With the season-ending injury to Chuckie Keeton, Utah State’s bowl chances are considerably diminished. But not dead. Utah got to the Sun Bowl and won over Georgia Tech after starting QB Jordan Wynn went down with an injury in the fourth game of 2011.
I figure the odds of USU playing in the postseason are still OK, considering the state of the lower part of the Mountain West.
Meanwhile, I would put Utah’s chances of playing in a bowl at about 45 percent and BYU’s at 55 percent.
Just guesses, like everyone else’s. But here are the pivotal games for all three teams:
USU key game: Nevada Las Vegas.
USU won’t beat Boise State and or Wyoming. It should beat Hawaii and New Mexico. But UNLV has shown competence by beating Central Michigan, Western Illinois and New Mexico.
Since the USU-UNLV game is in Las Vegas on Nov. 9, and Keeton is out, that game should decide whether USU meets the 6-game minimum. If that fails, there’s a chance of beating CSU at home the next week. But first things first.
Prediction: Yes on bowl eligibility for the Aggies.
USU’s program has enough depth to beat the low end of the MWC, even without its star player.
BYU key game: Nevada.
The Wolfpack beat BYU last time the Cougars were in Reno, and this year it has defeated Hawaii and Air Force and lost in OT to San Diego State.
Things could go down to the last game of the year for BYU. Houston is 4-0, Georgia Tech is better than last year and Boise State is still dangerous. Idaho State is a gimme.
Prediction: Hello Fight Hunger Bowl, but not by much.
Utah: key game: Arizona.
Utah got beat at home by the Wildcats last year, but won in Tucson the year before.
This season the ‘Cats got drubbed by Washington but beat NAU, UNLV and UTSA. Which tells us pretty much nothing.
If Utah beats Arizona, then it probably must beat two of these three: USC, WSU and Colorado. Not a done deal there, either. But a loss at Arizona makes a sweep of the aforementioned games mandatory.
Prediction: No bowl. To get to the postseason, the Utes will likely need two road wins. Right now they’re not even winning at home.