Idaho Statesman bowl projections: Boise State-Arizona in Las Vegas, Utah State-Northern Illinois in Boise

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com
© 2012 Idaho Statesman

The Boise State football team likely is headed to the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas on Dec. 22. Executive director Dan Hanneke stopped just short of saying the Broncos are his team Tuesday, but it’s clear they’re the favorites.

The Pac-12 side of the game is still wide open.

Hanneke expects Washington, Arizona or Oregon State to land in Las Vegas. USC also is possible. (He does not want Boise State-Arizona State, a rematch of last year’s game.)

At least two of those four teams should be available. A third could be if the Pac-12 doesn’t get two teams into the BCS, but I’m projecting that it does.

Oregon State, which has been highly ranked most of the season, would seem an easy choice for MAACO if it’s available.

Washington is a team that Hanneke likes, but he says he’ll listen if Boise State and Washington tell him they don’t want to play in the bowl and again in the 2013 season opener. However, in Boise State’s case, that could be the difference between playing in Las Vegas and playing in the New Mexico Bowl — it depends on whether there’s a comparable alternative to Washington.

Arizona also would be a popular pick, if it beats Arizona State in this week’s regular-season finale. The Wildcats would finish 8-4 and inside the BCS standings. Their turnaround season likely would generate enough excitement to bring a strong following to Las Vegas.

USC, which seems to be the top choice of Boise State fans, presents a problem. The Trojans likely only will be available if they lose to Notre Dame and finish 7-5. That would be a 1-4 finish for a team that already has had a disappointing season. USC fans likely wouldn’t travel well. However, the MAACO Bowl is owned by ESPN — and a Boise State-USC game would be a ratings winner.

I’m projecting Arizona as the pick this week, but I can see scenarios that place the other three in Las Vegas. For Oregon State or Washington, USC likely would need to beat Notre Dame and get taken by one of the bowls ahead of MAACO. Or, the Pac-12 would need to lose out on a second BCS spot. For USC, ESPN would have to decide that it would rather produce a game with a great rating than a game with a great crowd.

Here’s my updated breakdown of how I think the Pac-12 race will fall:

Oregon (10-1, 7-1): Wins at Oregon State. Projected: 11-1, 8-1

Stanford (9-2, 7-1): Wins at UCLA, vs. Pac-12 South champ UCLA. Projected: 11-2, 8-1

Oregon State (8-2, 6-2): Loses vs. Oregon, wins vs. Nicholls State. Projected: 9-3, 6-3

Washington (7-4, 5-3): Wins at Washington State. Projected: 8-4, 6-3

UCLA (9-2, 6-2): Loses vs. Stanford, loses at Pac-12 North champ Stanford. Projected: 9-4, 6-3

USC (7-4, 5-4): Loses vs. Notre Dame. Projected: 7-5, 5-4

Arizona (7-4, 4-4): Wins vs. Arizona State. Projected: 8-4, 5-4

Arizona State (6-5, 4-4): Loses at Arizona. Projected: 6-6, 4-5

In the Pac-12, bowls have to take the available team with the best conference record or a team within one game. For example, a bowl can take a 6-3 team over a 7-2 team but not a 5-4 team over a 7-2 team. The way I have projected the league, that rule wouldn’t come into play.

Here’s my selection order:

Rose: Stanford

Fiesta (BCS at-large): Oregon

Alamo: Washington

Holiday: UCLA

Sun: Oregon State

Las Vegas: Arizona

Kraft Fight Hunger: USC

New Mexico: Arizona State

And here are my updated Mountain West/BCS/Boise bowl projections:

New Mexico (MW vs. Pac-12), Dec. 15, Albuquerque: Nevada vs. Arizona State: If Arizona State beats Arizona, maybe the Sun Devils play their way out of this spot.

Famous Idaho Potato (WAC vs. MAC), Dec. 15, Boise: Utah State vs. Northern Illinois: The Potato Bowl wants a WAC-MAC champs game. It’s possible if the Huskies win the MAC title game.

Poinsettia (MW vs. BYU), Dec. 20, San Diego: San Diego State vs. BYU: This game should be finalized this weekend if Fresno State wins or San Diego State loses. If San Diego State wins and Fresno State loses, the MAACO Bowl might want to hold the Aztecs.

MAACO (MW vs. Pac-12), Dec. 22, Las Vegas: Boise State vs. Arizona: The Pac-12 side is muddy. The Mountain West side is clear — Boise State is the preferred pick.

Hawaii (MW vs. C-USA*), Dec. 24, Honolulu: Fresno State vs. San Jose State: This could be one of the best matchups in the history of this rivalry. The Bulldogs are 8-3; the Spartans are 9-2.

Armed Forces (MW vs. C-USA), Dec. 29, Fort Worth, Texas: Air Force vs. East Carolina: The Falcons have accepted their invite.

Rose (Pac-12 vs. Big Ten), Jan. 1, Pasadena, Calif.: Stanford vs. Nebraska: Stanford faces a difficult task, needing to beat UCLA twice in seven days, but the Cardinal never seem to rattle.

Orange (ACC vs. BCS), Jan. 1, Miami: Florida State vs. Rutgers: Worst-case scenario for the Orange Bowl — Georgia Tech beats Florida State in the ACC title game and gets here at 7-6.

Sugar (SEC vs. BCS), Jan. 2, New Orleans: Florida vs. Oklahoma: The Gators clinch a BCS berth if they beat Florida State because of the protection afforded to the No. 3 team. A loss opens the door for LSU here.

