The Arizona Bowl is a post-season college football bowl game certified by the NCAA that began play in the 2015 season. The game is held at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, and starting in 2020 has tie-ins with the Mountain West Conference and Mid-American Conference (MAC). Since its inception, the bowl has been sponsored by Nova Home Loans and is officially known as the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl.

Arizona Bowl
Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl
ArizonaBowl.png
StadiumArizona Stadium
LocationTucson, Arizona
Operated2015–present
Conference tie-insMountain West, MAC
Previous conference tie-insSun Belt (2016–2019)
PayoutUS$350,000 (2019)[1]
Sponsors
Nova Home Loans (2015–present)
2018 matchup
Arkansas State vs. Nevada (Nevada 16–13 OT)
2019 matchup
Wyoming vs. Georgia State (Wyoming 38–17)

The inaugural game was held on December 29, 2015, between the Nevada Wolf Pack and the Colorado State Rams. It was to be played between teams from Conference USA and the Mountain West, with the Sun Belt Conference as a secondary tie-in. However, due to a lack of bowl-eligible Conference USA and Sun Belt teams to meet the tie-in, the game was ultimately played between two Mountain West teams, marking the first time since the 1979 Orange Bowl that two teams from the same conference appeared in a non-championship bowl.

HistoryEdit

Alongside the Austin Bowl and Cure Bowl, the Arizona Bowl was one of three new bowl games sanctioned by the NCAA to begin play in the 2015 season (although the Austin Bowl was delayed to 2016, before ultimately being delayed indefinitely due to a moratorium placed on new bowl games by the NCAA).[2] In May 2015, it was reported that the game was to be held at Arizona Stadium, and feature participants from Conference USA and the Mountain West Conference. It marked a return of post-season college football to Tucson, Arizona, which previously hosted the Copper Bowl (the event now known as the Cheez-It Bowl).[3]

The Arizona Bowl was officially announced on October 1, 2015 as the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl. Founded by the Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission (ASEC), Alan Young, Kemp Ellis, Nikki Balich, the Mountain West Conference and Campus Insiders in a joint venture,[4] the inaugural game was scheduled to be held on December 29, 2015. It was also announced that the Sun Belt Conference would provide a secondary tie-in in case either conference did not have a bowl-eligible team to play the Arizona Bowl.[4][5]

The inaugural game featured the Nevada Wolf Pack against the Colorado State Rams. As neither Conference USA or the Sun Belt had enough bowl-eligible teams that could be sent to the Arizona Bowl, the game was played between two Mountain West teams, marking the first time since the 1979 Orange Bowl that a non-championship bowl game was played between teams from the same conference. However, the two teams had not played each other during the regular season, as they competed in different divisions.[6]

In May 2016, it was announced that the Sun Belt had reached a four-year deal to serve as a primary tie-in for the Arizona Bowl through 2019, replacing Conference USA. It was the fifth bowl game in which the Sun Belt held a primary tie-in.[7] On July 26, 2019, the bowl announced tie-ins with the Mountain West and Mid-American Conference (MAC) beginning in the 2020 football season and running through the 2025 season.[8][9]

Game resultsEdit

Date Winning Team Losing Team Attendance Notes
December 29, 2015 Nevada 28 Colorado State 23 20,425 notes
December 30, 2016 Air Force 45 South Alabama 21 33,868 notes
December 29, 2017 New Mexico State 26 Utah State 20 (OT) 39,132 notes
December 29, 2018 Nevada 16 Arkansas State 13 (OT) 32,368 notes
December 31, 2019 Wyoming 38 Georgia State 17 36,892 notes

MVPsEdit

Year Offensive MVP Defensive MVP Ref.
Player Team Pos. Player Team Pos.
2015 James Butler Nevada RB Ian Seau Nevada DE [10]
2016 Arion Worthman Air Force QB Weston Steelhammer Air Force DB [11]
2017 Larry Rose III New Mexico State RB Leon McQuaker New Mexico State LB [12]
2018 Ty Gangi Nevada QB B. J. Edmonds Arkansas State S [13][14]
2019 Xazavian Valladay Wyoming RB Alijah Halliburton Wyoming S [15]

Most appearancesEdit

Updated through the December 2019 edition (5 games, 10 total appearances).

