Wyoming Cowboys

LOUISVILLE, KY - SEPTEMBER 17: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Louisville Cardinals runs with the ball during the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on September 17, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)
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Behold: The full 2016-17 college football bowl schedule is here

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The College Football Playoff and New Year’s Six lineups are set, but there’s much more to bowl season than the top line games. Running 40 games deep and stretching from Dec. 17 to Jan. 9, the 2016-17 bowl schedule came together Sunday afternoon, which we’ve compiled here for your viewing enjoyment.

Let’s dive right in.

Saturday, Dec. 17
Gildan New Mexico Bowl (2 p.m. ET, ESPN): UTSA vs. New Mexico
Las Vegas Bowl presented by Geico (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC): Houston vs. San Diego State
Raycom Media Camelia Bowl (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): Appalachian State vs. Toledo
AutoNation Cure Bowl (5:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network): Central Florida vs. Arkansas State
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (9 p.m. ET, ESPN): Lousiana-Lafayette vs. Southern Miss

Monday, Dec. 19
Miami Beach Bowl (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): Central Michigan vs. Tulsa

Tuesday, Dec. 20
Boca Raton Bowl (7 p.m. ET, ESPN): Memphis vs. Western Kentucky

Wednesday, Dec. 21
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (9 p.m. ET, ESPN): BYU vs. Wyoming

Thursday, Dec. 22
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (7 p.m. ET, ESPN): Idaho vs. Colorado State

Friday, Dec. 23
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl (1 p.m. ET, ESPN): Old Dominion vs. Eastern Michigan
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): Louisiana Tech vs. No. 25 Navy
Dollar General Bowl (8 p.m. ET, ESPN): Ohio vs. Troy

Saturday, Dec. 24
Hawai’i Bowl (8 p.m. ET, ESPN): Hawaii vs. Middle Tennessee

Monday, Dec. 26
St. Petersburg Bowl (11 a.m. ET, ESPN): Mississippi State vs. Miami (Ohio)
Quick Lane Bowl (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): Boston College vs. Maryland
Camping World Independence Bowl (5 p.m. ET, ESPN2): NC State vs. Vanderbilt

Tuesday, Dec. 27
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl (noon ET, ESPN): Army vs. North Texas
Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 24 Temple vs. Wake Forest
National Funding Holiday Bowl (7 p.m. ET, ESPN): Washington State vs. Minnesota
Motel 6 Cactus Bowl (10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN): Boise State vs. Baylor

Wednesday, Dec. 28
New Era Pinstripe Bowl (2 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 23 Pittsburgh vs. Northwestern
Russell Athletic Bowl (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 16 West Virginia vs. Miami
Foster Farms Bowl (8:30 p.m. ET, FOX): Indiana vs. No. 19 Utah
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl (9 p.m. ET, ESPN): Texas A&M vs. Kansas State

Thursday, Dec. 29
Birmingham Bowl (2 p.m. ET, ESPN): South Florida vs. South Carolina
Belk Bowl (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): Arkansas vs. No. 22 Virginia Tech
Valero Alamo Bowl (9 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 10 Colorado vs. No. 12 Oklahoma State

Friday, Dec. 30
AutoZone Liberty Bowl (noon ET, ESPN): TCU vs. Georgia
Hyundai Sun Bowl (2 p.m. ET, CBS): No. 18 Stanford vs. North Carolina
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 21 Tennessee vs. Nebraska
Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl (5:30 p.m. ET, Campus Insiders): South Alabama vs. Air Force
Capital One Orange Bowl (8 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 6 Michigan vs. No. 11 Florida State

Saturday, Dec. 31
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl (11 a.m. ET, ABC): No. 20 LSU vs. No. 13 Louisville
TaxSlayer Bowl (11 a.m. ET, ESPN): Georgia Tech vs. Kentucky
CFP Semifinal at Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (3 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 4 Washington vs. No. 1 Alabama
CFP Semifinal at PlayStation Fiesta Bowl (7 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 2 Clemson

Monday, Jan. 2
Outback Bowl (1 p.m. ET, ABC): No. 17 Florida vs. Iowa
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic (1 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 15 Western Michigan vs. No. 8 Wisconsin
Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual (5 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 9 USC vs. No. 5 Penn State
Allstate Sugar Bowl (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 14 Auburn vs. No. 7 Oklahoma

Monday, Jan. 9
College Football Playoff National Championship (8 p.m. ET, ESPN): ALA/WASH vs. CLEM/OSU

San Diego State runs past Wyoming for second straight Mountain West title

San Diego State's Donnel Humphrey runs for a touchdown during the first half against Wyoming in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, in Laramie, Wyo. (AP Photo/Michael Smith)
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They say revenge is a dish best served cold. San Diego State checked off both boxes on Saturday night.

