By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
Here are my bowl projections for this week:
New Mexico (MW vs. Pac-12), Dec. 15, Albuquerque: Nevada vs. Arizona: Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson told the Fresno Bee last week that New Mexico didn’t make sense for Fresno State (repeat visitor), so I put Nevada here.
Famous Idaho Potato (WAC vs. MAC), Dec. 15, Boise: Utah State vs. Toledo: The Potato Bowl should be a good game again this year. Utah State is having an outstanding season and still could win the WAC and the MAC has enough good teams to send someone with a gaudy record to Boise.
Poinsettia (MW vs. BYU), Dec. 20, San Diego: San Diego State vs. BYU: This is the biggest no-brainer on the list.
MAACO (MW vs. Pac-12), Dec. 22, Las Vegas: Boise State vs. UCLA: If the Broncos win out, they’re still by far the most attractive team because of their name, TV value and likely Top 25 ranking. And unlike Fresno/New Mexico above, the Mountain West doesn’t have any control to prevent a team from going to Las Vegas three years in a row. The opponent will be better if the Pac-12 only gets one team into the BCS — the USC-UCLA loser seems likely — than if the Pac-12 gets two.
Hawaii (MW vs. C-USA), Dec. 24, Honolulu: Fresno State vs. Houston: This would be a nice reward for the Bulldogs if they share the conference title.
Armed Forces (MW vs. C-USA), Dec. 29, Fort Worth, Texas: Air Force vs. East Carolina: Air Force’s attractiveness took a hit with last week’s loss to Army. The Falcons still have to play Fresno State and San Diego State, too.
Rose (Pac-12 vs. Big Ten), Jan. 1, Pasadena, Calif.: Oklahoma vs. Nebraska: The Pac-12 might sneak a second team into the top 14, but Oregon State probably has to beat Stanford. The Rose could take Notre Dame but if the Irish are undefeated there will be pressure to let them go to the Fiesta.
Orange (ACC vs. BCS), Jan. 1, Miami: Florida State vs. Louisville: A chance for Louisville to build some serious poll momentum going into next year.
Sugar (SEC vs. BCS), Jan. 2, New Orleans: Florida vs. Clemson: Clemson is rooting hard against the Pac-12 getting a second bid. That could determine whether the Tigers get a spot.
Fiesta (Big 12 vs. BCS), Jan. 3, Glendale, Ariz.: Kansas State vs. Notre Dame: This could be a matchup of undefeated teams ranked No. 3 and No. 4.
BCS National Championship Game (1 vs. 2), Jan. 7, Miami: Alabama vs. Oregon: If Oregon and Kansas State are undefeated, it will be close. But it’s difficult to imagine Oregon getting left out with its dominance and track record.
I’m writing about sophomore safety Jeremy Ioane’s homecoming for Saturday’s paper. The Honolulu native gets to play in front of family and friends against Hawaii.
“We’re really pleased with how he’s playing,” coach Chris Petersen said. “I still think his best football is in front of him. He’s a smart player. You’re starting to see signs of him being a physical player. I think both those things will continue to increase in his favor.”
Hawaii quarterback Sean Schroeder on why Boise State’s defense is so good against the pass:
“Their D-line gets a lot of pressure on the quarterback. It’s hard to be efficient as a quarterback when you’re lying on your back.”
Boise State linebacker J.C. Percy on the special teams matchup this week:
“Any time we go against a team that has a good special teams unit, it’s going to be a good test, and we’re looking forward to it. Especially after our outing last week, this one’s going to be extra special.”