Boise State avoided heartbreak from cold, unfeeling BCS computers, opting instead for heartbreak from fate. So that's a silver lining I guess. The Broncos' loss did throw quite the wrench into bowl plans, but at least BSU will have some interesting options when it comes time for bowl picking.
Bowl predictions follow after the jump.
Boise State bowl possibilities, listed in order of likelihood and not necessarily personal enjoyment
If you look back at last week's bowl predictions post, you will see that I was wrong about pretty much everything. But seriously, don't look back at it. It's rather depressing.
Today's most likely possibility was one of last week's least likely possibilities. Fortunately, there is only one week left for me to get things wrong.
Let the incorrect (probably) bowl picks begin!
Most likely: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl
If BCS bowls were out of the question, this game has always been the Broncos' No. 1 most likely landing spot. Thanks to its contract with the WAC, the Kraft Bowl gets first choice of available WAC teams - a list that now includes every bowl-eligible WAC team. Why wouldn't you pick Boise State?
Here's one reason why, according to the Idaho Statesman:
One key for Boise State will be how enthusiastic the team and its fans are about the trip to San Francisco. If Cavalli senses disappointment, that might push him toward Nevada. The Broncos' primary issue may be the date, which would eat up much of their holiday break.
"Hopefully ... they understand that coming to San Francisco isn't the worst thing in the world," Cavalli said.
I've been to San Francisco, and apart from a street performer grinding on me and a guy shining my shoes while I wasn't looking, it is indeed not the worst thing in the world.
The Kraft Bowl is supposed to pit the Pac-10's sixth team against a WAC team, but the Pac-10 will not have enough teams to fill all of its bowls. The Kraft Bowl thought this likely and made backup plans with the ACC for its ninth bowl-eligible team.
Here are your possibilities:
Note: Notre Dame is no longer listed as a possibility because, at 7-5, they are expected to go to the Champs Sports Bowl.
Note: A fun fact about the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: The game is played on Sunday, January 9, the day before the national championship game. By contrast, the Humanitarian Bowl is played on Saturday, December 18, the first day of bowl games.
Second-most likely: Humanitarian Bowl
The Kraft Bowl could choose Nevada over Boise State, for reasons that no man can fully comprehend.
But if it happens, at least Boise State would be home for bowl season, albeit playing the MAC. The Human Bowl takes the MAC's No. 3 team, which is likely to be either Toledo (who wouldn't dare rematch with BSU) or Ohio. ESPN includes Temple in its Human Bowl projections, so I guess the Owls are out there, too.
Third-most likely: Las Vegas Bowl
The Pac-10 is really having a rough go of filling bowl slots this year. It is likely to leave the Las Vegas bowl vacant as well, which could make way for Karl Benson to swing a deal to fit a WAC team in its place. Give Benson an inch and he'll take a mediocre bowl assignment every time.
The Mountain West participant in the Vegas Bowl will almost certainly be Utah.
Thoughts are that Boise State or Nevada could wind up going here. The Broncos vs. the Utes would be a much-anticipated matchup, especially since Utah doesn't really want to play Boise State any more. But even more tempting might be to keep Nevada in-state for its bowl game. We'll see.
Fourth-most likely: BCS bowl
At No. 11 in the BCS standings, the Broncos are technically still eligible to be chosen as an at-large team by the BCS. Here are the likely BCS bowl pairings as they stand today:
- Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. TCU
- Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma-Nebraska vs. UCONN-West Virginia
- Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech-Florida St. vs. Stanford
- Sugar Bowl: Arkansas vs. Ohio State
The Broncos' at-large hopes would hinge on a bowl (likely the Sugar) taking BSU over another at-large school like Arkansas or Ohio State. As such, you could see:
Least likely: New Mexico Bowl
The New Mexico Bowl has a WAC tie-in also, but for the Broncos to land here, it would take both the Kraft and Human Bowls saying no to Boise State. In the words of Brian Fellows, "That's crazy!"
The WAC plays the Mountain West in this one.
Let's have a playoff!
A college football playoff makes the most sense, which is probably why it will never happen. Still, it's fun to speculate. My preferential playoff is 16 teams, 11 conference champions, five at-larges, seeds from the AP.
As far as WAC tiebreakers go, there isn't one. So I'm going to make a couple of them up.
BCS ranking. Many conferences use BCS ranking as a tiebreaker at some point in the process. If this one were the determining factor, Boise State would be champion ahead of Nevada and Hawaii.
- Overall record. For overall record (which is kind of hard to do anyway since some teams play 13 games), Hawaii would be out of luck since it cannot match the one-loss records of Boise State and Nevada. With Hawaii out of the picture, you can then use the head-to-head tiebreaker, giving Nevada the WAC championship.
I'm going to use the BCS ranking because that's the one that makes the Broncos champions and because I'm a homer.
- No. 1 Oregon vs. No. 16 Florida International
- No. 8 Arkansas vs. No. 9 Boise State
- No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 13 Northern Illinois
- No. 5 Stanford vs. No. 12 Virginia Tech
- No. 2 Auburn vs. No. 15 Central Florida
- No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. 10 Oklahoma
- No. 3 TCU vs. No. 14 UCONN
- No. 6 Ohio State vs. No. 11 LSU
Which bowl game would you prefer: Humanitarian Bowl or Kraft Fight Huger Bowl?
Kraft Bowl executive director Gary Cavalli made things pretty clear: the Kraft Bowl only wants Boise State if Boise State wants the Kraft Bowl. That goes for players, coaches, and especially Bronco Nation, who would be traveling and ticket-buying and blogging. There are advantages and disadvantages for each game. Here are three that I'm thinking about:
Opponent: ACC team (Kraft) vs. MAC team (Human). Advantage: Kraft.
Date: January 9 (Kraft) vs. December 18 (Human). Advantage: Kraft. I do not want the offseason to be any longer than it already is.
- Location: San Francisco (Kraft) vs. Boise (Human). Advantage: Push.