Bronco Beat

Boise State football likely to face Northern Illinois in Poinsettia Bowl

Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin during the Nov. 27 game against San Jose State in San Jose, Calif.
Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin during the Nov. 27 game against San Jose State in San Jose, Calif. The Associated Press

The Boise State football team likely will receive an invitation from the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego on Sunday afternoon. The game is Dec. 23.

The opponent likely will come from the Mid-American Conference, with runner-up Northern Illinois (8-5) emerging as the top candidate Saturday. MAC champion Bowling Green will play in the GoDaddy Bowl, according to media reports, and Toledo (9-2) appears headed to the Boca Raton Bowl for a potential matchup with American runner-up Temple.

Most bowl invitations are on hold until after the New Year’s Six field is set around 1 p.m. Sunday.

San Diego State beat Air Force on Saturday night to win the Mountain West.

The Poinsettia Bowl can pay for the right to the No. 1 pick this year because the Mountain West isn’t filling its spot in Las Vegas. But Executive Director Mark Neville said the bowl didn’t feel the need to do that this year. San Diego State has played in three of the past five Poinsettia Bowls, so the game is willing to let the hometown Aztecs go. The Poinsettia has openly courted Boise State (8-4), which hasn’t played in the game since a 2008 loss to TCU.

New Year’s Six projections

Cotton, semifinal (Dec. 31, Arlington, Texas): No. 2 Michigan State vs. No. 3 Alabama

Orange, semifinal (Dec. 31, Miami Gardens, Fla.): No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Oklahoma

Rose (Jan. 1, Pasadena, Calif.): Stanford (Pac-12) vs. Ohio State (Big Ten)

Sugar (Jan. 1, New Orleans): Oklahoma State (Big 12) vs. Mississippi (SEC)

Peach (Dec. 31, Atlanta): Houston (Group of Five) vs. Florida State (at-large)

Fiesta (Jan. 1, Glendale, Ariz.): Notre Dame (at-large) vs. Iowa (at-large)

Mountain West projections

Las Vegas (Dec. 19, Las Vegas): BYU (MW/BYU) vs. Washington State (Pac-12)

Cactus (Jan. 2, Phoenix): West Virginia (Big 12/MW) vs. Arizona State (Pac-12/MW)

Armed Forces (Dec. 29, Fort Worth, Texas): Air Force (MW) vs. Minnesota (Big Ten)

Hawaii (Dec. 24, Honolulu): San Diego State (MW/BYU) vs. Cincinnati (AAC)

Famous Idaho Potato (Dec. 22, Boise): Colorado State (MW) vs. Central Michigan (MAC)

New Mexico (Dec. 19, Albuquerque): New Mexico (MW) vs. Arizona (C-USA/at-large)

Poinsettia (Dec. 23, San Diego): Boise State (MW) vs. Northern Illinois (MAC)

Arizona (Dec. 29, Tucson, Ariz.): Utah State (MW) vs. Akron (C-USA/at-large)

At-large spots: Nevada and San Jose State have clinched bowl berths but it’s unclear where they will land.