Now that Boise State has suffered its second loss of the season, Bowl game options for the Boise State Broncos have been reduced. Any thought of a BCS game is now gone, and Chris Petersen and his boys will be shopping from the Mountain West Conference menu of possibilities.
There are a total of five bowl games that the MWC has tie-ins with for the 2012-2013 season.
Those bowls are the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas, the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, the Gildan New Mexico Bowl and the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.
Which one of those five games will the Broncos end up playing in?
Well, it depends on what place they finish in the conference and where other teams in the MWC might be placed. Economics, geography and match-ups are all considerations that come into play as well.
Let's take a look at what bowl game the Broncos are most likely to land in this December.
Bowl: Maaco Bowl Las Vegas
Date: December 22, 2012
Time: 12:30 PM (PST)
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Boise State is very familiar with this bowl game. They dominated Utah in 2010 by a score of 26-3 and they thumped Arizona State 56-24 in 2011 in this same game.
So will it be three years in a row?
The Maaco Bowl Las Vegas gets first choice of who it wants for its bowl game. They can take the conference champion, but they don't have to. This makes this bowl a highly probable location for the Broncos once again.
However, it will certainly depend on how Boise State finishes and who they match-up would be.
The Maaco Bowl takes the MWC first choice and the Pac-12 No. 5 team. Right now that could end up being one of several teams.
If the season were to end today it would be USC. However, there would no doubt be another bowl eager to take USC before the Maaco Bowl ever got its chance. Arizona State, UCLA or Washington are far more likely to represent the Pac-12 in this bowl.
Still, could you imagine a Boise State versus USC game in Las Vegas? It might be disappointing for some fans, but that would be a great game to watch.
The Broncos have been there two years in a row.
Not only that, but if the No. 5 team from the Pac-12 is Arizona State or Washington there are downsides to that. Boise State played ASU last year in this same game, and they open the season next year at Washington.
Las Vegas is always fun for the fans, and playing a Pac-12 opponent is better than some of the other bowl possible match-ups.
Best Case Scenario
If it is a premier match-up like USC or Stanford, you have to believe Boise State fans would have no problem making another trip south. Again, highly unlikely, but fun to think about.
Date: December 20, 2012
Time: 5:00 PM
Location: San Diego, California
Boise State has played in this bowl before. It was a 17-16 loss to TCU, and yes the Broncos missed a key field goal in this game as well.
The Poinsettia Bowl has the second choice of who they want from the Mountain West. However, the opponent that team will be playing has already been chosen. It will be BYU.
The Broncos have already played BYU once this season, and they play them for the next twelve years or so in the regular season.
A BYU versus BSU rematch probably doesn't appeal to very many folks, and for that reason alone probably won't happen.
Can't really think of an upside for Boise State fans or players.
Revenge possibly for BYU fans and players, but highly unlikely. For the Broncos this bowl would be all wrong.
Best Case Scenario
Boise State doesn't get picked for this one.
Date: December 29, 2012
Time: 10:45 AM
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Believe it or not, Boise State has played in this bowl before. Of course, it was then called the Plains Capital Fort Worth Bowl.
Fans might remember it was a match-up against TCU in the Horned Frogs home stadium. It was an exciting game, and in the end the Broncos took the game 34-31.
This bowl game would probably be a much better fit for Air Force than Boise State. Still, it is one of the options, and you never know what might happen.
The Armed Forces Bowl picks third among MWC bowl partners.
This bowl usually gets the No. 3 team out of Conference USA. Last season that was Tulsa. This season however, it is more likely a team like SMU, Houston, Marshall or the current third place team East Carolina.
Fort Worth versus a Conference USA team in late December probably doesn't draw too many Boise State fans. Not only that, but the opponent would have far more to gain than Boise State.
It is a bowl game that honors our nations military. It will also be the 10th anniversary of the bowl game, so it will get a little more attention. The bowl will also be nationally televised on a Saturday between Christmas and the new year.
Best Case Scenario
The Broncos do not get selected for this bowl.
