After the loss to San Diego State Saturday, Boise State is now 7-2 overall and 4-1 in the Mountain West Conference.
The Aztecs are now 7-3 overall and 5-1 in the Mountain West. Fresno State is also 7-3 overall and 5-1 in the MWC. However, it was the Bulldogs who handed San Diego State their only conference loss.
Air Force also has a 4-1 Mountain West Conference record, and so we have a bit of a puzzle.
How can the Broncos still take home the MWC trophy? Simple, and yet not so simple.
Scenario No. 1
The best way for Boise State to win the conference would be to have Fresno State, San Diego State and Air Force all lose another MWC game and the Broncos win out.
If this happens, then Boise State takes the MWC championship outright.
Scenario No. 2
Air Force still plays both of the other one-loss teams, but they don't play Boise State.
If Air Force upsets the Aztecs, beats Hawaii and upsets Fresno State, coupled with three more BSU wins, then, presto! Boise State wins the MWC, but they end up sharing it with the Falcons.
Hawaii would have to upset Air Force with the Falcons beating FSU and SDSU for the Broncos to take the title outright.
Scenario No. 3
San Diego State loses to Air Force, who then loses to Fresno State. In this scenario, the Bulldogs would also have to beat Nevada and the Broncos would have to win out.
However, if this happened, Fresno and Boise would be tied with in-conference records of 7-1. But because the Broncos beat the Bulldogs, they would be the perceived champion, but still share the official title with Fresno State.
The Broncos would then get the best bowl game. Or so it would seem, when you read section 6.3.1 in the MWC football regulations. It reads as follows:
6.3.1 Comparison. In the event of a tie for the Conference championship (or any of the remaining place finishes), the primary tie-breaking procedure shall be a comparison of head-to-head competition among the tied teams. If multiple teams are involved in a tie, the head-to-head records among the tied teams as a group shall be compared until the tie is resolved or it is reduced to a two-team tie where the winner of the head-to-head contest would gain the advantage. (Revised April 2006)
Scenario No. 3
If San Diego State wins out and so does Boise State and Fresno State, then we have a three-way tie for the title, which doesn't sound good for the Broncos when it comes to bowl selections. If you read the rule book again. It says:
6.3.4 Ties Between Three or More Teams. If three or more teams tie for a position, the combined record of each of the tied teams against the other teams involved in the tie shall be compared until an advantage is gained. If the multiple tie still exists, each of the tied teams’ records against the team occupying the highest position in the standings shall be compared, continuing down through the standings until the tie is reduced to a two-team tie, at which time the procedure shall revert to the two-way tie breaking procedure, until the tie is broken. (Revised April 2006)
In other words, San Diego State would get more credit for beating Boise State than the Broncos would get for defeating the Bulldogs.
Of course, all of these scenarios have one thing in common. They all have the Broncos winning their last three games.
If Boise State loses to Hawaii, Colorado State or Nevada, every one of these possible options goes out the Mountain West window.
Are there more scenarios? Probably...
Confused? Join the club.