The Maaco Las Vegas Bowl made a surprising announcement Sunday night as executive director Dan Henneke announced that the Las Vegas, Nev.-based bowl game would pick either current Mountain West co-champion, the Fresno State Bulldogs, or potential MWC co-champion, the Boise St. Broncos.
But not MWC co-champion the San Diego St. Aztecs.
''Both Boise State and Fresno State have had outstanding seasons and either would help give us a great matchup next month,'' Hanneke said in a press release.
According to the press release posted on the official Maaco Las Vegas Bowl website, the official announcement of match up of the game, which will be played on Saturday, Dec. 22 at 12:30 PT, is scheduled to be released a week from today. The announcement is affected by the Bowl Championship Series' picking process, which will affect both the Pac-12 as well as the MWC as the BCS has decided to hold Boise St. until the entire BCS slate is announced next Sunday night.
The announcement tonight, as well as previous announcements by the Armed Forces Bowl and New Mexico Bowl, leaves San Diego State with one of two MWC bowl destinations - the San Diego-based Pointsettia Bowl or the Oahu-based Hawai'i Bowl.
The Armed Forces Bowl invited the 6-6 Air Force Falcons and the nation's 19th ranked rusher Cody Getz a week ago, on Saturday, Nov. 17. The New Mexico Bowl invited the Nevada Wolf Pack and the nation's 2nd ranked rusher, Stefphon Jefferson, earlier Sunday night.
A Boise State win over Nevada Saturday night would place the Broncos and quarterback Joe Southwick in the Las Vegas Bowl. The Pointsettia Bowl would then chose between hometown SDSU and Fresno St. A Boise St. loss would send Fresno St. and its NFL-ready quarterback Derek Carr to Vegas and give the Pointsettia Bowl a choice between SDSU and Boise St.
Given their large national following, it seem that the Broncos would get the nod over the Aztecs and freshman running sensation Adam Muema for the Pointsettia Bowl if they falter against the Wolf Pack Saturday. But San Diego State's co-championship and hometown status - as well as ESPN's desire to avoid a rematch of the BYU-Boise State game earlier season - could trump Boise State's allure, sending the Broncos to the Hawaii Bowl.
Sunday night's announcement also places Fresno St. in a bizarre situation where it could be picked fifth and be sent to Hawaii if the Pointsettia Bowl goes with a hometown choice of SDSU should Boise St. be able to claim a piece of the MWC title Saturday night.
Tonight's announcement makes this weekend's Boise St.-Nevada game a must watch not only in Boise and Reno but also in San Diego and Fresno's Central Valley.