With the Pac-12 not having enough team to fill out their bowl spots it was looking like to be a detriment for who the Mountain West would play in the Las Vegas Bowl. Mississippi State and North Texas were considered to be a non-attractive offer as both teams are 5-7.
However, there seems to be some trading going on and the Houston Cougars could be matched up and play a top tier Mountain West team.
Multiple reports from ESPN’s Brett McMurphy and Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle say Houston is heading to Las Vegas.
St. Pete Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Miami, Ohio; Vegas Bowl: San Diego State/Wyoming winner vs. Houston, industry sources said— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) December 4, 2016
Source confirms @UHCougarFB will play San Diego State/Wyoming winner in Dec. 17 Las Vegas Bowl. Kickoff: 2:30 pm CT pic.twitter.com/qBrFfe6piB— Joseph Duarte (@Joseph_Duarte) December 4, 2016
One has to wonder if ESPN and ABC had a hand in making this game happen as it is one of the few bowl games that is on broadcast television, and having a 5-7 team take on the Mountain West champion would not look good.
Houston was a darling team to not just earn the Group of Five automatic bid for a New Year’s Six bowl game but a playoff berth was being talked about. The Cougars topped Oklahoma in the first week and moved into the top 10, but as the season went on they lost three American games and did not win their division, but they also secured another good win by crushing Louisville late in the year.
Now the Las Vegas Bowl goes from a meh matchup to one that will be more exciting with a brand name in Houston taking on the Mountain West champion San Diego State.