Boise State has clear path to represent Group of Five in CFP bowl
Not only did Boise State clinch a spot in the Mountain West Championship game with a 50-19 win over Utah State on Saturday night, but the Broncos also have a clear path to represent the Group of Five in a College Football Playoff-affiliated bowl game.
Boise’s win over the Aggies gives the Broncos the 2014 Mountain Division crown, scheduling a showdown with West Division champions Fresno State in next Saturday night’s conference title game in Boise.
The Broncos used a power running game with Jay Ajayi to overwhelm the Aggies early on. Boise scored on its first three offensive drives of the first quarter – two of which culminated in Ajayi touchdown runs.
Ajayi added another score in the second quarter, while senior quarterback Grant Hedrick tossed his second touchdown of the half to Thomas Sperbeck to give the Broncos a 34-12 halftime lead.
Boise continued to pound the rock with Ajayi throughout the second half, taking time off the clock while its defense completely shut down Utah State. Ajayi, a 6-foot, 216-pound junior, ran for a career-high 229 yards and five touchdowns on 27 carries.
The win improved Boise’s record to 10-2 on the season. Boise was No. 22 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings and could see a bump after Saturday night’s dominant performance. With Marshall, the only other Group of Five team to crack the Top 25, losing its first game of the season to Western Kentucky, Boise looks to be the top team from outside the power five conferences in the eyes of the College Football Committee members.
Of course, the top-ranked team from the Group of Five (AAC, C-USA, MAC, MWC and Sun Belt) is guaranteed a spot in one of the six CFP bowls. As long as Boise takes care of business against 6-6 Fresno, the Broncos look like the obvious choice.
Fresno won its last three games of the regular season to clinch the MWC’s West Division and bowl eligibility. Boise defeated Fresno 37-27 on Oct. 17. There’s no reason to think the Broncos won’t do it again on a bigger stage with the conference title on the line.
For more Boise State news, visit Blue-Turf.com.
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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!