Fiesta (Big 12 vs. BCS), Jan. 3, Glendale, Ariz.: Kansas State vs. Oregon: Familiar matchup. Different location. Much less at stake.

BCS National Championship Game (1 vs. 2), Jan. 7, Miami: Notre Dame vs. Alabama: Maybe we’ll get more chaos, but this seems like a relatively safe projection at this point.

* indicates conference won’t fill its spot

•••

ESPN will decide Sunday on a game time for the Dec. 1 Boise State-Nevada game. There are three windows in play, according to ESPN — 1:30 p.m. MT, 5 p.m. MT and 8:30 p.m. MT.

I expect the game to land at 8:30 because ESPN has used that game time all year and the only other Western teams at home that day are Oregon State (vs. Nicholls State) and Hawaii (vs. South Alabama).

Louisiana Tech-San Jose State is in the 8:30 time slot this week.

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1353519244 Idaho Statesman bowl projections: Boise State-Arizona in Las Vegas, Utah State-Northern Illinois in Boise Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Beat Writer:

Fifth place team from the PAC 12, PLAYS a MWC team.(End of conversation).

Rebuild Year Bowl

Rebuild party in Vegas is solid work for the Boise State Broncos. Good Job Broncos and Coaches.

It will be USC, Washington, or Arizona that could

play Boise at MAACO....

By end of Saturday, more will be known....

Nice recap of the article ugly

Thanks for the chuckle.

The one certain bowl that day will be the Cereal...

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Nothing happened and what if it did?

BSU vs USC

Would get a great crowd.

If we don't win again it might not be anybody.

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Nothing happened and what if it did?

Well well, what do we have here.......

I was doing my typical research for a weekend of meager wagers and I was a little surprised at what I found. I'm not saying any of this would happen, but it's amazing there even this much of an outside shot.....

Boise State is 22nd in the BCS, to make a BCS bowl they must be 12th (no real chance) or 16th and ahead of a BCS champion.

This week, out of the 10 (12-21) teams just in front of BSU, one has already lost (#16 Texas) and 6 are underdogs on the betting lines

# 12 South Carolina @ Clemson (+3.5)
# 15 Oregon State v Oregon (+9.5)
# 17 UCLA v Stanford (+2)
# 18 Rutgers @ PITT (+1.5)
# 19 Michigan @ Ohio State (+4)
# 21 Oklahoma State @ Oklahoma (+6.5)

If all the favorites win out, BSU would move up at least 6 spots, possibly 7 (or 15th or 16th)

IF that should happen then next week would come down to

BSU beats Nevada

and

Rutgers beats Louisville (Louisville's rank would not matter)

or

Wisconsin beats Nebraska (Nebraska's rank wouldn't matter)

Doesn't seem possible.........

Happy Holidays.....

Just thinking

Nice breakdown, watching Nebraska in the wind at Iowa I was wondering if it would be possible to climb back in. Assuming it all breaks our way won't the computers hold us back? Also will voters move us up without a win this week?

Well, an Iowa win would throw the thing

wide open.

If Iowa wins today and Ohio State beats Michigan, The B1G will not have a team in the top 16.

Our chances probably rest on how Northern Illinois and Kent State (they meet in the MAC championship) play out in the polls.

It will be very close....

Can Scrap Washington from the list of possible teams that

could play Boise at MAACO....

Wow, they blew it. 18 pt lead in 4th qtr.

Down to Arizona, Arizona State, or USC....

Ugly - who dey.

Out in Pittsburg for turkey week and nobody knows my team on my bronco gear shirt & hat.

I thought many on these blogs said. Bsu was famous.

Don't look like it.

People really like the logo of the crazy helmet horse on my blackout bronco shirt.

I tell them to get ready for the eastern invasion of the bus bronco to the big east and the kinda fall aslleep.

Bronco fans will really enjoy coming to the east. The people are kinda nice if you got lots of money. A gallon of gas is over 5 bucks regardless of what the news tells us. Also, good horse meat is not as cheap as it used to be. But all in all it is a good trp.

Went to Heinz stadium and saw steelers lose to ravens. Pro football is real big ib the east but not so much cooege football -- gotta go to the south and Texas and pacific for that.

Went to a sorts bar and it is all about pro football, college basketball, and sulked racing in the east.

I sure hope lustration has not unwittingly les us broncos down the path of destruction and eventualbad stuu.

Maybe kustra knows somebody in Chicago that can make the east coast sports fans follow college football and learn about our national powerhouse juggernaut bus broncos.

Looking forward to coming back to Idaho one day.

I understand from my wife that that day is tomorrow.

Ugly - you behave yourself on the blogs and try to be gentle with the barbarians others who inhabit the boards and just go out of their way to bash vandals.

We all know the truth where the real brain trust and future of our great state lies. And, it is not at river city junior college.

Go broncos.

Vndl

Ps sorry about caps spelling and stuu as I am writing this on my wife's max-pad thingy, and am not used to not having my secretary next to me doing the typing as I give dictation to respond to the blogs, per normal procedure.

VNDL....Sounds like you are having a good time in the

east....

Sorry that no-one cares about the Broncos over there. Someday maybe?

Yes, CEOs can have their own agenda. I'm not sure what Kustras is, but it cannot be in the best interest for Boise State. Maybe that is why Gene left?

Yes, the Big East and the east in general is a whole different environment. Small town podunks from the West wont impress them enough to even register on their 'Who Cares?' scale.

But that is the Boisean Roman Road....

PS. Still in shock of the Wash v WSU game. Wash had an 18 pt lead in 4th qtr, and then blew it to our Vandal neighbors.