COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Mountain West Conference announced today its bowl agreements for the next six-year cycle, unveiling a creative approach to the postseason which coincides with the implementation of the new College Football Playoff (CFP).
The number of appearances for the Mountain West will be driven by on-the-field performance, starting with the opportunity to play in the national semifinals or another New Year's bowl game as part of the new CFP arrangement. The highest-rated champion from among the five non-contracted conferences is guaranteed a slot in the system, and in the 14 seasons since its inception, the Mountain West's champion or a current MW member has secured that position 11 times, placing teams in the Fiesta (2), Rose and Sugar (2) Bowls during that period.
The MW is also finalizing agreements with eight (8) different bowl games that in any given year will generate six (6) or seven (7) postseason opportunities for its member institutions. These include primary positions in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Gildan New Mexico Bowl, R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl and Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl - and a secondary position with the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
After a first selection by the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, where the MW will face a team from the Pac-12 each season, the Mountain West will collaborate with its bowl partners to determine the annual placement of teams, with an emphasis on geographic proximity, avoiding repeat trips by any one institution and creation of the most compelling match-ups for each market. In two years during the cycle, the MW will rotate a team into the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl to take on a Big Ten opponent - opening up the Las Vegas Bowl one year and the Hawai‘i Bowl in another.
The Mountain West has contracted with the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl to replace either the Big 12 or Pac-12 in the event one of those conferences does not place a team in any year during the cycle. In addition, the MW will work in concert with several other conferences and ESPN Regional Television (ERT) to fill and/or back-up slots in a cross-section of eight (8) other bowl games nationally.
"We are excited about this new bowl model," said Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson. "The flexibility it offers helps maximize the best interests of our member institutions, coaches, student-athletes, fans and bowl partners."