Feb 15, 2019
Boise State defenders bring down Fresno State running back Ronnie Rivers (20) in the Mountain West championship at Albertsons Stadium on Dec. 2, 2017 in Boise, Idaho. (Joe Jaszewski/Idaho Statesman/TNS)

Mountain West changes the rules for who can host the football championship games

Mountain West Conference officials announced Monday “adjustments to the football championship host determination procedure” after a review during the off-season. The changes will take effect this coming season and may benefit Fresno State.

The change comes after a controversial end to the 2017 MWC season. “

We had a very unique set of circumstances,” MWC deputy commissioner Bret Gilliland said, “with the two divisional champions playing on the last weekend of the regular season. That prompted a review of the formula and a shift to place a priority of head-to-head competition, while maintaining strategic positioning for the MWC champion to serve as the Group of Five representative to the college football playoff structure.”

What that means is that Boise State, not Fresno State, hosted the 2017 championship game. Many Bulldogs fans were furious with the decision; some felt the conference slighted Fresno State in order to get ranked Boise State into the college football playoffs if they had home field advantage for the MWC championship game.

The new procedure announced Monday is: the host of future championship games will be the divisional champion with the highest winning percentage in conference games. Non-conference game results will not be considered, according to the MWC.

If there is a tie, it will be broken by the head-to-head result between the two divisional champions. If the head-to-head match still ends in a tie, then if one team “is ranked in the latest available college football playoff selection committee ranking and wins in the last weekend of the regular season, they will be declared the host,” says Gilliland.

If the team that’s highest-ranked in the latest selection committee rankings loses in the last weekend of the regular season, then “a composite average of average computer rankings will be used,” according to Gilliland.

If neither team is ranked in the selection committee’s ranking, then a composite average of computer rankings will be used after all games are over that final weekend will be used to break the tie.

According to Gilliland, if there’s still a tie, then the best record against common MWC opponents will be used. If the best common record doesn’t break the tie, the team with the highest overall winning percentage will be declared the host. The percentage determination will include most non-conference and all MWC contests played.

The final tie-breaker will be a coin toss by the MWC commissioner, Gilliland said.

The news of the change was greeted with applause from Fresno State fans, as well as Fresno State president Dr. Joseph I. Castro, who tweeted, “Never again. Go ‘Dogs!” after the conference made the announcement Monday morning.

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