Boise State, Fresno State and San Diego State can each claim a share of the conference crown by winning their final game of the season. The Bulldogs have to take down bowl bound Air Force at home this week, while the rejuvenated Aztecs have a tough one at surging Wyoming. The Broncos will face Nevada on December 1st in one of those "what might have been" kind of games.
As far as co-champs and being able to stake a claim to the top spot via head-to-head results, Fresno State - which beat SDSU and lost to Boise State - needs help in the form of a Nevada win over the Broncos. A two-way tie with SDSU would give the Bulldogs the top spot. The Aztecs need a win in Laramie (no sure thing) and an Air Force win in Fresno to create a two-way tie with Boise State. SDSU holds the head-to-head edge in that one.
A co-championship would be welcomed in both San Diego and Fresno. Both were picked to finish in the upper half of the conference, but neither was thought to have the guns to win the title. For the Bulldogs, it would be quite a statement moving forward, coming in their first year in the league. For the Aztecs, a feather in their cap on the way out the door.
For Boise State, a win over Nevada would give them a 10-2 record - the best in the Conference overall - and a loss by the Aztecs in Laramie would create a two-way tie with a Fresno State team they defeated. But oh, what might have been for these Broncos.
It turns out that a season-opening loss at Michigan State would not have prevented the Broncos from going to a BCS bowl game after all. Even with that defeat, if Boise State had been able to roll through the conference unscathed, they would have been rated in the Top 16 (probably Top 12) of the BCS standings, been the highest rated non-BCS conference champion and gained an automatic BCS berth. Instead, SDSU's shocking win on the blue turf in Boise tossed the Broncos out of the rankings and into a three-way battle for a spot in the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas.
Boise State will still likely get that bid if they beat Nevada, based on overall record. But they were this close to something even better.
So now, when we look forward to the postseason, who will be going where?
We know Air Force is going to the Armed Forces Bowl, regardless of what happens in Fresno. That invite has been accepted already. It's also likely that Nevada will end up in the New Mexico Bowl, regardless of what happens against Boise State. The conference has five eligible teams for five bowl slots.
The three destinations in question are Las Vegas, San Diego's Poinsettia and the Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl. No losers in that deal. Best bets right now? Boise State makes its last trip to Vegas, the Aztecs stay home in the Poinsettia, and Fresno State gets a nice trip to the Islands. A fitting way to cap off a crazy season - before welcoming in WAC champ Utah State and bowl-bound San Jose State for next season. Stay tuned.