A weekend that had already seen the lineups for six conference championship games officially set has now seen a seventh.
The winner of the Utah State-Boise State game late Saturday night was set to claim the Mountain division of the Mountain West Conference, and the latter left little doubt who it would be. The Broncos, which debuted this week at No. 23 in the College Football Playoff rankings, jumped out to a 34-12 first-half lead and never looked back, thumping the Aggies 50-19.
The win in large part was due to Jay Ajayi. The junior running back ran for 229 yards and five touchdowns in what could’ve been his final regular season game for the Broncos. His five rushing touchdowns, incidentally, tied the school record.
Colorado State’s loss Friday opened the door even wider for Boise to move on to the title game, which they will host next Saturday at 10 p.m. ET.
Boise will now turn its attention to Fresno State, which won the West division earlier in the day with a 28-21 win over Hawaii. San Diego State and Hawaii could’ve won the division depending on how the day played out, although Fresno’s win eliminated all other possibilities.
It’s Fresno’s second consecutive West title. Last season, the Bulldogs beat USU to win the first-ever conference championship game.
A win by Boise State in the conference championship game would likely sew up a spot in one of the four New Year’s Eve/Day bowl games that are not a part of the playoff rotation this season (Fiesta, Orange, Chick-fil-A, Peach). A loss, though, would open the door for, perhaps, teams like Marshall and Memphis.