Scenarios For A Utah State Berth In Mountain West Title Game

Nov 15, 2018, 8:23 PM
The Utah State Aggies beach celebrates a touchdown during the Utah State versus BYU football game a...
The Utah State Aggies beach celebrates a touchdown during the Utah State versus BYU football game at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)
(Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

LOGAN, Utah – The No. 23 Utah State Aggies are having banner season, and is looking to continue its dominance as they goes on the road this weekend to face Colorado State. There are bigger season-long goals than beating the Rams. They’re also close to clinching a berth in the Mountain West title game.

Their final regular season game against No. 25 Boise State over Thanksgiving weekend game is probably going to decide who wins the Mountain Division, but there four scenarios to determine who will be in the conference title game.

Utah State & Boise State Win

This is the most likely outcome is both USU and Boise State win this weekend. The Aggies are a 28-point favorite over Colorado State. The Broncos are a 19.5-point road favorite over New Mexico Friday night.

This would make the game in Boise, Idaho, an elimination game between the two teams. Utah State would have a 7-0 conference record, and Boise State would have a 6-1 record. 

Should the Broncos beat the Ags at Alberstons Stadium, both teams would have a 6-1 conference record. Boise would hold the head-to head tiebreaker.

The winner of that game would then win the division and move on to the Mountain West title game.

Utah State & Boise State Lose 

While this result is extremely unlikely, the outcome would create the same scenario as above, still setting up a Mountain Division title game on the blue turf in Boise.

Boise State Beats New Mexico;
Utah State Loses to Colorado State

Because the Aggies already have a one-game lead over Boise, this would create the same winner-take-all in Boise the following week, since both teams would have a single conference loss.

Utah State Beats Colorado State;
Boise State Loses to New Mexico

This is the only outcome which allows the Aggies to clinch the Mountain Division title this after Week 12. Should Utah State top Colorado State and the Broncos somehow fall to 3-7 New Mexico, they would have two conference losses.

The result of the game the following week would no longer factor into the division championship, because even if Boise State were to defeat the Aggies, they would have more conference losses.

Mountain West Title Game In Logan?

The division champion with the highest College Football Playoff ranking before the final week of regular season play gets to host the conference championship game, unless that team loses it’s final regular season game.

Because of Fresno State’s 24-17 loss to Boise State last week, the Aggies control whether or not Logan will host it’s first Mountain West Conference Championship game at Maverik Stadium on Saturday, December 1,

Utah State would need to be ranked higher than Boise State going into their game in Idaho. The teams are ranked 23 and 25, respectively. It’s highly unlikely that a Broncos win over the 3-7 Lobos would propel over USU with their own win against the 3-7 Rams. However, the two teams’ rankings are too similar to know how the selection committee would values those wins.

The Aggies need a convincing win over Colorado State. They then need either a Boise State loss to New Mexico, or a win over the Broncos the following week.

New Year’s Six?

For the Aggies to have any hope of an at-large bid in a New Year’s Six bowl – either the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl or Playstation Fiesta Bowl – Utah State would have to beat Colorado State, Boise State and then win the conference championship game.

At 12-1 and their only loss coming to then-No. 11 Michigan State, the Aggies would be hard to ignore. However, they would have competition with the University of Central Florida from the American Athletic, the currently highest-ranked of all the group of 5 conferences.

The No. 11 Knights still have No. 24 Cincinnati and South Florida on their schedules. If they win those games, plus their conference title game, many have projected them as the at-large bid from the group of 5 teams.

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Scenarios For A Utah State Berth In Mountain West Title Game