MOUNTAIN WEST BOWL NOTES
December 18, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
MOUNTAIN WEST BOWL NOTES
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. Over the last nine 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 25-16 mark (.610)
during that span. The MW is the only conference to win the trophy four times since
the award's inception in 2002-03.
With victories in Week 14, Colorado State (7-6) and San José State (6-6) joined
Fresno State (11-1), Boise State (8-4), San Diego State (7-5), UNLV (7-5) and Utah
State (8-5) as the Mountain West's bowl-eligible teams for the 2013 season. The
seven bowl-eligible teams is a new Mountain West record, breaking the old mark of
five accomplished each of the previous eight seasons. The MW has boasted at least
five bowl-eligible teams 10 times since the league's inception in 1999.
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 1999. 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. 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.
MW COACHES IN BOWL GAMES
San Diego State's Rocky Long will be making his third straight bowl appearance in
his third season at the helm of the Aztecs. Long had previously led New Mexico to
five bowl game appearances in his final seven seasons as the Lobos' head coach.
Second-year head coach Tim DeRuyter will be guiding the Bulldogs to the postseason
for the second straight year. Prior to his current position at Fresno State,
DeRuyter served as the interim head coach for Texas A&M in the 2011 Meineke Car Care
Bowl of Texas, leading the Aggies to a 33-22 victory over Northwestern. In his
second season at Colorado State, Jim McElwain will be making his first bowl
appearance as a head coach. McElwain joined the Rams after a four-year stint as the
offensive coordinator for Alabama, which won three bowls, including two BCS National
Championships, during his time from 2008-11. UNLV's Bobby Hauck will lead the Rebels
to a bowl game for the first time in his four-year head coaching career at the FBS
level. Prior to his current position, Hauck oversaw the Montana Grizzlies, who made
three appearances in the FCS National Championship Game in his tenure. Utah State's
Matt Wells will be guiding the Aggies to the postseason in his inaugural season.
Wells served as an assistant at USU the previous two seasons that saw the Aggies
make consecutive bowl appearances. Boise State's Bob Gregory, who is completing his
fifth season as an assistant on the BSU staff and his second as assistant head
coach, will serve as interim head coach of the Broncos in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl.
Gregory takes over for Chris Petersen, who had led Boise State to a bowl game in
each of his seven years at the helm of the Broncos.