Teams with multiple appearances
Rank Team Appearances Record Win pct.
1 Nevada 2 2–0 1.000
Teams with a single appearance

Won: Air Force, New Mexico State, Wyoming
Lost: Arkansas State, Colorado State, Georgia State, South Alabama, Utah State

Appearances by conferenceEdit

Updated through the December 2019 edition (5 games, 10 total appearances).

Conference Record Appearances by season
Games W L Win pct. Won Lost
Mountain West 6 4 2 .667 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 2015, 2017
Sun Belt 4 1 3 .250 2017 2016, 2018, 2019
  • The 2015 game was contested between two Mountain West teams.

Game recordsEdit

Team Record, Team vs. Opponent Year
Most points scored (one team) 45, Air Force vs. South Alabama 2016
Most points scored (losing team) 23, Colorado State vs. Nevada 2015
Most points scored (both teams) 66, Air Force (45) vs. South Alabama (21) 2016
Fewest points allowed 13, Nevada vs. Arkansas State 2018
Largest margin of victory 24, Air Force (45) vs. South Alabama (21) 2016
Total yards 532, Colorado State vs. Nevada 2015
Rushing yards 290, Wyoming vs. Georgia State 2019
Passing yards 310, Colorado State vs. Nevada 2015
First downs 30, Colorado State vs. Nevada 2015
Fewest yards allowed 285, Arkansas State vs. Nevada 2018
Fewest rushing yards allowed 68, Air Force vs. South Alabama 2016
Fewest passing yards allowed 74, Colorado State vs. Nevada 2015
Individual Record, Player, Team vs. Opponent Year
All-purpose yards 295, Xazavian Valladay, Wyoming vs. Georgia State
(204 rushing, 91 receiving)
2019
Touchdowns (all-purpose) 2, shared by Butler, Owens, and Valladay
Rushing yards 204, Xazavian Valladay, Wyoming vs. Georgia State 2019
Rushing touchdowns 2, shared by:
James Butler, Nevada vs. Colorado State
Jacobi Owens, Air Force vs. South Alabama
 
2015
2016
Passing yards 310, Nick Stevens, Colorado State vs. Nevada 2015
Passing touchdowns 3, Levi Williams, Wyoming vs Georgia State 2019
Receiving yards 154, Josh Magee, South Alabama vs. Air Force 2016
Receiving touchdowns 1, by several players
Tackles
Sacks
Interceptions 2, Justin Brent, Nevada vs. Arkansas State 2018
Long Plays Record, Player, Team vs. Opponent Year
Touchdown run 77, James Butler, Nevada vs. Colorado State 2015
Touchdown pass 75, shared by:
Josh Magee, South Alabama vs. Air Force
Jale Robinette, Air Force vs. South Alabama
 
2016
2016
Kickoff return 100, Jason Huntley, New Mexico State vs. Utah State 2017
Punt return 13, Andrew Celis, Nevada vs. Colorado State 2015
Interception return 27, David Woodward, Utah State vs. New Mexico State 2017
Fumble return 9, Rykeem Yates, Nevada vs. Colorado State 2015
Punt 69, Quinton Conaway, Nevada vs. Arkansas State 2018
Field goal 53, Cooper Rothe, Wyoming vs. Georgia State 2019

Media coverageEdit

Organizers stated that the Arizona Bowl would have a "digitally-focused" broadcasting strategy, first announcing that the website Campus Insiders (a joint venture of IMG College and Silver Chalice) would hold online streaming rights to the game as its "primary digital media partner". Campus Insiders, in turn, partnered with 120 Sports (a digital sports network that is a joint venture of Silver Chalice, MLB Advanced Media, and Time Inc.)[16] to provide interactive in-game content, as well as pre-game, halftime, and post-game shows for the webcast.[5][17][18]

Television rights to the 2015 and 2016 games were held by Sinclair Broadcast Group's American Sports Network; the telecasts were syndicated to local broadcast television stations and regional sports networks.[19][20]

On April 18, 2017, it was announced that CBS Sports Network had acquired rights to the Arizona Bowl under a "multi-year" deal; Campus Insiders (which merged with ASN to form the new Stadium network) is no longer involved in the broadcast.[21]

TelevisionEdit

Date Network Play-by-play announcers Color commentators Sideline reporters
2015 ASN Ron Thulin Doug Chapman Monica McNutt, Shae Peppler
2016 ASN Mike Gleason Doug Chapman Monica McNutt
Campus Insiders Ari Wolfe Darius Walker and Pete Yarbrough Shae Peppler
2017 CBS Sports Network Dave Ryan Corey Chavous Melanie Collins
2018 CBS Sports Network Rich Waltz Aaron Murray John Schriffen
2019 CBS Sports Network Rich Waltz Aaron Murray John Schriffen

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "2019 Bowl Schedule". collegefootballpoll.com. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  2. ^ "Austin's bowl game hopes delayed to 2016". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  3. ^ "Mountain West adds Arizona Bowl to its post season lineup". MWConnection (SBNation). Vox Media. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Inaugural Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl to kick-off in Tucson on Dec. 29". NCAA.com. Turner Sports. Mountain West Conference. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Sun Belt gets secondary affiliation with new Arizona Bowl". AL.com. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  6. ^ "Commissioner calls bowl matchup of two MWC teams 'a travesty'". ESPN.com. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  7. ^ "Sun Belt adds Arizona Bowl to postseason tie-in lineup". The Advertiser. Gannett Company. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  8. ^ "Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl Announces 2020-25 Conference Partnerships". footballbowlassociation.com (Press release). July 26, 2019. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
  9. ^ "College Football Bowl Game Changes to Begin in 2020". Stadium Network. March 5, 2019. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  10. ^ https://novaarizonabowl.com/about-us/history/nova-az-bowl-2015-game
  11. ^ https://novaarizonabowl.com/about-us/history/nova-az-bowl-2016-game
  12. ^ https://novaarizonabowl.com/about-us/history/nova-az-bowl-2017-game
  13. ^ @CoachMoose (December 29, 2018). "Congratulations @tygangi on a great finish to your college career" (Tweet). Retrieved December 29, 2018 – via Twitter.
  14. ^ Finley, Ryan (December 29, 2018). "'It's heartbreaking': Defense carried Arkansas State to within a minute of Arizona Bowl win". tucson.com. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  15. ^ @7220sports (December 31, 2019). "Xazavian Valladay is the offensive MVP of the Arizona Bowl. Alijah Halliburton claims the defensive MVP for the Pokes" (Tweet). Retrieved December 31, 2019 – via Twitter.
  16. ^ "Time Inc.-Backed 120 Sports to Launch Internet Video Network with MLB and Other Leagues". Variety. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  17. ^ "Arizona Bowl: Campus Insiders to stream game, TV partner in the works". MWConnection (SBNation). Vox Media. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  18. ^ "CAMPUS INSIDERS PARTNERS WITH MLBAM AND 120 SPORTS TO STREAM INAUGURAL NOVA® HOME LOANS ARIZONA BOWL FEATURING EXCLUSIVE, FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND PRODUCTION". Mountain West Conference. Archived from the original on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  19. ^ "Arizona Bowl: American Sports Network to air game". MWConnection (SBNation). Vox Media. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  20. ^ "NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl returns to ASN in December". American Sports Network. Sinclair Broadcast Group. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  21. ^ "Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl to air on CBS Sports Network". Tucson.com. Retrieved 19 April 2017.

External linksEdit