WEEK 14 GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL NOTES
NEVADA WILL BOWL IN NEW MEXICO: ESPN Regional Television (ERT) and the Gildan New Mexico Bowl announced Sunday, Nov. 25 that the Nevada Wolf Pack accepted an invitation to the seventh annual game to be played on Saturday, Dec. 15. The game, which should pit the 7-4 program against a member of the Pac-12, will kick off the FBS postseason, at 11 a.m. MT at University Stadium on the University of New Mexico campus and air nationally on ESPN, ESPN HD and ESPN Radio.
Nevada, representing the Mountain West Conference, makes its second appearance in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. The Wolf Pack competed in the 2007 game as a representative of the WAC, falling 23-0 to the New Mexico Lobos. Nevada has been to seven straight bowl games, competing last year in the Sheraton Hawai`i Bowl against Southern Miss. The Wolf Pack’s last victory in a bowl game was the 2010 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, topping Boston College, 20-13.
The Wolf Pack is 7-4 overall and 4-3 in league play with one game remaining in the regular season, hosting No. 22 Boise State on Saturday, Dec. 1. Their last game was in Albuquerque on Nov. 17, where the Wolf Pack picked up a 31-24 win over New Mexico. Nevada ranks seventh in the nation in rushing offense and 10th in total offense. They are led by running back Stefphon Jefferson, who is second in the country in rushing.
BOWL PREDICTIONS: It’s the last weekend before the entire bowl lineup is announced. The nation’s college football analysts have made their final predictions for the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. We already know Nevada will represent the Mountain West and apparently the analysts know something we don’t because for the first time ever, they are unanimous that it will be Arizona representing the Pac-12. Here is the breakdown of who has made predictions for the 2012 bowl game:
Athlon Sports: Arizona (Pac-12)
Beyond The Bets: Arizona (Pac-12)^
Bleacher Report: Arizona (Pac-12)
CBS Sports: Arizona (Pac-12)
CFN.Scout.com: Arizona (Pac-12)
CollegeBowlProjections.com: Arizona (Pac-12)
ESPN (Mark Schlabach’s pick): Arizona (Pac-12)
ESPN (Brad Edwards’ pick): Arizona (Pac-12)
ESPN.com (Kevin Gemmell): Arizona (Pac-12)
National Football Post: Arizona (Pac-12)
Phil Steele: Arizona (Pac-12)
SB Nation: Arizona (WAC)
Sports Illustrated: Arizona (Pac-12)
* indicates at-large bid
^did not update pick from preseason
READY TO BOWL: There are 70 out of 124 teams that are eligible to fill one of the 62 open bowl slots this postseason. The teams that have already accepted bids are Nevada (Gildan New Mexico), Utah State (Famous Idaho Potato), BYU (San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia), San Diego State (San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia), Louisiana-Lafayette (R+L Carriers), SMU (Sheraton Hawai`i), Air Force (Bell Helicopter Armed Forces) and Navy (Kraft Fight Hunger).
There are also 51 programs that have been removed from contention, either with guaranteed losing records or due to NCAA violations. This week, three teams (Georgia Tech, UConn and Pittsburgh) need to win their last game of the season, which is this weekend, in order to become eligible.
For the Mountain West, San Diego State, Fresno State, Boise State, Nevada and Air Force are all bowl eligible. Colorado State, Hawai`i, New Mexico, UNLV and Wyoming are all ineligible for the postseason. The Mountain West has boasted five bowl-eligible teams in each of the past eight seasons and nine times overall. Since its inception in 1999, the MW has earned 51 bowl bids and holds a 31-20 (.608) all-time record. Over the last eight seasons, the Mountain West has captured the Bowl Challenge Cup four times and owns the best win percentage in bowl games among the 11 FBS conferences with a 24-12 mark (.667). The Mountain West is the only conference to win the trophy four times since the award’s inception in 2002-03.
The Pac-12 has the second most bowl-eligible teams among nation’s conferences with eight: Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Washington. The remaining teams,California, Colorado, Utah and Washington State are ineligible.
PAC-12 FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: The Stanford Cardinal (10-2 overall, 8-1 Pac-12 North) will host the UCLA Bruins (9-3 overall, 6-3 South) on Friday, November 30 in the second annual Pac-12 Football Championship Game with the right to represent the Pac-12 Conference in the Rose Bowl Game.
With Oregon’s 48-24 win at Oregon State earlier in the day, Stanford needed a victory over UCLA to remain tied with Oregon in the North Division. In defeating the Bruins, 35-17, the Cardinal earned a share of the North Division crown with the Ducks. By virtue of its 17-14 overtime win last Saturday in head-to-head competition with Oregon, Stanford earned the tie-breaker and will represent the North Division. As the team with the best conference record, Stanford will host this year’s Pac-12 Football Championship Game at Stanford Stadium.
UCLA had already clinched the South Division with its 38-28 win over USC last Saturday.
The Pac-12 Championship Game will be televised by FOX at 5 p.m. PT.
