For those of you avid Collegian readers, this is usually about the time of year I start forecasting bowl possibilities for Fresno State.
And although there are still three games left this season, it’s never too early to make postseason predictions for the Bulldogs.
Target started selling Christmas decorations in October so discussing holiday plans for the ‘Dogs isn’t too farfetched.
What makes the crystal ball even cloudier though is the uncertainty of Boise State’s postseason options.
If things stay the way they are right now in the BCS standings, TCU would get the automatic berth for non-automatic qualifiers and Boise would need to be picked as an at-large team – yeah, good luck with that.
If you’re new to the whole bowl game thing, here’s how it works.
The Western Athletic Conference (WAC) has three bowl games that they are obligated to fill: the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, the Hawaii Bowl in Honolulu and, Fresno State’s bowl from last season, the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque.
To qualify for a bowl game a team must win six games and currently there are four teams in the WAC that meet the criteria.
However, if we do the math real quick, three bowl games for four teams just isn’t going to work.
Let’s take a look at the potential bowl games and the chances Fresno State has of landing in one.
1) Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl in Boise
The Bulldogs’ last bowl victory came on the “Smurf Turf” back in 2007 against Georgia Tech in this bowl game.
Bronco fans, and the entire city of Boise for that matter, have shown a propensity to root for the Bulldogs when they play in the Humanitarian Bowl.
Fresno State beat Virginia back in 2004 in the MPC Computers Bowl, which was also in Boise.
Although it’s been a good spot for the ‘Dogs, a trip to Idaho in December doesn’t look too likely this year.
The Idaho Vandals already have seven wins and obviously have the in-state tie-in to the bowl game.
Idaho’s last bowl appearance was in 1999 coincidentally enough in the Humanitarian Bowl.
I would probably check this option off the list.
2) Sheraton Hawaii Bowl in Honolulu
The only history Fresno State has on the Island is playing against the Warriors, but the Bulldogs did play in the Pineapple Bowl back in the 1940s.
The Bulldogs already made the trip to Honolulu in October, but that doesn’t mean the Hawaii Bowl selection committee wouldn’t want them back.
Especially with a potential matchup against former Hawaii coach June Jones and his SMU Mustangs.
There is a potential wild card in this situation though.
If the Hawaii Warriors can win three out of their last four games they will become bowl-eligible and fill the spot.
Hawaii has an automatic tie-in with the bowl and can snag the spot with three more victories.
Fresno State looks like a solid fill-in though if Hawaii doesn’t come through.
3) New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque
Fresno State put on quite the show with Colorado State in this bowl last season, but came up on the short end, losing 40-35.
New Mexico Bowl executive director Jeff Siembieda has expressed interest in having the Bulldogs back this year, but the opponent may not be too enticing.
The most likely opponent would be a bottom-feeder in the Mountain West Conference like Wyoming, San Diego State or UNLV.
Having a game with the nation’s leading rusher would be very attractive for Siembieda and the rest of the bowl committee, but inviting a different team to mix things up might be another option for them.
4) Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego
If the Pac-10 doesn’t fulfill its bowl obligations, the WAC has a secondary tie-in with this bowl game.
After being bypassed by the BCS in 2008, Boise State ended up in San Diego to take on TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl.
TCU against Boise provided one of the best bowl matchups last season and there are many options for this to be a great game this season.
Just off the top of my head, I think Nevada against either BYU or Utah would be an excellent choice for the Poinsettia Bowl.
I think if anyone fills the spot from the WAC it will be either Boise again or Nevada, but probably not Fresno.
It’s all up in the air
Every team in the WAC is waiting for their postseason destination to be decided by Boise State’s selection by the BCS or lack thereof.
ESPN and CBSsportsline can project all they want, but the bowl picture will become clearer as we get to towards December.
Personally, it sounds like New Mexico or Hawaii for the Bulldogs, but nothing is set.
Saturday’s game in the Reno could go a long way in determining where Fresno State is playing football during the holidays.
Wouldn’t this be so much easier if they brought the California Raisin Bowl back?
We’d all get to see Fresno play at home, but then again I’m sure Bulldog fans in the 1980s got sick of seeing Bowling Green every year.