Boise State remains the second-highest ranked Group of Five team in the College Football Playoff, moving up two spots Tuesday.
The Broncos are No. 22 in the CFP rankings after standing at 24th in the first rankings, which were released last week. Just as was the case then, Western Michigan is one spot ahead of Boise State, at No. 21. Those Broncos, from the MAC, should they win their conference and wind up the top-ranked team from the MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt, American and Conference USA, will earn a Cotton Bowl berth. Boise State and Western Michigan are the only ranked Group of Five teams.
For Boise State to have a shot at the Cotton Bowl, it will need to win the Mountain West first, and the Broncos need some help. Two losses by Wyoming and Boise State winning out would earn them the Mountain Division and a matchup with San Diego State in the conference championship game.
Should Boise State wind up in a three-way tie with Wyoming and New Mexico atop the Mountain Division, the determining criteria will be CFP ranking, which would likely give the Broncos the berth into the championship. If the rankings remain similar, and Boise State reaches the Mountain West title game and beat San Diego State, which would possibly be 11-1, it could vault the Broncos into that top Group of Five spot.
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Here’s the CFP’s top 25:
5. Ohio State
8. Texas A&M
10. Penn State
13. Oklahoma State
14. Virginia Tech
16. West Virginia
17. North Carolina
18. Florida State
21. Western Michigan
22. Boise State
23. Washington State
Western Michigan (9-0) is playing Kent State tonight. The Broncos’ remaining games are against the Golden Flashes (3-6), Buffalo (2-7) and Toledo (7-2). They also will likely be in the MAC championship against Ohio (7-3).
Even with the last two games being against teams with winning records, should Boise State win out, it would likely be able to jump Western Michigan. That’s assuming the Broncos win their division, and beat San Diego State, which has outscored Mountain West teams 180-26. Boise State still must face Hawaii (4-6), UNLV (3-6) and Air Force (6-3).
Wyoming plays at Utah State (3-6) on Saturday, then faces San Diego State (8-1) and New Mexico (6-3) to close out the regular season.
Here are where some bowl projections place Boise State.
ESPN: Hawaii (vs. Western Kentucky); Cactus (vs. Texas)
Fox Sports: Las Vegas (vs. Arizona State)
CBS Sports: Las Vegas (vs. Arizona State)
Sports Illustrated: Las Vegas (vs. Arizona State)
Sporting News: Hawaii (vs. Old Dominion)
Redshirt freshman cornerback Ladarryl Blair has left the team, Boise State confirmed Tuesday night. Blair, from South Oak Cliff High in Dallas, did not play this season.
The Broncos have five cornerbacks that have played this season: seniors Jonathan Moxey and Raymond Ford, sophomore Tyler Horton and true freshmen DeAndre Pierce and Reid Harrison-Ducros.
Boise State coaches held their weekly news conference Tuesday. A few quick highlights:
Coach Bryan Harsin
-On Hawaii: “It’s a physical football team ... make sure come Saturday we’re ready to play our best brand of football we’ve played all season.”
-On safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner: “It’s been a process. It’s so much more than the games each and every week. We want our guys to be successful while they’re here. ... He’s done what he’s been asked to do, worked himself into a position (to start).”
-The Broncos’ internal players of the week were wide receiver Cedrick Wilson (offense), Sumner-Gardner (defense), guard Travis Averill (offensive line), defensive end Sam McCaskill (defensive line) and of course, punter Sean Wale (special teams). I wrote a blog about Wale’s fake punt run here.
Co-offensive coordinator Zak Hill
-On returning to Hawaii, where he worked for about seven weeks before being hired by Boise State in January: “It’s an interesting situation, going back there will be different. I’m sure on the field, being able to see those guys and say hi before the game will be good. I’ve kept in touch with a lot of those guys over there, still remain friends with coach Rolovich.”
Defensive coordinator Andy Avalos
-On Hawaii’s offense: “The mentality which they’re playing with is good, they’re doing a good job with the culture of that team, building it the way they want it. Their run game, they’re physical up front, big O-line as they usually have. It always start with that. We’ve got to do a better job in the front seven than we have.”
Check out video interviews with Harsin, Hill and Avalos above.