MOUNTAIN WEST CROWN: Fresno State (9-3, 7-1 MW) and San Diego State (9-3, 7-1 MW) each claimed a share of the 2012 Mountain West championship on Saturday, as the Bulldogs secured a 48-15 victory over Air Force and the Aztecs downed Wyoming, 42-28. In its inaugural season as a MW member, Fresno State captured the title under first-year head coach Tim DeRuyter. It is the Bulldogs’ first conference championship since 1999. San Diego State claimed its first-ever MW football championship and the Aztecs’ first league crown since 1998.
No. 15/25 Boise State (6-1) enters its final Conference contest at Nevada seeking a share of the MW title. There has only been one previous season in which multiple champions were crowned in the Mountain West. In the league’s inaugural season of 1999, BYU, Colorado State and Utah shared the Conference crown with identical 5-2 records in MW play.
The 2012 season marks the first time in nine years that the Mountain West champion will have at least one Conference loss. The last time an MW champion did not go undefeated through the league slate came in 2003, when Utah captured the title with a 6-1 mark.
ON TAP THIS WEEK: It’s been six days since Stanford and UCLA met but this time the Cardinal are the home team as the programs square off in the Pac-12 Championship with a trip to the Rose Bowl on the line. The only other team in the league playing is No. 15 Oregon State. The Beavers are hosting Nicholls State in a make-up game that was supposed to be played in the first week of the season but was postponed due to weather. In the Mountain West, No. 20 Boise State needs a win at Nevada to claim a share of the conference crown. Hawai`i is the other MW team in action, concluding the season with non-conference rival South Alabama. The complete schedule for the conferences is:
Nov. 30 - #16 UCLA (9-3, 6-3 Pac-12) at #8 Stanford (10-2, 8-1 Pac-12)........ 5 p.m. PT / FOX
Dec. 1 - Nicholls St. (1-9, 0-7 Southland) at #15 Oregon St. (8-3, 6-3 Pac-12) 11:30 a.m. PT / P12N
#20 Boise State (9-2, 6-1 MW) at Nevada (7-4, 4-3 MW)................... 12:30 p.m. PT / ABC
South Alabama (2-10, 1-7 Sun Belt) at Hawai`i (2-9, 1-7 MW)............. 6 p.m. HT Oceanic PPV
WEEK 13 REWIND: Shares of the Mountain West title were claimed on Saturday with Fresno State and San Diego State earning wins to finish the regular season 9-3 overall and 7-1 in league play. They await to see if Boise State can defeat Nevada this weekend, which would make it a three-way tie for first. Also in MW news, Hawai`i garnered a win over UNLV, it’s first in MW play. In the Pac-12, Stanford sealed its own destiny with a win over UCLA, setting up a rematch Friday night in the Pac-12 Championship game. Washington State picked up its first win in conference play this season, upsetting No. 25 Washington in overtime. USC and Arizona both put up tough fights but couldn’t defend its home turf, falling to top-ranked Notre Dame and in-state rival Arizona State, respectively. Complete results from the weekend for both conferences are below:
#1 Notre Dame def. USC, 22-13
#5 Oregon def. #15 Oregon State, 48-24
#8 Stanford def. #17 UCLA, 35-17
Arizona State def. Arizona, 41-34
Colorado State def. New Mexico, 24-20
Fresno State def. Air Force, 48-15
Hawai`i def. UNLV, 48-10
San Diego State def. Wyoming, 42-28
Utah def. Colorado, 42-35
Washington State def. Washington, 31-28 (OT)
TALE OF THE TURNSTILES: The heads have been counted and the Pac-12 averaged slightly over 56,000 fans while the Mountain West averaged a little more than 22,500. The biggest crowd for the Pac-12 was over 93,500 at the LA Memorial Coliseum where top-ranked Notre Dame clinched a berth to the BCS Championship with a 22-13 win over host USC. For the Mountain West, the largest crowd over 36,000 at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, Calif. where Fresno State claimed a share of the lead in the conference title race with its win over Air Force. A complete breakdown of each team’s attendance figures is available in the attached PDF.
NATIONAL RANKINGS: The updated BCS Standings were released Sunday night and the Pac-12 has four members present, including two in the top-10. Oregon leads the way at No. 5, followed by No. 8 Stanford, No. 15 Oregon State and No. 16 UCLA. Boise State, representing the Mountain West, moved up two spots despite sitting out with a bye and are No. 20.
In the latest Associated Press rankings, the Pac-12 has four teams placed and two receiving votes. Oregon is the sixth team in the nation while Stanford is eighth, Oregon State is 16th and UCLA is 17th. USC and Arizona are a few nods shy of the top 25 with multiple votes. Boise State broke back into the AP poll after a three-week absence, coming in at No. 25. San Diego State and Fresno State are receiving multiple votes.
In the USA Today/Coaches’ Top-25, four teams are also in the rankings for the Pac-12 with three just missing. The Ducks are No. 4 in this poll, while the Cardinal are No. 9, the Bruins are No. 16, and the Beavers are No. 17. Arizona State, Arizona and USC are receiving votes. For the MW, Boise State is ranked in the coaches’ poll, placing No. 15. Fresno State and San Diego State are garnering votes in the polls.
UCF Football's Best Video Features from 2012-13: Cheering from Overseas & the Win over Southern Miss