The Boise State football team is ranked No. 22 in the season’s first College Football Playoff standings, which were released Tuesday night.
With two American Athletic Conference teams ranked just ahead of them, the Broncos (7-1, 4-0 MW) likely will have to win out, including in the Mountain West Conference championship game, to have a shot at a New Year’s Six bowl.
The highest-ranked Group of Five conference champion will go to the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 28 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (10 a.m., ESPN).
The Broncos’ top competition is No. 20 Cincinnati (7-1, 4-0 AAC) and No. 21 Memphis (8-1, 4-1 AAC). But the American also has No. 24 Navy (7-1, 5-1) and No. 25 SMU (8-1, 4-1) in the running, too.
A 30-28 setback against Temple is Memphis’ only loss of the season, but the Tigers own a 35-23 win over Navy and a 54-48 win against SMU. Navy and SMU are in the AAC’s West Division with Memphis, and wins over both give the Tigers a leg up in the race for a spot in the championship game.
Memphis is on the road against Houston and USF before wrapping up the regular season at home against Cincinnati.
Cincinnati’s lone loss was a 42-0 shutout against Ohio State, which is ranked No. 1 in the CFP. The Bearcats have since beaten Marshall, Houston and Tulsa and posted a 27-24 win over UCF. Last weekend, Cincinnati needed a field goal at the end of regulation to beat East Carolina 46-43.