WHAT TO WATCH FOR THIS WEEK: For the second straight week, former Mountain West member BYU returns to play an old rival, this time meeting UNLV on ESPN2 Friday night. The Rebels haven’t hosted the Cougars since 2009 and last met in 2014 in Provo, where BYU picked up its seventh consecutive win in the series. On Saturday, New Mexico is also playing a nonconference game, visiting Texas A&M in a must-win situation for the Lobos. UNM, 0-3 all-time vs. the Aggies, last visited College Station in 2009, concluding an home-and-home series that began in Albuquerque in 2008.
In Mountain West action, four games are slated for Saturday including three in the late night timeslot. Air Force hosts Wyoming as it looks to avenge the nine point loss suffered in Laramie last year. A win would also strengthen the Falcons chances of making the postseason, currently boasting four wins with three tough division matchups remaining. Boise State hopes to extend its five-game win streak, traveling to Colorado State. The Broncos have not lost to the Rams in six tries but it will be the first game played in CSU’s new on-campus stadium, which has been incredibly tough on opponents. The evening concludes with Hawai`i taking on division-leader Fresno State in Honolulu. It’s a must-win game for the Rainbow Warriors or else they will be eliminated from bowl consideration. The Bulldogs are in the drivers’ seat to represent the West Division in the Mountain West Championship Game. They hold a one-game lead on San Diego State with three league games remaining and own the tie-breaker against the Aztecs, having defeated the SDSU earlier this season.
Seven Conference USA games are on tap Saturday, starting off with Middle Tennessee at Charlotte. The Blue Raiders are 2-0 against the 49ers and need the win to put them one victory away from becoming bowl eligible. Florida Atlantic, riding a five-game win streak and is unbeaten is league play, heads to Louisiana Tech for the first meeting in the series. The Bulldogs, also with four wins, need win with just three games remaining. North Texas has the opportunity to clinch the West Division and earn a spot in the Conference USA Championship, just needing a victory as it hosts the winless UTEP Miners. Please check out the complete schedule with series notes and viewing information on page 1 of the PDF linked above.
POSTSEASON OUTLOOK: The first of 78 bowl bids has been officially claimed. Army earned its sixth win in Week 8, solidifying its automatic spot in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. There are 49 other teams around the FBS who are now bowl-eligible. Every conference has at least one team eligible. The Big Ten and SEC lead the way with seven ready for the postseason. Two teams, Ole Miss because of a self-imposed penalty, and Coastal Carolina because its transitioning to the FBS, are ineligible for the postseason. Ony 19 others have been eliminated from postseason play, leaving 59 still in the running.
The Mountain West and Conference USA each have five members that are among the group waiting for an invitation. San Diego State, Colorado State, Boise State, Wyoming and Fresno State are eligible to fill the five bowl commitments the league has in tact. Conference USA has six bowl tie-ins which Marshall, Florida Atlantic, FIU, North Texas and UAB wait to fill. The MW’s Utah State is just one win away from joining the party, as are C-USA’s WKU, Southern Miss and UTSA. From our partner conferences, C-USA’s Old Dominion and the MW’s Hawai`i and New Mexico, all 3-6 overall, are on the cusp of elimination and must win out the remainder of its games. C-USA’s Charlotte, Rice and UTEP have already been eliminated, as have the MW’s Nevada and San Jose State.
POSTSEASON PROJECTIONS: Several national collegiate football analysts do their best to piece together a prediction for how the bowl lineup will turn out. The projections for the 2017 Gildan New Mexico Bowl vary with five different Conference USA schools and four Mountain West programs getting nods. San Diego State leads the way as the Mountain West representative with six nods while Colorado State (3), Fresno State (2), and Wyoming (1) also garner votes. For Conference USA, four are predicting the North Texas Mean Green will be making their first appearance in the Albuquerque-based bowl while WKU earned three picks and UTSA and FAU received two bids apiece.
DOUBLE THE FUN: Ski New Mexico, in association with the New Mexico Tourism Department, has partnered with the Gildan New Mexico Bowl to provide ticketholders an extraordinary opportunity to enjoy two New Mexico True experiences. From December 17-24, 2017, one bowl game ticket can be redeemed for a free lift ticket. This offer is valid at one of Ski New Mexico’s eight great ski areas: Ski Apache, Taos Ski Valley, Ski Santa Fe, Pajarito Mountain, Red River Ski Area, Angel Fire Resort, Sipapu Ski Resort, and Sandia Peak. The Gildan New Mexico Bowl ticket must be presented in person at the ski area ticket office for redemption and must be used the same day as redeemed. Limit is one per person and there is no cash value or refund.
Gildan New Mexico Bowl tickets are on sale now at the UNM Ticket office, located in the Northeast corner of Dreamstyle Arena, online at www.unmtickets.com or www.gildannewmexicobowl.com or by phone at the UNM ticket office (925-5626) or the Gildan New Mexico Bowl office (925-5999). Discount codes ($5 off $25 North End Zone general admission or $10 off $40 premium bowl tickets) are also currently available on New Mexico Lottery Powerball®, Mega Millions® and Mega Millions® Just the Jackpot™ tickets through Friday, December 8.
ANNUAL THREE-DAY TICKET SALE NEXT WEEK: The Gildan New Mexico Bowl is running a three-day ticket sale Wednesday, Nov. 15 through Friday, Nov. 17, offering fans discounted tickets and a chance to win a VIP experience. Tickets eligible for the $5 off promotion include the South End Zone Field Suite tickets, which normally retail for $75 and include a meal and beverage. Lower Bowl tickets (normally $40) and North End Zone General Admission tickets (normally $25) are also included in the three-day sale. Each order during this sale will automatically be entered into a drawing for VIP prizes. The grand prize is a VIP parking pass, four passes to the ESPN VIP Tailgate Party, four tickets in the End Zone Club and one VIP Bowl gift package. Second prize is a VIP parking pass, two passes to the ESPN VIP Tailgate Party and two tickets in the End Zone Club. Third prize is a VIP parking pass and two tickets to the ESPN VIP tailgate party. The offer is valid at the UNM Ticket office, located in the Northeast corner of Dreamstyle Arena, online at www.gildannewmexicobowl.com or unmtickets.com, or by phone at the UNM ticket office (925-5626) or the Gildan New Mexico Bowl office (925-5999).