Progressively, Vegas is going big-time in sports.
In the process, it appears, the Mountain West Conference is a loser.
Thursday, independent journalist Brett McMurphy reported that the Las Vegas Bowl is planning to sever its longstanding tie-in with the Mountain West.
Instead, McMurphy wrote, citing anonymous sources, the Las Vegas Bowl will match teams from the Pac-12 and another Power Five conference, possibly the SEC.
The move would be a damaging blow to the Mountain West, which would be left without a bowl tie-in with a Power Five conference.
Until last year, Las Vegas — for all its wealth — was a minor-league sports town. Then, the Vegas Golden Knights entered the National Hockey League. Not far behind are the Oakland Raiders, who plan to move to Vegas and into a brand-new stadium in 2020.
The Las Vegas Bowl-Mountain West tie-in would end at that point, McMurphy wrote.
The UNLV football team is expected to become a co-tenant at the new stadium.
If McMurphy’s sources are correct, the Las Vegas Bowl has come to the conclusion that it has outgrown the Mountain West — though UNLV is an MWC member school.
The report has not been confirmed by the Las Vegas Bowl or by the Mountain West.
The past several years, the Las Vegas Bowl has been the preferred site for the Mountain West champion. McMurphy speculated that the Arizona Bowl (Tucson) might inherit that status after the Las Vegas Bowl’s exit.
The New Mexico Lobos twice have played in the Las Vegas Bowl, losing to 27-13 to UCLA in 2002 (a game noteworthy for Katie Hnida’s historic appearance as a kicker for UNM) and 55-14 to Oregon State the following year.