The Mountain West Conference will be playing in five different bowl games again this season. It makes the fifth consecutive year that five Mountain West teams have qualified and been accepted for postseason play. The Mountain West teams begin postseason play on Saturday with two teams, Wyoming and San Diego State, both appearing just hours apart:
First up is the Gilden New Mexico Bowl: Wyoming (8-4, 5-2) vs. Temple (8-4, 5-3) the representative from the Mid-American Conference. The two teams have met once before, in 1990 where Wyoming won a home game by a score of 38-23. This is only Wyoming's second trip to the New Mexico Bowl, but it marks their 13th overall bowl appearance. The last time the Pokes were down in Albuquerque was in 2009 when they defeated Fresno State 35-28 in the 2009 New Mexico Bowl. The game this year will also be held at University Stadium in Albuquerque on Saturday, December 17, and get underway at 12:00 PM MT and televised on ESPN.
Second up will be the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: San Diego State (8-4, 4-3)vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4, 6-2) representing the Sun Belt Conference. The San Diego State Aztecs have never played the Ragin' Cajuns so it should prove to be an interesting matchup. This will be San Diego's second bowl game in as many years. Last year they played Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl and walked away with a win, 35-14. It was the first victory in postseason play for the Aztecs since a win over Boston University in the Pasadena Bowl in 1969. The R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl will be played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La., and also on Saturday, December 17, following the Gilden New Mexico Bowl. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 PM MT and will be televised on ESPN.
Four days later, on Wednesday, December 21, the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl kicks off. In a battle of champions, the Mountain West Conference champion and 18th-ranked TCU (10-2, 7-0) will take on Louisiana Tech (8-4, 6-1) the Western Athletic Conference champion. It marks the 7th consecutive bowl appearance for the Horned Frogs and their 27th overall, and their third appearance the Poinsettia Bowl. The Frogs defeated Boise State there, 17-16 in 2008, and savaged Northern Illinois 37-7 in 2006. The game this Wednesday gets underway at 5 PM PT, and will be televised on ESPN.
The fourth MWC Bowl comes the following day in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas where #7 ranked Boise State (11-1, 6-1) goes against Pac-12 Conference opponent Arizona State (6-6, 4-5). This won't be the first time the Broncos and Sun Devils have met. In 1996, the Sun Devils gave the Broncos, then a member of the Big West Conference, a complete curb-stomping in Tempe, AZ with a 56-7 beatdown. Hopefully, the Broncos will be in a mood to return the favor even though that loss fifteen years ago is ancient history to the young players who now wear the blue and orange uniforms. This will be Boise State's second consecutive appearance in the MAACO Bowl. Last year as a member of the WAC, they hammered MWC member Utah with a 26-3 thrashing to send the Utes on their way to the Pac 12. The Maaco Bowl marks the 9th straight post-season bowl game for the Broncos. Thursday's game will be at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, December 22, at 6 PM MT and broadcast on ESPN.
The fifth and final postseaon game featuring a MWC team takes place in the Military Bowl, sponsored by Northrop Grumman, and played at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Air Force (7-5, 3-4) will be play the Toledo Rockets (8-4, 7-1) of the Mid-American Conference. This game will be the Falcons 5th straight bowl appearance and their 22nd overall. Last year the Falcons defeated Georgia Teck in the 2010 Independence Bowl, and Houston the year before in the 2009 Armed Forces Bowl. This game marks the Falcons first-ever appearance in the Military Bowl and their first ever with the Toledo Rockets. The east coast game gets underway on Wednesday, December 28, and will be broadcast at 4:30 PM ET (6:30 MT) on ESPN.