The Las Vegas Bowl, which typically pits the Mountain West conference champion against a Pac-12 team, could be changing its conference tie-ins. Last Thursday, Brett McMurphy reported that the Las Vegas Bowl will likely be hosting an SEC vs Pac-12 showdown starting in 2020. This change comes as the Oakland, soon to be Las Vegas, Raiders will be constructing a new $1.8 billion-dollar stadium in the city, making it a more attractive location to host a bowl game.
Sources: Starting in 2020, Las Vegas Bowl will feature Pac-12 vs. another Power 5 league (SEC most intriguing possibility) in Vegas’ new NFL stadium, ending the bowl’s 19-year run w/Mountain West. In 2020, MWC could send its champ to Arizona Bowl https://t.co/Mc0DOws4qR— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) June 7, 2018
Although still very likely it’s important to note that nothing is currently set in stone, as the Mountain West would like to remind us.
The Mountain West says that today’s report regarding their future affiliation with the Las Vegas Bowl was “premature and speculative.”— Jay Tust (@KTVBSportsGuy) June 7, 2018
Here is the full statement the conference provided @KTVB. pic.twitter.com/7O68ch6s2S
What does this mean for the Mountain West?
For the past two decades, the Las Vegas Bowl has been the most consistent opportunity for the best Mountain West team to compete against Power 5 talent. Setting aside New Years 6, or BCS, bowl games the Las Vegas Bowl accounts for almost half of Mountain West bowl games against Power 5 teams over the past decade.
Consistent representation in the Las Vegas Bowl allows the Mountain West to show its strength at a time where Group of 5 teams are continually disrespected. Whether it be the 2015 Houston Cougars finishing 8th, or the undefeated 2017 UCF Black Knights finishing 6th, the College Football Playoff Selection Committee has shown their distaste for Group of 5 teams. Bowls like the Las Vegas Bowl, Heart of Dallas Bowl, and Military Bowl promote competition between Power 5 and Group of 5 teams and show just how strong Group of 5 teams really are.
The restructuring of the Las Vegas Bowl could also have financial consequences for the Mountain West. The bowl has the largest payout of any of the bowl games the Mountain West has automatic bids with.
What is the Mountain Wests Next Move?
This is a huge blow, but the Mountain West is too big to not find another formidable bowl game to send their conference champion to. McMurphy reported that the Arizona Bowl could be a possible replacement, but at this point, nothing has been solidified. Hopefully, we’ll get confirmation of another Pac-12/Mountain West bowl game sometime soon.
As things unfold, continue to follow @MWCConnection and its writers on Twitter for all the latest info. Also, leave a comment on your thoughts about this move and what you would like to see happen next.