In the rivalry between Fresno State and Boise State, the win is what matters.
But the matchup on Saturday between the Bulldogs and Broncos will mean little to nothing in determining the host for the Mountain West Conference championship game and coach Jeff Tedford is resigned to playing for that title on the road no matter what happens when the West and Mountain division winners meet to end the regular-season.
“That’s my understanding of it,” Tedford said Monday. “No matter what happens, if we were fortunate to win the game this weekend, it would go to the rankings and as of now I think we’re quite a ways behind Boise State so I don’t think there’s anything that’s going to jump us past them. They have a great reputation, all that kind of stuff. I’m just assuming that we’re going to Boise the following week. That’s what I’m assuming.”
If the Bulldogs were to beat Boise State on Saturday on Senior Day at Bulldog Stadium, both teams would have 9-3 records and be 7-1 in conference play.
The conference uses No. 1 the College Football Playoff Selection Committee rankings and No. 2 a composite of four computer rankings to determine home field for the conference championship game – the Billingsley Report, Wolfe Ratings, Anderson & Hester Rankings and the Colley Matrix.
If one divisional champion is ranked ahead of the other divisional champion in the CFP rankings and wins in the final weekend of the regular season, that team will be declared the host.
If the divisional champion that is the highest-ranked in the CFP poll loses in the final weekend of the regular season, the composite of computer rankings is used to determine the host.
And, if no Mountain West teams are ranked in the latest CFP rankings, the composite computer rankings following the final week of regular-season games will be used to determine the host.
A head-to-head result in conference play doesn’t come into play unless there still is a tie after the CFP rankings and a composite of the computer rankings.
Boise State last week moved into the CFP rankings at No. 25, and has a significant advantage in the computer rankings. The Broncos are ranked between No. 19 and No. 24 with an average of 22.5 in the four models, while the Bulldogs are ranked between No. 38 and No. 52 with an average of 43.8.
San Diego State, a team that Fresno State beat 27-3 on Oct. 21, is actually ranked higher than the Bulldogs in all four computer rankings. The Aztecs are ranked as high as No. 26, with an average of 29.3.
“I’m not going to get too involved in it,” Tedford said. “We’re just going to prepare to play and anticipate going on the road to play.
“It’s unfortunate for the fans, I will tell you that. That’s why, as scenarios pop up from year to year with this process, that certain things may make a little more sense.”
Tedford was at Cal when the Pac-12 started a conference championship game in 2011, pitting the winners of its North and South divisions. The game was played at home sites the first three years, then in 2014 was moved to a neutral site at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
When played at a home site, the division winner with the best conference record hosted the championship game. If there was a tie, head-to-head competition was used as a tie-breaker and if the two teams did not play during the regular season there was a BCS rankings component to select the home team.
“I know the concerns in the beginning in that conference were that people may not travel and so on and so forth, so you want a home field crowd there for TV, all that type of thing,” Tedford said. “But I think what does make sense and maybe some day our conference goes to it, if it is at a neutral site and now we know which teams are playing, fans can be making their arrangements right now.
“They could be making their plane flight, they could be getting their hotel room. They could do that. I just think with this formula it lends to a lot of unknowns, which at the end of the day affect the fans more than anybody. Those are things that you have to look at when the season is over and see what makes sense.”
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
FOOTBALL: BOISE STATE AT FRESNO STATE
- Saturday: 12:30 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium (41,031)
- Records: Bulldogs 8-3, 6-1 Mountain West; Broncos 9-2, 7-0
- TV/radio: CBS Sports Network/KFIG (AM 940), KGST (AM 1600)
- Of note: The Broncos have won seven in a row after beating Air Force on Saturday 44-19. Over the past four games, they are averaging 46.3 points per game. Brett Rypien has thrown for 12 TDs and just one interception in that stretch. … Boise State has 14 seniors and that group is the 15th in 16 years to win 40 or more career games. With a victory, the Broncos also would go undefeated in conference play for the first time since 2009 when it was in the Western Athletic Conference. … The Broncos last week were No. 25 in the College Football Playoff rankings, part of the reason they have a large lead on the Bulldogs in determining the host for the Dec. 2 conference final. Even a head-to-head win might not be enough to get Fresno State a home game – the host is determined by teams’ standing in the CFP or composite of four computer rankings.
MEN’S BASKETBALL: FRESNO STATE VS. EVANSVILLE
- Tuesday: 5:30 p.m. PST at Cancun, Mexico
- Records: Bulldogs 2-1; Purple Aces 4-0
- TV/radio: CBS Sports Network/KFIG (AM 940)
- Of note: Evansville has beaten Arkansas State (77-63), North Carolina Central (68-55), Southeast Missouri State (66-50) and Binghamton (66-61) to open the season and will present another challenge for thee Bulldogs’ backcourt. The Purple Aces are led by 6-foot-6 guard Ryan Taylor and 6-3 Dru Smith, who are averaging 24.0 and 11.8 points per game. Smith also is averaging 7.8 assists per game. Evansville leads the all-time series with Fresno State 4-1 and has two single-digit victories over the Bulldogs in the past three seasons, winning 58-52 in the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Fla., in 2014 and 85-77 in the Mountain West/Missouri Valley Challenge in 2015 at the Save Mart Center.
WRESTLING: FRESNO STATE VS. AIR FORCE
- Tuesday: 8 p.m. on the USS Midway anchored in San Diego
- Records: Bulldogs 1-2, 0-0 Big 12; Falcons 0-1, 0-0 Big 12
- Of note: Inaugural Battle on the Midway includes international exhibition matches (Fresno State volunteer assistant Joe Colon competes) and Fresno State’s first Big 12 dual.