The Boise State football team made its first appearance in the College Football Playoff Top 25 on Tuesday — signaling that the Broncos likely are two wins away from a New Year’s Six bowl appearance.
The Broncos (9-2) joined the rankings at No. 23. They are one spot ahead of Marshall (11-0).
The highest-ranked champion of a Group of Five conference is guaranteed a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl, the replacement for the old Bowl Championship Series. Boise State likely would play in the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 31 if it qualifies.
To win the Mountain West, the Broncos must beat Utah State (9-3) on Saturday night at Albertsons Stadium and the West Division champion on Dec. 6 at Albertsons Stadium. The West Division champion likely will be a 6-6 Fresno State or 7-5 San Diego State.
Boise State has won 12 straight home games and lost three times on the blue turf in the past 13 seasons.
The Thundering Herd play 6-5 Western Kentucky on Friday. They will play Louisiana Tech (7-4) or Rice (7-4) in the Conference USA championship game.
Boise State is ranked ahead of Marshall because its strength of schedule.
“Boise State, we feel like their strength of schedule is just far and away more than Marshall's,” selection committee chairman Jeff Long said. “They've got a number of teams that they have beat with .500 records or above, and Marshall has two wins over teams that are .500 and above. Those are some of the factors we went into of why Boise is ranked ahead of Marshall in our poll.”
The Broncos lost to Ole Miss (8-3) and Air Force (8-3). They have beaten Louisiana (7-4), BYU (7-4), Colorado State (10-1), San Diego State (6-5) and Nevada (6-5).
Marshall has beaten Middle Tennessee (6-5) and Rice (7-4).
Full CFP Top 25:
1. Alabama 10-1
2. Oregon 10-1
3. Florida St. 11-0
4. Mississippi St. 10-1
5. TCU 9-1
6. Ohio St. 10-1
7. Baylor 9-1
8. UCLA 9-2
9. Georgia 9-2
10. Michigan St. 9-2
11. Arizona 9-2
12. Kansas St. 8-2
13. Arizona St. 9-2
14. Wisconsin 9-2
15. Auburn 8-3
16. Georgia Tech 9-2
17. Missouri 9-2
18. Minnesota 8-3
19. Mississippi 8-3
20. Oklahoma 8-3
21. Clemson 8-3
22. Louisville 8-3
23. Boise St. 9-2
24. Marshall 11-0
25. Utah 7-4
The College Football Playoff Selection Committee will issue weekly rankings each Tuesday, with the final rankings being announced Sunday, Dec. 7. The playoff semifinals will match the No. 1 seed vs. the No. 4 seed, and No. 2 will face No. 3. The semifinals will be hosted at the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 2015. The championship game will be on Jan. 12, 2015 at Arlington, Texas.
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