Bowl: Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Date: December 15, 2012
Time: 11:00 AM
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Boise State has never played in this bowl game. The New Mexico Bowl started in 2006 and has featured many teams the Broncos are familiar with.
San Jose State, New Mexico, Nevada, Fresno State, Wyoming, UTEP, Colorado State and BYU have all made appearances.
Last season it was actually a future opponent that took this bowl. Temple raced to a 37-15 drubbing of the Wyoming Cowboys.
This bowl has the fourth selection from MWC teams.
This bowl would feature a Pac-12 team versus a MWC team. However, the Pac-12 choice will simply be one of the lower bowl eligible teams. The team that seems most likely would be the Washington Huskies.
As stated in the Las Vegas Bowl breakdown, a game against the Washington Huskies would be less than ideal.
Boise State opens at Washington next season, and to finish the season this year with the same team would be awkward.
Still, stranger things have happened.
It is early in the Bowl Season, and much closer than Fort Worth, Texas.
Best Case Scenario
Boise State doesn't get picked for this game.
Bowl: Sheraton Hawaii Bowl
Date: December 24, 2012
Time: 3:00 PM (HT)
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Boise State has played in this game before. It was the year after the dramatic Fiesta Bowl win against Oklahoma.
Fans probably remember that the Broncos almost pulled off another late victory, but they fell short against East Carolina 41-38.
This bowl chooses last from among MWC eligible teams.
This bowl is a MWC team versus a Conference USA team. Right now Southern Methodist seems to be the favorite to come out of C-USA for this game.
It is a Christmas eve game versus a Conference USA opponent. Not only that, but the C-USA team may be a future Big East Conference foe. Chances are Boise State and SMU play next season.
For the players, it is a trip to Hawaii in the winter. Some fans may make the journey as well, and let's face it, Hawaii is not a bad place to spend some time.
Best Case Scenario
Boise State doesn't get picked for this game. However, it would be a better selection than any other games besides the Las Vegas Bowl.
Could there be any other bowl game out there that Boise State could end up being asked to play in?
In this day and age of partnerships the short answer is maybe, but probably not. Most bowl games have their partners locked in and the day of an "at-large" bid are all but over.
However, there is always some level of wheel-and-dealing that happens as conferences fail to provide the number of bowl eligible teams needed to fulfill obligations.
It would be hard to imagine anything like that happening this year that would allow Boise State into a different bowl game, but you never know.
It would also require the MWC to be part of any negotiations to assist in that process, and it doesn't seem likely that they would do much for the Broncos as they exit the building.
In saying that, however, if there were enough dollars involved it could probably make a difference. After all, money is the name of the game in college football these days.
Next year the Broncos will be looking at a handful of bowl game possibilities that could be intriguing.
First, the BCS
The Big East has one more season of an automatic bid into a lucrative BCS game. The champion of the Big East gets that bid, and Boise State should be in contention for that title.
Other Bowl Games
The Big East Conference currently has five additional bowl partners.
Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Flo. This is a game that features an ACC and Big East match-up.
Belk Bowl in Charlotte. It features an ACC team versus a Big East opponent.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium featuring a game against a Big-12 opponent.
Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg, Flo. It features C-USA vs. Big East.
BBVA Compass Bowl, which is an SEC versus Big East game in Birmingham, Ala.
The Big East also has a partnership with the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis.
There is also a possibility with the added teams from the west coming into the conference next season that the Big East may partner with another bowl game for geographic sense.
What that game or games might be is any ones guess.
For Boise State fans the locations and the match-ups for Big East bowl games should be exciting.
The 2012 season will probably end with a trip to Las Vegas.
Look for the Las Vegas Bowl to select the Broncos, but also look for them to work something out with the Pac-12 to get a decent match-up.
Washington would make no sense, neither would Arizona State for obvious reasons. However, if they are the only possible teams it may end up that way.
Bronco fans travel good, especially to Vegas, and you can expect the same thing this year.
Boise State should be playing in the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas on December 22, 2012.