The Aztecs captured their second straight Mountain West championship and avenged an earlier loss with a 27-24 win over Wyoming in freezing conditions up in Laramie.

The San Diego State ground game was clicking all night long in a game where it was difficult to get much of anything through the air. Star tailback Donnel Pumphrey finished with 110 yards and a touchdown, passing former Texas great Ricky Williams to become the second leading rusher in FBS history late in the third quarter. The senior trails only Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne by 108 yards on the all-time list with a chance to top his mark later this month in what will likely be a berth in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Pumphrey’s backup Rashaad Penny wasn’t too shabby either, picking up a team-high 117 yards on the ground and finding the end zone twice. It was a good thing both players were humming in the backfield as quarterback Christian Chapman managed only 85 yards on six completions.

The SDSU defense also came to play in one of their best performances in a while. They picked off Wyoming’s Josh Allen twice, recovered a fumble late in the second half and bottled up the prolific runner Brian Hill to the tune of just 93 yards.

The Cowboys made a run to close the gap to just a field goal in the fourth quarter but couldn’t quite get over the hump for their second win in as many weeks over the Aztecs for a first ever Mountain West title.

Instead it was Rocky Long’s San Diego State squad that could lay claim to being the best in the conference this season for the second year in a row.

Wyoming, Craig Bohl agree to new seven-year contract

LINCOLN, NE - SEPTEMBER 10: Head coach Craig Bohl of the Wyoming Cowboys watches warmups before the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
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Less than 24 hours before the Mountain West championship game, one of the head coaches involved is being rewarded for, in part, getting there.

Wyoming announced Friday night that Craig Bohl has signed a new seven-year contract that would keep the coach with the Cowboys through the 2023 season.  The news comes as UW is set to face San Diego State in the MWC title game.

It’s the football program’s first-ever appearance in the game.

“When I hired Craig three years ago, I believed he was the best coach to turn around our football program,” said athletic director Tom Burman in a statement. “He has certainly delivered and the turnaround is evident in the performance of our team this season.

“What excites me most about this new contract is the opportunity to develop stability in our football program. Our fans, our student-athletes, donors and our state legislators will now get an opportunity to watch this football program continue to grow. I believe Coach Bohl is going to be the head football coach at the University of Wyoming for the rest of his career.”

Bohl came to UW after creating an FCS dynasty at North Dakota State, a program that won three straight national championship before Bohl left for Laramie after the 2013 season.  A 4-8 first season with the Cowboys gave way to a 2-10 second year that had some whispering that Bohl might be out of his element at the FBS level.

However, Bohl’s eight wins thus far this season are the most since 2008 and just the second time they’ve reached that mark since 1998.  With wins in the league title game and a bowl, the Cowboys would reach double-digits for the first time since 1996.

“This is a mutual agreement to continue to move Cowboy Football forward,” said Bohl. “I can’t thank Tom Burman, Governor Mead, President Nichols and numerous members of the state legislature enough for the support they’ve provided our football program to help us be successful. And to our donors, fans and the UW student body, I want to thank them for the enthusiastic manner in which they have embraced our team and our coaches. …

“All of these elements will provide the resources necessary to give Cowboy Football the opportunity for long-term success, which the people of Wyoming deserve.”

Why many college football officials are rooting for Temple to beat Navy

PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 3:  In this handout provided by the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Naval Academy Color Guard presents the colors during march-on ceremonies during the 106th playing of Army vs.Navy football game on December 3, 2005 held for the third consecutive year at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Mids have won the past three Army-Navy battles to even the all-time series at 49-49-7. Navy has accepted an invitation to play in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego on December 22.  (Photo by James G. Pinsky/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)
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The quote pretty much says it all.

“I don’t want to be un-American,” a bowl official told ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, “but nearly everyone in the bowl industry, quite frankly, is rooting against Navy.”

