Coming in to tonight’s Mountain West Conference championship, Boise State, at No. 22, was the only Group of Five team ranked in the most recent College Football Playoff rankings. All The Little Blue Team That Could needed to do was win to land itself a prime bowl slot.
And, as it turns out, that’s exactly what the Broncos did.
Up 28-0 at halftime, Boise State put it on cruise control and autopiloted it home for a 28-14 win over Fresno State in the MWC title game. It’s the second conference championship for the Broncos in the three years since it joined the league.
With the win, the Broncos extended their winning streak to eight straight games and pushed their 2014 record to 11-2.
Boise was actually outgained 397-301, but three Fresno turnovers spelled doom for a team that was looking for its third consecutive MWC title.
The highest-ranked team from the non-Power Five leagues that wins its conference earns an automatic bid to one of the four New Year’s Six bowl games that aren’t hosting the semifinals, which this year will be the Cotton, Fiesta, Orange and Peach bowls. Barring something not even remotely expected, Boise State will be that team, although the specific destination won’t be determined until Sunday afternoon.
Other G5 teams that were hoping Boise State was upset included 12-1 Marshall (Conference USA champ), 11-2 Northern Illinois (MAC champ) and three 9-3 teams that shared the AAC title — Cincinnati, Memphis and UCF.