very talented, very tough, very instinctual,” Boise State wide receiver Matt Miller said. “I think it has to do with his film study — how he breaks on those routes and how he plays the receiver, it’s pretty cool to watch. ... We’re always going to have to know where he’s at, be very smart with what we do with our routes and not give him any tips early in our routes.”
McFadden ranks second in the Mountain West in passes defended with three interceptions (two for touchdowns) and nine pass breakups. He has eight interceptions and 36 pass breakups in his career.
“He’s made a lot of our receivers and myself better,” San Diego State quarterback Adam Dingwell said. “He’s got a nose for the ball, and he’s very physical for a corner.”
Boise State sophomore defensive end Beau Martin started the season opener at Michigan State but slipped down the depth chart to No. 3 at the stud end spot, behind redshirt freshman Sam Ukwuachu and junior Kharyee Marshall.
Martin, a sophomore transfer, recorded his first sack and forced fumble last week after Marshall was injured. Marshall is questionable, so his role could be expanded this week, too.
He has eight tackles.
“It’s been a season of ups and downs,” Martin said. “It all comes down to practice. When I practice well and really focus in on my assignment and doing my job, it translates to the game.”