Mountain West Sends Record Six Teams to Bowl Games
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Mountain West will send a record six teams into postseason bowl games in 2013. The Mountain West has earned 62 bowl bids since 1999 and holds a 32-24 all-time record in those contests. The 2013 postseason marks the seventh straight year the MW has sent at least five teams to bowls.
Mountain West Champion and No. 20 Fresno State (11-1, 7-1 MW) will face No. 25 USC (9-4, 6-3 Pac-12) in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl. The Bulldogs, who accepted their bid Saturday night after winning the inaugural Mountain West Championship game, 24-17, over Utah State, return to the Las Vegas Bowl for the first time since playing Utah in the 1999 event. The Trojans have played in the Las Vegas Bowl once, facing Utah on Christmas Day in 2001. Fresno State and USC have met twice on the gridiron. The Bulldogs defeated the Trojans 24-7 in the 1992 Freedom Bowl and USC won the 2005 meeting in Los Angeles, 50-42. The Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl will be played Saturday, Dec. 21, at 12:30 p.m. PT, and aired on ABC.
Mountain West runner-up Utah State (8-5, 7-1 MW) will play Mid-American Conference runner-up and No. 23 Northern Illinois in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. The Aggies won their final five games of the regular season to capture the Mountain Division of the Mountain West and advance to the inaugural MW Football Championship Game, where they lost to Fresno State. Utah State is playing in its third straight bowl game for the first time in school history. The Huskies won the West Division of the Mid-American Conference before losing to Bowling Green 47-27 in the MAC Championship Game this year. NIU will be making its sixth consecutive bowl appearance and previously played in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl in 2006, losing to TCU. This will be the second-ever meeting between Northern Illinois and Utah State. The Aggies recorded a 42-7 home win against the Huskies on Oct. 14, 1995. The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl will be played on Thursday, Dec. 26, at 7:30 p.m. (PT) and will be televised on ESPN.
Colorado State (7-6, 5-3 MW) accepted an invitation to play in the eighth annual Gildan New Mexico Bowl. The Rams, who will be making their 13th postseason appearance, will face Washington State (6-6, 4-5 Pac-12). The Cougars are making their first bowl appearance since 2003 and 11th overall as a program. This will mark the first meeting between the two teams. The Gildan New Mexico Bowl will kick off the FBS postseason at Noon MT on Saturday, Dec. 21 and the game will be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN Radio.
San Diego State (7-5, 6-2 MW) will play in its fourth consecutive bowl when it takes on Buffalo (8-4, 6-2 MAC) of the Mid-American Conference in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, in Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. MT on ESPN and ESPN Radio. The Bulls are bowl-eligible for just the second time as an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision program. This is the first meeting between the Aztecs and Bulls, and the first time either team will have played in the Boise-based bowl game.
Boise State (8-4, 6-2 MW) will make its 12th straight bowl appearance when the Broncos face Pac-12 opponent Oregon State (6-6, 4-5 Pac-12) in the Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl. This will be the Broncos' second trip to the Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl, having fallen to East Carolina in 2007. The Beavers have played four postseason games in Hawaii. This will be the eighth meeting between the two programs with OSU holding a 4-3 advantage. The Broncos won the last game on Sept. 25, 2010 in Boise, 37-24, and are scheduled to travel to Corvallis next season. Kickoff for the Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl is set for 3 p.m. HT on Tuesday, Dec. 24 and will air on ESPN and ESPN Radio.
UNLV (7-5, 5-3 MW) is heading to its first bowl game in 13 years and will play North Texas (8-4, 6-2 Sun Belt) on Wednesday, Jan. 1 in the Heart of Dallas Bowl Presented by PlainsCapital Bank. The game will be played at the historic Cotton Bowl Stadium at 11 a.m. CT on ESPNU. The teams will be playing each other for the first time since 2000 when UNLV won 38-0 at Sam Boyd Stadium. The Rebels, who are 3-0 in bowl games, have won all four previous meetings with the Mean Green.