The Mountain West’s respective divisions were wrapped up last week, so it was a bit of an oddity that Mountain Division champion No. 23 Boise State closed its regular season at West Division champion Fresno State. The Bulldogs won the game 28-17 in Fresno, which concluded both team’s regular seasons at 7-1 in conference play. Given Fresno State had just won the head-to-head tiebreaker, it stood to reason Fresno State would also host next week’s rematch.
Alas, that will not be the case.
The Mountain West announced Sunday that Boise State will host the game by virtue of winning the conference’s version of a BCS poll. From the league:
By virtue of having a higher average ranking as determined by four computer polls of Sunday, November 26, Boise State will host Fresno State in the 2017 Mountain West Football Championship Game on Saturday, December 2 at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho. Kickoff is set for 5:45 p.m. MT/4:45 p.m. PT and the game will be televised on ESPN for the second consecutive year.
In the four computer polls utilized by the Mountain West (Anderson & Hester, Billingsley, Colley Matrix and Wolfe), Boise State finished the season with a 30.25 average ranking, while Fresno State had a 34.25 average.
Saturday’s game will mark Fresno State’s third MW Championship appearance and Boise State’s second. The Broncos and Bulldogs also met in the 2014 conference championship, which Boise State won 28-14 on the blue turf.
Boise State holds an all-time 13-6 advantage in the series. The Broncos have won 13 of the 16 meetings since the programs began playing regularly in 2001.
The MW Championship will be the second time in FBS history that two teams have paired off in consecutive weeks, following a similar dynamic that played out in the Pac-12 in 2012. Stanford beat UCLA, 35-17 in Pasadena, in the regular season finale and then won the next week’s rematch, 27-24 in Palo Alto. Boise-Fresno is also one of seven conference championship rematches, joining the SEC (Auburn-Georgia), the Big 12 (Oklahoma-TCU), the Pac-12 (Stanford-USC), the American (Central Florida-Memphis), Conference USA (Florida Atlantic-North Texas) and the MAC (Akron-Toledo).