In this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly,” we are keying in on Mountain West bowl tie-ins. In the last few years, the Mountain West has seen some changes on its bowl schedule, but there are some partnerships that have been there for quite some time. Let’s analyze them.
Los Angeles Bowl
The new Las Vegas Bowl. The Mountain West champion lands here if they do not qualify for the New Years Six. Los Angeles is a great place to visit in the winter; the weather is mild and many players from the conference are from Southern California. Flights are also easy to find and usually fairly affordable. It is also the only bowl tie-in that guarantees a Power 5 opponent. This is an ideal bowl destination for the conference. Too bad we couldn’t keep Vegas as well.
Hawaii for Christmas? Yes, please. Great location, not such a great stadium. Usually it is a decent drive from the hotels to the stadium and the game usually has really low attendance, especially if Hawaii isn’t in the game. I find it surprising that the Mountain West cannot secure a Power 5 opponent for this game, but the AAC is a nice consolation prize.
I love french fries, and the potato gimmick is pretty catchy. Those are the only reasons this game doesn’t land in the “Ugly” category. Boise is a great city, but it is not a place you want to shell out a lot of money to visit in the winter unless you are visiting Sun Valley or McCall, as well. There is a reason Boise State hasn’t played in this game for more than a decade.
Decent location. decent opponent (maybe). Frisco did not treat the Mountain West well this last year, but there is some potential with this bowl game, especially if it becomes a game against the AAC.
New Mexico Bowl
This used to be a pretty respectable bowl game. They would occasionally land a Power 5 team and match them with a Mountain West squad, but this game has really fallen off. It is usually played early in the morning on the first day of the bowl season, and I have zero desire to watch any Mountain West team play against the MAC.
A bowl that came out of nowhere and struggled to find a decent television partner. You know you are on the bottom of the ladder when you feature teams from the same conference. Do you guys remember 2015? I sure do. Let’s find a way to get rid of Sun Belt and MAC opponents and try to schedule more games with the AAC if the Power 5 isn’t available.
The Cheez-It Bowl would land in the “Good” category, but the Mountain West is only an alternate if the Big Ten or Big 12 do not have enough bowl eligible teams.
That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” Next week we will take a look at team mascots.