With the college football season winding down, the bowl landscape is taking shape and with only a few weeks left in the season it is now time to start looking at where Air Force, and the rest of the Mountain West will go bowling.
First off, here the Mountain West has five bowl tie-ins which include the following in order of the selection process: Las Vegas Bowl, Poinsettia Bowl, Independence Bowl, Armed Forces Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl.
Right now the Mountain West has four teams who are bowl eligible: TCU, Utah, Air Force and San Diego State. BYU is 4-5 and has a chance to become if they win two of their last three games, which they should. The way TCU is playing they should be heading to a BCS bowl game thus leaving the Mountain West with one and possibly two open bowl slots if BYU does not get to six wins.
Now onto the projections:
TCU ends up here due to them being the top non-AQ schools so they get a BCS bid, and because of the provision that has the Rose Bowl take a non-AQ school the first time when a Pac-10 or Big 10 champion is in the BCS title game.
Las Vegas Bowl
Utah Utes vs. Boise State Broncos
The Las Vegas Bowl is slotted to take the fifth Pac-10 team, but as of right now Oregon State is 4-4 with games against USC, Washington State, at Stanford and then hosting Oregon, so getting to six wins will be tough. The other candidate is Arizona State who is 4-5 with games left against Stanford, UCLA and at Arizona. They also seem unlikely to become bowl eligible. There is talk about Texas A&M, Texas Tech or Ohio going to this game, but Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson should do his best to lure Boise State to this game if they get left out of the BCS.
San Diego State Aztecs vs. Navy Midshipmen
This is an easy move for the Poinsettia Bowl since they are based out of San Diego, and that the Aztecs are the home team and have not been to a bowl game since 1998. Plus, San Diego is a Navy town, so this bowl game should be a large crowd.
This is a new bowl for the Mountain West and the matchup is against the seventh ACC team. Boston College still needs to win two games to make a bowl appearance which they should. The three games left on the schedule are against at Virginia, Duke and at Syracuse. The other choice could be Georgia Tech which would make for a game that could see a combined 10 passes between Air Force and Georgia Tech.
New Mexico Bowl
BYU Cougars vs. Fresno State Bulldogs
The reason for the New Mexico Bowl taking BYU instead of having them going to the Armed Forces Bowl is because Army has a tie in with the Armed Forces Bowl and then since bowl games revolve around money and selling tickets the other choice will most likely be Southern Miss from C-USA since that league also has a tie-in to the Armed Forces Bowl. This game will be a precursor to the 2011 season since the two schools are playing against each other in the agreement that has BYU playing a WAC heavy schedule in their first two years of independence.