WHAT TO WATCH FOR THIS WEEK: Friday night we see two Conference USA and two Mountain West games airing on national television. WKU and Old Dominion start off the night on CBS Sports Network with the Hilltoppers looking for their four win against the Monarchs in as many tries. Immediately following that game, CBS Sports Network will air the Air Force and Nevada game. The Falcons and Wolf Pack are meeting for the fourth time ever, with the home team winning each of the previous contests. Starting at 5 p.m. on ESPN2 is Marshall and Middle Tennessee. The last two times the Herd and the Blue Raiders have squared off, it has all gone down to the wire, including the triple overtime thriller in 2015. The night cap on ESPN2 is the Mountain Division battle between Colorado State and New Mexico. The Rams sit atop the division at 3-0 and have won seven straight against the Lobos.
Saturday afternoon, C-USA divisional leaders North Texas and FAU resume the series that has been on hiatus the last two seasons. UAB, which is nipping at the Mean Green’s heels in the West Division, meets Charlotte for the first time. The West Division also has two huge match-ups as Louisiana Tech hosts Southern Mississippi and UTSA plays its homecoming game against Rice. For the Mountain West, a pair of unbeaten Mountain Division teams face off on ESPN2 as Wyoming looks for its second straight win in the series with Boise State. On CBS Sports Network, San Diego State fights to get back in the West Division race and hand Fresno State its first league loss. Please check out the complete schedule with series notes and viewing information on page 1 of the PDF linked above.
POSTSEASON OUTLOOK: There are 13 teams around the FBS who are now bowl-eligible with six wins. The Mountain West’s San Diego State is among the group and is the lone member from a non-autonomous conference. There are 39 bowl games, not counting the National Championship, thus 78 slots available. Two teams, Ole Miss because of a self-imposed penalty, and Coastal Carolina because its transitioning to the FBS, are ineligible for the postseason. Three, Charlotte (C-USA), UTEP (C-USA), and San Jose State (MW) have been eliminated from postseason play. For Conference USA, Marshall is the closest to becoming bowl eligible, boasting a 5-1 record. Five other C-USA teams are just two wins shy of the necessary six needed. In the Mountain West, Colorado State is one victory from joining SDSU in the postseason. Three other MW teams are two wins away from the required six victories. Nevada, at 1-6, is on the cusp of elimination.
POSTSEASON PROJECTIONS: What a difference a week makes! Several national collegiate football analysts do their best to piece together a prediction for how the bowl lineup will turn out and nearly everyone has changed their minds from a week ago. For the 2017 Gildan New Mexico Bowl, there is a three-way tie in the nods for the Mountain West representative with Boise State, Fresno State and Wyoming all garnering three apiece. For Conference USA, three are predicting the North Texas Mean Green will be making their first appearance in the Albuquerque-based bowl while three others have the representative being the UTSA Roadrunners for the second straight year.