Report: Mountain West agrees to bowl game deals through 2019, plus Aggie preseason lists and rankings
One bonus to being in the Mountain West? The bowl deals. If Utah State football becomes bowl-eligible, it has a pretty good shot at getting in to a decent game in December or January.
An ESPN report by Brett McMurphy indicates the Mountain West has agreed to extend partnerships with six bowls through 2019.
The Las Vegas Bowl will get the first selection from the Mountain West, while the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego will get the second selection, sources said. The Hawaii, Armed Forces in Fort Worth, Texas, and New Mexico bowls will share the third, fourth and fifth selections. The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise, Idaho, will get the league's sixth selection, sources said.
Despite a number of bowls changing conference affiliations after this season, the final year of the current four-year bowl cycle, the Mountain West retained all of its previous six tie-ins. The league also is considering adding a seventh bowl in 2014, sources said.
The expected conferences the Mountain West will face in its new bowl lineup: Las Vegas (Pac-12), San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia (Navy in 2014, BYU and Army from 2015 on), Sheraton Hawaii (American/Conference USA), Bell Helicopter Armed Forces (C-USA), Gildan New Mexico (C-USA) and Famous Idaho Potato (Mid-American).
The Aggies are looking for a bit of a step up from the Potato Bowl after going there the last two years, and several Mountain West teams are hoping for a shot at a BCS berth.
But at the least, Utah State knows it has a fair shake at a number of bowls if it finishes in the top five in the conference, which it didn't have last year in the WAC (you may recall Louisiana Tech didn't go bowling at all).
More Aggie updates and related links:
• More Aggies on preseason watch lists: Kicker Nick Diaz was named to the fall watch list for the Lou Groza Award, which goes annually to the best placekicker in college football. Diaz got the nod for stepping in last season and nailing 10 out of 13 attempts and 40 extra points. As one might guess from how disastrously kicking went in the state of Utah last year, neither BYU nor the Utes had a kicker on the list. After landing on the spring Rimington Award watch list, Tyler Larsen apparently did enough during the offseason to keep himself on the "fall" preseason list (surprise!).
• More Aggies preseason team rankings: The Orlando Sentinel drops Utah State at No. 47 today, while USA Today listed the Aggies at No. 59 on Tuesday. What gives after finishing the season ranked in the top 25? It seems like most analysts are waiting to see how Matt Wells handles the program, and also who fills in the holes at wide receiver and in the secondary. The personnel questions are pretty on point for those who saw spring practice.
• The Denver Post takes quick look at upcoming opponent Air Force, which is trying to bounce back after its first losing season under Troy Calhoun. Read up on Utah State's first Mountain West opponent.
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon