Air Force and Idaho are the latest consensus choices to play in ASN’s bowl game — the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl on Dec. 30 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson.
The game features a matchup of teams from the Mountain West and Sun Belt or Conference USA.
Idaho (4-4), which is leaving the Sun Belt after next season and returning to FCS and the Big Sky Conference, needs two wins in its last four games to be bowl eligible. The Vandals play UL Lafayette on Saturday in a Sun Belt game.
Air Force (5-3) plays at Army West Point Saturday and can clinch its 20th Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy with a win. The Falcons beat Navy, 28-14, on Oct. 1.
Troy Calhoun’s squad is third in Mountain West total offense led by a rushing attack averaging 295.9 yards per game. The Falcons’ have three running backs with 375 yards or more, led by Jacobi Owens (505).
New Mexico is another possibility from the Mountain West. The Lobos (5-3) lead the nation with 357 rushing yards per game. The 1-2 punch of Teriyon Gipson (10.7) and Tyrone Owens (8.2) lead the nation in rushing yards per carry.
Bob Davie’s team can clinch bowl eligibility with a victory Saturday against Nevada. Davie, who was fired by Notre Dame in 2001 after going 35-25 in five seasons with three bowl losses, is looking for his first bowl victory.The Lobos, 11-26 in Davie’s first three seasons, finished 7-6 last year with a 47-37 loss to Arizona in the New Mexico Bowl.
Nevada (3-5) won last year’s inaugural NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, beating Colorado State 28-23.
“Well, that was fun. It was a really fun football game,” Wolfpack head coach Brian Polian said after his first bowl win in three seasons at Nevada. “It want to say publicly that this was a great experience. This was a great bowl.”
Here are the latest media projections for the Arizona Bowl encore: