Bronco Beat

Group of Five qualifier likely would go to Peach Bowl this year

If the Boise State football team reaches a New Year’s Six bowl game this year, the Broncos likely will land in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 31 in Atlanta.

The CFP has openings for the Group of Five conferences’ automatic qualifier in the Peach and Fiesta (Jan. 1 in Glendale, Ariz.).

But the selection committee has been asked to avoid repeat visits to bowls by teams or conferences. Boise State won the Fiesta Bowl for the third time last year.

“All things being equal, we wouldn’t put Boise State back in the Fiesta Bowl,” CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock said Wednesday at Mountain West media days.

The six-game CFP features semifinals Dec. 31 in the Orange and Cotton bowls. The Sugar (Big 12 vs. SEC) and Rose (Big Ten vs. Pac-12) have conference contracts. That leaves the Fiesta and Peach to handle the Group of Five qualifier (highest-ranked champion), possibly the ACC champion (if that team doesn’t make the semifinals) and at-large teams.

Boise State is considered one of the top Group of Five candidates for a New Year’s Six bowl again this year. Hancock said it’s “absolutely possible” for a Mountain West team to reach the semifinals, although some coaches have expressed skepticism.

Boise State coach Bryan Harsin says the Broncos could get to the final four with an undefeated record.

“If you’re not in it, something really special has happened for the other four that are,” Harsin said. “There’s a lot of good teams out there, so that might be the case. That’s the whole goal, right – to win all your games and put yourself in that situation? Why wouldn’t it be? I think every team – I don’t give a crap what conference you’re from – every team that wins every game should believe they have a chance to play for it all.”

Said safety Darian Thompson: “We can only control what we can control. If we win all of our games and they still don’t pick us, then what can we do? We have the potential to do so, the drive to do so. ... Actually getting the chance would be great.”

Also of note: Hancock said the selection committee will stick to its policy of only announcing a top 25 and not identifying the highest-ranked Group of Five team if it’s not ranked.

Mountain West bowl tie-ins for 2015:

1. Las Vegas (Dec. 19) vs. Pac-12

Note: Could go to BYU and be replaced by the Armed Forces Bowl (vs. Big Ten).

2. Cactus (Jan. 2) vs. Pac-12/Big 12

Note: The Mountain West is the primary backup to both conferences. This isn’t a guaranteed spot.

3-6. Poinsettia (Dec. 23) vs. Army/MAC, Famous Idaho Potato (Dec. 22) vs. MAC, Hawaii (Dec. 24) vs. American and New Mexico (Dec. 19) vs. C-USA.

Note: These four games share priority. If BYU is bowl-eligible and doesn’t go to Las Vegas, it would go to Hawaii. Again, the Armed Forces Bowl (vs. Big Ten) would be the replacement.

7. Arizona.

Note: The new game hasn’t been finalized and might get pushed to next year. It would be held in Tucson, Ariz. The opponent would come from C-USA.

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