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.
|Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl|
|Conference tie-ins||Mountain West, MAC|
|Previous conference tie-ins||Sun Belt (2016–2019)|
Nova Home Loans (2015–present)
|Arkansas State vs. Nevada (Nevada 16–13 OT)|
|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.
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). 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).
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, 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.
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.
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. 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.
|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|
|Year||Offensive MVP||Defensive MVP||Ref.|
|2015||James Butler||Nevada||RB||Ian Seau||Nevada||DE|||
|2016||Arion Worthman||Air Force||QB||Weston Steelhammer||Air Force||DB|||
|2017||Larry Rose III||New Mexico State||RB||Leon McQuaker||New Mexico State||LB|||
|2018||Ty Gangi||Nevada||QB||B. J. Edmonds||Arkansas State||S|||
|2019||Xazavian Valladay||Wyoming||RB||Alijah Halliburton||Wyoming||S|||
Updated through the December 2019 edition (5 games, 10 total appearances).
- Teams with multiple appearances
- Teams with a single appearance
Appearances by conferenceEdit
Updated through the December 2019 edition (5 games, 10 total appearances).
|Conference||Record||Appearances by season|
|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.
|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)
|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
|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|
|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
|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|
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.) to provide interactive in-game content, as well as pre-game, halftime, and post-game shows for the webcast.
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.
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.
|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|
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- "Austin's bowl game hopes delayed to 2016". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
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- "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.
- "Sun Belt gets secondary affiliation with new Arizona Bowl". AL.com. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
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- @CoachMoose (December 29, 2018). "Congratulations @tygangi on a great finish to your college career" (Tweet). Retrieved December 29, 2018 – via Twitter.
- 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.
- @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.
- "Time Inc.-Backed 120 Sports to Launch Internet Video Network with MLB and Other Leagues". Variety. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
- "Arizona Bowl: Campus Insiders to stream game, TV partner in the works". MWConnection (SBNation). Vox Media. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
- "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.
- "Arizona Bowl: American Sports Network to air game". MWConnection (SBNation). Vox Media. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
- "NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl returns to ASN in December". American Sports Network. Sinclair Broadcast Group. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
- "Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl to air on CBS Sports Network". Tucson.com. Retrieved 19 April 2017.