MOUNTAIN WEST SENDS RECORD EIGHT TEAMS TO BOWL GAMES
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Mountain West will send a record eight teams into postseason bowl games in 2015. The previous record of seven was set in both 2013 and 2014. The MW has earned 77 bowl bids since 1999 and holds a 38-31 (.551) all-time record. The 2015 postseason marks the ninth consecutive year the Mountain West has sent at least five teams to bowls and the 12th time overall since the league's inception.
Over the last 11 seasons, the Mountain West has captured the Bowl Challenge Cup four times and owns the second-best win percentage in bowl games among the 10 FBS conferences with a 31-23 mark (.574) during that span. The MW is the only conference to win the trophy four times since the award's inception in 2002-03.
2015 Mountain West Champion San Diego State (10-3, 8-0 MW) will play in a school record sixth consecutive bowl game when it takes on Cincinnati (7-5, 4-4 AAC) in the Hawai‘i Bowl on Thursday, Dec. 24. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. HT on ESPN and will be played at Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium. The Aztecs are in the midst of a nine-game win streak, which is currently the third-longest active streak in the nation. Cincinnati will make its 17th overall bowl appearance and a school record fifth straight. San Diego State is 0-1 all-time against the Bearcats, dropping a 52-23 decision at home on Sept. 29, 2007.
Air Force (8-4, 5-3 MW) has qualified for the postseason in eight of the last nine years and will face California (7-5, 4-5 Pac-12) in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. The Golden Bears lead the series with the Falcons 6-2. The last time these two teams met was in the 2007 Armed Forces Bowl, with Cal upending Air Force 42-36. Cal is 10-10-1 overall in bowl games and will make its first postseason appearance since 2011 when it lost to Texas in the Holiday Bowl. The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl will get underway in Fort Worth, Texas, on Tuesday, December 29 at 1 p.m. CT on ESPN.
Boise State (8-4, 5-3 MW) will make its 14th-consecutive bowl appearance when it travels to San Diego to face Northern Illinois (8-5, 6-2 MAC) in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Wednesday, Dec. 23. The game will be played at Qualcomm Stadium and broadcast on ESPN beginning at 1:30 p.m. PT. The Huskies extended the school and MAC record for consecutive bowl seasons to eight and will make their third appearance overall in the Poinsettia Bowl. NIU previously played in the bowl in 2006, a 37-7 loss to TCU, and in 2013, falling 21-14 to Utah State. This will be the first meeting between Boise State and NIU.
Colorado State (7-5, 5-3 MW) will appear in a bowl game for the third consecutive year, which is its longest streak since 2001-03, the final three years of a five-season streak. Overall, the Rams have a 6-8 record in bowl games. Colorado State will face Nevada is the inaugural NOVA® Home Loans Arizona Bowl.
Nevada (6-6, 4-4 MW) is playing in a bowl game for the 10th time in 11 seasons. The Wolf Pack are one of 18 FBS programs that can claim 10 bowl games in the last 11 seasons. The Wolf Pack and Rams, who both finished tied for second in their respective divisions, have met 13 times. CSU holds an 11-2 advantage.
New Mexico (7-5 overall, 5-3 MW) will face the Arizona Wildcats out of the Pac-12 in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, which is played at University Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Lobos are making their first bowl appearance since 2007 and their third in the New Mexico Bowl (1-1). The Wildcats (6-6, 3-6 Pac-12) are playing in their fourth consecutive bowl game, a program record. This will mark the second time Arizona has played in the New Mexico Bowl, defeating Nevada 49-48 in 2012 in its first appearance. Arizona holds a 43-20-3 advantage over the Lobos, but UNM has won the last two meetings in 2007 and 2008.
San José State (5-7 overall, 4-4 MW) will face Georgia State out of the Sun Belt Conference in the AutoNation Cure Bowl, which is played in Orlando, Florida. The Spartans were granted an exception to gain postseason eligibility by virtue of their high Academic Progress Rate (APR). SJSU is making its first bowl trip since 2012 where it defeated Bowling Green 29-20 in the Military Bowl. Georgia State concluded the regular season with four straight victories and earned its first bowl berth in just its sixth year of football and third at the FBS level. This is the first time San José State and Georgia State have met on the football field.
Utah State (6-6 overall, 5-3 MW) will make its third trip in five years to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl when it faces Akron from the Mid-American Conference. The Aggies, who are bowl eligible for the fifth-straight season for the first time in program history, have won three consecutive bowl games, including a 41-15 victory over Toledo in the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Akron (7-5, 5-3 MAC) finished in a tie for second place in the East Division of the MAC and is currently riding a four-game win streak. This will only be the second bowl game at the FBS level for Akron. The Zips lost their lone postseason appearance in the 2005 Motor City Bowl to Memphis (38-31). This is the first meeting between Utah State and Akron.