Because the commissioners that run the College Football Playoff chose to include the Army-Navy game in the committee’s tabulations, there’s a chance the entire bowl industry could be thrown for a loop this year.

Navy is ranked No. 19 in the latest CFP rankings, two spots behind No. 17 Western Michigan ahead of each’s respective conference championship games this weekend. (WMU will face Ohio in the MAC title game on Friday, while Navy hosts Temple in the AAC Championship on Saturday.) Because of that, Navy is Western Michigan’s only viable competition for the Group of 5’s automatic slot in the Cotton Bowl, meaning a Middies win would require the Dec. 10 Army-Navy game be included in the committee’s Group of 5 tabulations.

And that would create a domino effect for the rest of the bowl industry. Writes McMurphy:

Delaying the Group of 5’s bid to the Cotton Bowl would impact many bowls involving Group of 5 teams. They would have to hold up placing teams in bowls without knowing if its champion could get pulled up to the Cotton Bowl. Also, opponents in those bowls wouldn’t know whom they were playing and then there are the obvious logistic and financial issues involved with waiting another seven days before planning travel, buying tickets and other factors.

That domino effect has a quick turnaround, with only a week between the Army-Navy game and the Dec. 17 kickoff of bowl season. Bowls typically require competing teams to arrive by that Wednesday, Dec. 14, meaning participating teams would have only three days to prepare for a bowl trip.

But wait, there’s more:

Not only would a delay impact the Group of 5 teams, but it also would prohibit the five to seven teams with losing records that qualified because of APR from getting placed into a bowl until Dec. 10 because those teams would go to the bowls that couldn’t be filled by bowl-eligible teams with a 6-6 record or better. The APR teams will be the last teams placed in bowls.

The easiest solution would be a Temple victory or, short of that, a Western Michigan win. (Actually, the simplest solution would be to not consider the Army-Navy game at all, but the commissioners’ infinite wisdom disagrees here.)

If Navy wins and WMU loses, suddenly the Mountain West champ (San Diego State or Wyoming) and possible Conference USA champion Western Kentucky could join the mix. Only conference champions are considered for the Cotton Bowl slot, so 12-1 Western Michigan would not be in the mix.

But the easiest way to avoid all of this would be a Temple victory on Saturday. No pressure, Owls.

Conference championship game lines see Alabama, Oklahoma, WMU and Clemson as big favorites

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 5: The Alabama Crimson Tide celebrate after defeating the Florida Gators 29-15 in the SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome on December 5, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
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With conference championships to be decided this coming week, it comes as no surprise the best team in college football has been designated a big favorite in the SEC Championship Game. Alabama, the last undefeated team among power conference programs, opened as a 21.5 point favorite over Florida in the SEC Championship Game, according to Odds Shark.

Alabama has been the easy pick to win the national championship as the season has progressed, and it was expected Alabama would be a heavy favorite in Atlanta this weekend. The Gators offense has been struggling to find anything to build on, although the Gators do bring a solid defense with them to the conference championship game for the second straight season. But so does Alabama and the Crimson Tide may have the best defense in the country. It is possible Alabama’s defense may end up scoring more points than the Gators offense

Defending ACC champion Clemson is also a sizable favorite in the ACC Championship Game against Virginia Tech. The Tigers open as an 8.5 point favorite against the Hokies. The Big 12 does not have an actual conference championship game, but this week’s meeting between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State serves as a de facto Big 12 championship game, as the winner of the game will be crowned Big 12 champion. The Sooners, playing at home, are a 14-point favorite in the game.

Washington has been tabbed as a six-point favorite against Colorado in the Pac-12 Championship Game this weekend. Both teams are making their first appearance in the Pac-12 Championship Game, and a playoff bid will be on the line for Washington (and maybe Colorado?). The Big Ten Championship Game appears to be the tightest conference championship game this week among the power conferences. Wisconsin opened as a 1.5 point favorite over Penn State.

Western Michigan is a heavy favorite to close out a 13-0 season with the MAC championship. The Broncos are a 17-point favorite over Ohio. In the American Athletic Conference, Navy and its high-scoring offense is a slight favorite, 1.5 points, over Temple.

At the time of this post, there was no line for the Conference USA championship game between Western Michigan and Louisiana Tech or the Mountain West Conference championship game between Wyoming and San Diego State.