Updated: Breaking Down the Good, the Bad and the What Ifs of Wyoming's Bowl Hopes

Tracy Ringolsby

Wyoming, one of four six-win teams left at home by the bowls a year ago, claimed its seventh victory of the season on Friday against Colorado State. The Cowboys, however, are not guaranteed a bowl bid. They could end any hoping and waiting, however, with a victory at Air Force on Saturday, which would ensure the Cowboys one of the Mountain West Conference's five guaranteed bowl slots.

Otherwise, they would be filling in bowls without an alignment to the Mountain West, and under revised rules a team with seven wins does not necessarily have an edge over a team with six wins in that case.

In other words, if the stars don't align properly, even with seven wins, the Cowboys could be jilted at the alter by the bowl games.

With an assist from information supplied by the Mountain West Conference and Wyoming diehard Doug Friesen, scenarios to consider as the Cowboys get ready to play Air Force.

-- The loser of the MW Football Championship Game that features Hawaii at Boise State, receives bowl consideration over the remaining MW bowl-eligible teams.

-- Regular-season conference records are determining factors, not overall season records.

-- Head-to-head results are deciding factors.

-- Results against common opponent -- both conference and non-conference -- then enter the equation.

-- Bowls may select a team of their choices as long as the team that would be placed in that bowl is placed in another bowl.

-- There is no longer an NCAA requirement that 7 or more wins takes precedence over 6 win teams. Once a team is eligible and all conference contractual obligations are met for placement of teams, TELEVISION selects the matchups they want for the remaining openings.

-- Boise State currently sits third among the non-Power 5 schools for a spot in the group's spot in the NY6 Cotton Bowl game as part of the national championship -- behind AAC members Memphis and Cincinnati. 

-- If Cincinnati wins this weekend's game against Memphis, and Navy beats Houston, Navy would play Cincinnati in the AAC title game, that most likely would put Boise in the NY6 -- if Boise takes care of business, beating Colorado State in the regular-season finale Friday and then Hawaii in the MW Title game. That would mean the MW sixth team would receive a bid to one of the five bowls with a deal for a MW team.

--If Memphis wins this weekend, putting Memphis and Cincinnati in the AAC title game, and Cincinnati wins the title game the key for Boise going to be if the CFP voters put Boise ahead of Memphis and Cincinnati in the final poll.

-- If Hawaii loses to Boise State it becomes the MW No. 2 team regardless of where its record sits among the other MW bowl-eligible teams.

-- Air Force goes into Saturday's game against the Cowboys with 6 MW victories, and Utah State has five wins going into Saturday's game at New Mexico, if it wins a sixth it would be ahead of the Cowboys.

If Wyoming, Nevada, San Diego State and Utah State all finish with five conference wins:

-- Utah State beat Wyoming, Nevada and San Diego State and would be considered the fourth-place MW post-season behind Boise State, Hawaii and San Diego State.

-- Wyoming, if it beats Air Force and having beaten Nevada, would be the 5th-place team and have the fifth MW guaranteed bowl berth.

-- Nevada by beating San Diego State would be considered 6th place.

-- If San Diego State lost to Nevada and beat Wyoming, but Wyoming has beaten a higher finishing team in Nevada, which would make San Diego State No. 7.

--If Nevada, which plays UNLV on Saturday, and Wyoming both lose Saturday, Wyoming would finished sixth for having beaten the higher ranked team, Nevada, and San Diego State would be No. 7.

  • Contractual Contingencies

-- The MW is assured five bowl spots -- the Vegas Bowl, Potato Bowl, Arizona Bowl, the New Mexico Bowl and the Hawaii Bowl.

-- The MW is involved in a contingency for three bowls if one of the primary conferences cannot provide a team:

-- The Frisco Bowl (along with C-USA and The Mac). The bowl would chose the team that ESPN wants from among the three conferences.

-- The Cheez-It Bowl (the MW is the primary backup). Both of the primary conferences, the Big 12 and Pac-12 could not have a qualifying team available.

--And the Redbox (the MW is the primary backup). Both of the primary conerecnes, the Big 10 and Pac-12, could come not have a qualifying team available.

  • Best Case, Worst Case & One More

The Best: Wyoming beats Air Force and is selected for an MW bowl or alternative.

The Worst: Wyoming looses to Air Force, Nevada wins against UNLV, and the Cowboys are left out.

The Break: Wyoming loses to Air Force, but the MW is asked to fill two slots for bowls for which the MW is a contingency.

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