Late-night snack: Boise St has big bowl in sight
The College Football Playoff selection committee will need to stay up late Saturday night.
The Broncos (10-2) are 22nd in the latest playoff rankings, the only team outside the Big Five conferences, putting them in position to earn a guaranteed bid to the New Year's Day bowls associated with the playoff.
The selection committee must pick the best champion from the so-called Group of Five conferences, which also includes the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, Sun Belt and Mid-American Conference.
If Fresno State (6-6) pulls the upset, the committee is going to have to find another team.
American Commissioner Mike Aresco is not shy about touting his conference, particularly Memphis (9-3).
The Tigers have already earned at least a share of the conference title in an impressive turnaround season. Cincinnati (8-3) and UCF (8-3) also can earn a share of the conference crown this weekend. Memphis beat Cincinnati but didn't play UCF.
All three played at least two nonconference games against teams from the Big Five. UCF also played BYU. Boise State played one against the Big Five (Mississippi) and BYU. The Sagarin ratings have the Mountain West's Mountain division, which includes Boise State, Utah State and Colorado State, rated significantly ahead of the American. The computer rating also gives Boise State a big edge in strength of schedule against Memphis.
Aresco sees it differently.
''What troubles me is I think unfortunately right now we're almost paying the price for playing such really tough schedules, which we've all been asked to do,'' Aresco said.
Memphis lost 42-35 at No. 16 UCLA, and lost 24-3 at No. 13 Mississippi in a game that was 7-3 in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers might want to stay up late, too.
Ducks QB Marcus Mariota can just about wrap up the Heisman with one more big game; Winner goes to the playoff? Maybe ... OREGON 42-28.
Fifth straight MAC title game appearance for Huskies. They are 2-2 in previous four ... NORTHERN ILLINOIS 30-21.
Tigers upset could leave SEC out of first College Football Playoff ... ALABAMA 31-14.
Seminoles won't drop with another win, but winning won't be easy; then again, it never is for `Noles ... FLORIDA STATE 28-27.
Horned Frogs have easiest weekend of playoff contenders, though a close call against lowly Cyclones could be costly ... TCU 58-14.
Baylor QB Bryce Petty (concussion) says he's ready to roll; Coach Bill Snyder's Wildcats can bail out the selection committee with a victory ... KANSAS STATE 35-24.
Buckeyes try to make one last statement with a backup quarterback ... OHIO STATE 31-28.
Bedlam is pretty boring this season outside of Oklahoma ... OKLAHOMA 35-21.
Fresno State (plus 20) at No. 22 Boise State, Mountain West championship.
Bulldogs have won two straight MW championships ... BOISE STATE 45-17.
Thundering Herd hoping Boise State loss sends them to New Year's bowl ... MARSHALL 56-42.
Last week: Record straight: 17-8; vs. points 11-13.
Season: Record straight: 194-64; vs. points 116-135-2.
Best bet: 6-8.
Upset special: 5-10.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP