In order to be bowl eligible in college football, a school must win half of its games: six. With three games remaining, CSU has won four, leaving postseason play a possibility for the Rams.
The three remaining games on the schedule for CSU are at Air Force (7-2, 4-1 MWC) on Saturday, hosting New Mexico (4-6, 2-4 MWC) for senior day next weekend, and the Border War against Wyoming (3-6, 1-5 MWC) on Nov. 22.
The Falcons come into Saturday’s showdown on a four game winning streak and are ranked fourth in the Mountain West Conference, just ahead of CSU.
Wide receiver Rashaun Greer explained that CSU’s concentration has changed to making a bowl the past few weeks, but said that the team is still taking it one game at a time.
“Your focus shifts a lot, especially when you need to win out,” the junior said.
“But we can’t worry about the next two games yet, we need to win this one first.”
CSU freshman linebacker Mychal Sisson likes his team’s chances to make a bowl game.
“We have a legitimate shot, as long as we go out and play hard against every team and do what we’re supposed to do I think we can get three wins (finishing 7-5) and put us in a better predicament,” Sisson said.
The Rams are currently sitting fifth in the MWC behind Air Force, BYU, Utah and TCU.
The Mountain West is traditionally allotted four bowl games a season.
The conference champion goes to the Las Vegas Bowl, second place is awarded the Poinsettia Bowl, third place takes the Armed Forces Bowl and fourth place goes to the New Mexico Bowl.
While these are the traditional standards, the MWC is in a unique situation this season. TCU is battling to get an at-large bid to a Bowl Championship Series game, and if awarded that, second place in the MWC goes heads to Las Vegas in the champions’ place.
Another special opportunity for MWC teams this season is a chance to go to a fifth bowl game, the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho.
While the MWC’s contract with the Humanitarian Bowl does not officially come into effect until the 2009 season, it is unlikely that the ACC will have a team qualify for a trip to Boise this year.
Therefore, the Humanitarian Bowl committee would most likely replace the ACC with the fifth or sixth place MWC team, granted they’re bowl eligible, to get a jump start on the relationship.
CSU defensive coordinator Larry Kerr says that the Rams are thinking about their opportunity to play in a bowl, but have to take it one step at a time. “It’s on our minds, but we can’t get ahead of ourselves,” Kerr said. “We have to focus on beating Air Force this week, then go on from there . but I think we can play in a bowl this season.” Greer said that the Rams have a clear path to a bowl game and that he draws confidence from the fact that CSU can control its own fate.
“Our coaches have been telling us that we control our own destiny,” he said. “It’s up to us to see if we make the bowl game or not.”
Even though there is a lot of pressure on the Rams to win the next three games, Greer is still having fun playing meaningful football this late in season.
“The past two years, it hasn’t been as fun playing at this point in the season. It feels good to know you are playing for something. Every game is an important game and we can’t afford to lose any more.”
Football beat writers Matt Stephens and Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at email@example.com.