Mountain West Division Scenarios

Photo via Pam Davis

It is quickly approaching…the mountain west conference championship. To be played on December 1st, to be played at…TBD.  The next two weeks will make all the difference.

Starting with the simpler division…

MOUNTAIN DIVISION

With Wyoming, Air Force, & Colorado State all tied for 3rd place sitting at 2-4 in conference play, only Boise State and Utah State are in contention for the Mountain Division crown.

This week, the Aggies travel to Fort Collins, CO to play the Rams and the Broncos head on down to Albuquerque, NM to face the Lobos.




Scenarios:

USU loses to CSU. BSU loses to NM. November 24th still decides the champ.

With their first conference loss, the Aggies would still have to beat the Broncos on the blue to reach the MW championship. Even at two conference losses, the Broncos would win the head-to-head tiebreaker if the November 24th matchup delivers the Aggies a second loss.

USU beats CSU. BSU loses to NM. Aggies win the title.

If BSU drops their second conference loss, while the Aggies remain spotless going into the regular season finale, the Aggies take home the Division Title no matter the result of the matchup on the Blue.

USU loses to CSU. BSU beats NM. Winner takes all in finale.

An Aggie loss and Bronco win this weekend would result in a 1st place tie. That tie would obviously be broken by the last game on the schedule. If the Broncos prevail on the 24th, they take home the hardware. Same goes for the Aggies.

USU beats CSU. BSU beats NM. Late night showdown is the eliminator.

If both teams win out this week, that cold November night will be the deciding factor. If Aggies triumph, they deserve to be the king of the Mountain. If the Broncos win, BSU and USU will be tied in winning percentage and the Broncos will have the advantage with the head-to-head win.

Conclusion:

Broncos hold their fate in their own hands. Win out to win the division (or, if the boys in blue fall to the Lobos, pray USU has an off night in Colorado, and then pounce on the deflated Aggies).

WEST DIVISION

With the UNLV Rebels delivering a blow to San Diego State, that puts three teams into contention for the West Title. Fresno State hosts the reeling Aztecs and then the San Jose State Spartans. San Diego State hosts the Hawaii Warriors after returning home from Fresno. Nevada is on the road for both games against the Spartans and the Rebels.

Scenarios:

FSU beats SDSU. Bulldogs are West Champions.

If Fresno State beats San Diego State, they will win the west. Even if they drop their finale with the Spartans (highly unlikely), at worst they will be in a tie with Nevada (if the Wolfpack wins out) and the Bulldogs hold the head-to-head win. They beat Nevada 21-3 on October 6th.

SDSU wins out. NEV wins out. FSU beats SJSU.

This is the most confusing scenario. This would result in a three-way tie for first place. Each team would hold a 6-2 conference record. As no team would hold the advantage of a head-to-head (SDSU beat FSU, FSU beat NEV, NEV beat SDSU), the title falls to the best divisional (meaning Mountain division games don’t count) winning percentage. Both SDSU’s losses came to West foes (NEV & FSU lost to the Broncos in the Mountain division). That eliminates the Aztecs. Now it reverts to a two-team tie. Fresno State holds the head-to-head victory against Nevada. Fresno State would return to the Championship.

SDSU wins out. FSU falls short in both games. NEV wins out.

This is the most unlikely scenarios, but still possible (and this is college football in November and stranger things have happened). The Bulldogs would fall to second place. The Aztecs would be tied with the Wolfpack. Because of that crazy game two weeks ago, Nevada holds the head-to-head edge. The Wolfpack…yes the Wolfpack…would be headed to their first ever MW Championship.

SDSU wins out. FSU losses out. NEV drops any game.

The Bulldogs would be on a three game losing streak and Nevada would have to lose to in-state rival UNLV. San Diego State would have the best conference record and would punch their ticket to another conference championship game.

SDSU wins out. FSU beats SJSU. NEV drops any game.

With another loss, the Wolfpack would be out of contention. Fresno State and San Diego State would be tied for first place. San Diego State would have the head-to-head advantage. Aztecs would be crowned West division champs.

Conclusion:

Anything is possible…




LOCATION

This was an argument point last season. The Mountain West had some funky rules on this decision. Because the higher ranked champion (Fresno State) lost their season finale, a “composite of selected computer rankings” made the final decision that Sunday (regardless of what the CFP poll said on Tuesday) and the Broncos were named host.

The Mountain West updated their host selection decision method to be less controversial back in July.  It’s mostly based on best conference winning percentage.

Scenarios:

USU loses to CSU, but wins the Mountain. FSU wins out.

Utah State’s conference record would be 7-1. Fresno State’s conference record would be 7-1. A tie. Because these teams didn’t play each other in the regular season, there’s no head-to-head tiebreaker. With a loss to CSU, the Aggies would likely be ranked lower than Fresno State. Championship would be held in sunny (and currently on fire) California.

USU loses to CSU, but wins the Mountain. FSU does not win out.

The West would be guaranteed a 2 or 3-loss champion, so even dropping to 7-1 in conference play would still set up the Aggies to host. (Yes there is technically a scenario where there is a 4 way tie for first place where Fresno State, San Diego State, Nevada, & Hawaii all go 5-3 in conference….Fresno State wins the tie-breakers.)

USU wins out.

Utah State would be undefeated in conference play. Logan, UT would host the championship in the cold Rocky Mountains.

BSU wins out.

Boise State would have only one conference loss (to San Diego State). Boise would host regardless of what happens in the West. Even if Fresno State wins out, the ensuing tie with both teams at 7-1 would be broken by the head-to-head matchup the Broncos won.

BSU wins Mountain after a loss in New Mexico. Chaos ensues.

This would require USU to lose both their last two games, but it’s still possible.

  • If Fresno State wins out, the Bulldogs would be 7-1 in conference and the Broncos would be 6-2, so Fresno, CA would host.
  • If Fresno state loses against San Diego State and/or San Jose State, but still nabs the West division, BSU and FSU would be tied at 6-2 or FSU would have 3 losses (possible but it involves a lot of losing in the West). Boise State would host again due to the head-to-head advantage or best conference record.
  • If Nevada wins the West (it’s still possible), the Broncos would host because that win in Reno would break the conference record tie (each team would be 6-2).
  • If SDSU wins the West, San Diego would be host as they would have the head-to-head advantage. Both teams would have a 6-2 conference record.

**** Correction as of 11:35 AM MST ****

One of our readers brought this to our attention in regards to the New Host Procedure that the Mountain West Conference had made back in July.

The scenarios for host location determination have been updated accordingly.




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About Taylor Hart

Taylor Hart
Taylor was born and raised in the Treasure Valley. He developed a strong love for anything Broncos related. Even though he doesn't currently reside in the Boise area any more, his wardrobe mainly consists of blue and orange which he wears proudly and often, much to his wife's chagrin.

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