INAUGURAL MW CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: Fresno State will host Utah State in the inaugural Mountain West Football Championship Game on Saturday, Dec. 7 at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, Calif. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. PT and the game will be televised on CBS. The Bulldogs (7-1 MW, 10-1 overall) clinched the West Division on Nov. 23 with their 69-28 victory over New Mexico. The Aggies (7-1 MW, 8-4 overall) captured the Mountain Division with their 35-7 victory over Wyoming on Nov. 30.
The Bulldogs, under second-year head coach Tim DeRuyter, are playing for their second straight Mountain West title. DeRuyter has posted a 19-5 record in his two seasons at Fresno State. The Aggies are under the guidance of first year head coach Matt Wells and are in their first season in the Mountain West. Utah State earned its first league crown since 1936 last season with a 6-0 mark in Western Athletic Conference play.
The 2013 MW Football Championship Game will feature the Mountain West’s top-ranked offense against the league’s best defense. Fresno State leads the Mountain West in scoring offense (47.3 points per game) and total offense (580.6 yards per game), while Utah State is the Conference leader in scoring defense (16.8 points per game) and total defense (321.4 yards per game).
Fresno State and Utah State did not play during the 2013 regular season. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series with the Aggies 16-10-1. Fresno State has won five in a row versus Utah State, including a 31-21 victory on Oct. 15, 2011 in Fresno.
PAC-12 FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: The Arizona State Sun Devils (10-2 overall, 8-1 in the South) will host the Stanford Cardinal (10-2 overall, 7-2 in the Pac-12 North) on Saturday, December 7, in the third annual Pac-12 Football Championship Game for the right to represent the Pac-12 Conference in the 100th anniversary of the Rose Bowl Game.
Arizona State secured the home field as host of the Championship Game with its win over Arizona tonight, finishing with the best conference record.
Stanford completed the regular season tied for first with Oregon in the Pac-12 North Division. Based on it’s 26-20 victory over Oregon earlier this season, the Cardinal own the head-to-head tiebreaker and have earned their second straight trip the Pac-12 Football Championship Game.
The Pac-12 Championship Game will be televised by ESPN at 4:45 p.m. PT/5:45 p.m. MT.
WEEK 14 RECAP: The regular season ended in dramatic fashion for both the Mountain West and Pac-12. For the MW, it started with San Jose State upsetting 16th-ranked Fresno State, giving the Bulldogs their first loss of the season and ending their chances of earning an at-large bid to a BCS bowl game.Utah State earned a bid to the conference championship game with a large win over Wyoming that kept the Cowboys from becoming bowl eligible. Colorado State crushed the Air Force Falcons for it’s seventh win of the season, which put the Rams in the running for a bowl bid.
The Pac-12 had amazing rivalry games in the final week, beginning with the Apple Cup and Civil War on Friday. No. 13 Oregon rallied at the end of the game to squeeze past Oregon State, 36-35. On Saturday, 12th-ranked Arizona State topped Arizona to claim the hosting duties for this week’s Pac-12 Championship. Complete results from week 14 are:
11/29 San Jose State def. #16 Fresno State, 62-52 / 23,574
Washington def. Washington State, 27-17 / 71,753
#13 Oregon def. Oregon State, 36-35 / 58,330
11/30 Utah State def. Wyoming, 35-7 / 21,325
Colorado State def. Air Force, 58-13 / 15,546
Utah def. Colorado, 24-17 / 45,023
BYU def. Nevada, 28-23 / 21,540
#8 Stanford def. Notre Dame, 27-20 / 50,537
#22 UCLA def. #23 USC, 35-14 / 86,037
#12 Arizona State def. Arizona, 58-21 / 72,542
Boise State def. New Mexico, 45-17 / 31,645
UNLV def. San Diego State, 45-19 / 15,884
Hawai`i def. Army, 49-42 / 32,690
BOWL PREDICTIONS: The bowl season kicks off here in Albuquerque and we are just days away from finding out the entire bowl season lineup. The national writers have their predictions narrowed down and this week the majority think San Diego State will represent the Mountain West as the home team in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. For the second straight week, Arizona gets the lion’s share of the nods as the Pac-12. Here is the breakdown of what has been selected for the 2013 bowl game:
Athlon Sports: Oregon State (Pac-12) vs. Colorado State (MW)
Bleacher Report: Washington State (Pac-12) vs. San Diego State (MW)
CBS Sports: Arizona (Pac-12) vs. San Diego State (MW)
CFN.Scout.com: Arizona (Pac-12) vs. Colorado State (MW)
ESPN (Mark Schlabach’s pick): Arizona (Pac-12) vs. San Jose State (MW)
ESPN (Brad Edwards’ pick): Arizona (Pac-12) vs. Colorado State (MW)
ESPN (Ted Miller’s pick): Washington State vs. MW
National Football Post: Arizona (Pac-12) vs. San Jose State (MW)
Phil Steele: Arizona (Pac-12) vs. San Diego State (MW)
SB Nation: Arizona (Pac-12) vs. San Diego State (MW)
Sports Illustrated: Washington State (Pac-12) vs. Boise State (MW)
WHO’S GOING BOWLING: There are only a few teams (3) left that are still fighting for bowl eligibility as 77 are already qualified while 46 have already been eliminated. Four teams have accepted bowl bids: BYU (Fight Hunger Bowl), Navy (Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl) and Louisiana-Lafayette and Tulane (R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl). Three bowl spots, one in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, one in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, and one in the Little Caesars Bowl, have already been vacated. Up to three more spots could become open this weekend since the American Conference currently has four eligible teams for its seven commitments and just two teams left fighting for eligibility. For the Mountain West, which has six bowl commitments for its’ 12 members, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, San Diego State, San Jose State, UNLV and Utah State are eligible for bowl games. The Pac-12, which has seven bowl tie-ins for its’ 12 members, has nine bowl-eligible teams in Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington and Washington State.
NATIONAL RANKINGS: The latest BCS rankings were announced Sunday evening and the Pac-12 has four teams ranked among the top 25. Stanford and Arizona State moved up one spot to No. 7 and No. 11, respectively. Oregon slid to No. 12 while UCLA came in at No. 18. For the MW, Fresno State slipped to No. 23 following its upset at San Jose State.
The Associated Press and USA Today/Coaches’ top-25 polls were also released Sunday and the same four Pac-12 teams are ranked in both polls. Stanford is No. 7 in the AP poll and No. 10 in the coaches poll while Arizona State is No. 11 in the AP and 13th in the coaches’ rankings. Oregon ranks 12th in both, UCLA places No. 17 and 19, respectively. USC fell out of both polls but it still receiving votes, as is Washington.
For the Mountain West, Fresno State is still ranked, coming in at No. 24 and 22, respectively.
TALE OF THE TURNSTILES: The heads have been counted and during week 14 the Pac-12 brought in just shy of 384,000 over six games while the Mountain West drew over 162,000 in seven games. The largest crowd for the Pac-12 was the 86,037 that witnessed the cross-town rivalry of 22nd-ranked UCLA and No. 23 USC. For the MW, Hawai`i had the largest crowd (32,690), which saw the team’s first win of the season as the Warriors topped Army. A complete breakdown of each team’s attendance figures is available in the attached PDF.