ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, citing unnamed sources, reports that the Mountain West Conference and college football’s other FBS non-power leagues are seeking to create additional bowl games beginning in 2014.
Since teams from the power conferences (Big 12, SEC, Big 10, ACC, Pac-12) prefer to play against each other in bowl games, largely for financial easons, McMurphy writes that the “Group of Five” (Mountain West, Conference USA, American Athletic, Mid-American, Sun Belt) is exploring the possibility of bowl games in far-off places like Dubai, Ireland, Nassau, the Bahamas and Toronto, as well as less exotic locales like Los Angeles, Orlando and Little Rock.
As of now, the Mountain West has tie-ins with the New Mexico, Las Vegas, Hawaii, Armed Forces and Poinsettia bowls. The Gildan New Mexico Bowl and the Maaco Bowl of Las Vegas match a Mountain West team with a Pac-10 team; the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl is Mountain West vs. C-USA. The Poinsettia Bowl has an agreement with Army, provided the Cadets are bowl-eligible. The Armed Forces Bowl is MWC-Conference USA for now, but the game has future agreements with Army and Navy in alternate years.
One problem, McMurphy notes, could be qualifying enough teams for bowl eligibility. Last season. the Mountain West had five eligible teams for its five bowls. No other league team won more than four games.
It certainly helps, from that standpoint, that the Mountain West adds Utah State and San Jose State this year. Both went to bowl games last season.
In a text, New Mexico athletic director Paul Krebs told the Journal that the Mountain West has expressed little interest in Dubai or Nassau as a bowl site. Instead, he wrote, “(The) focus is on current partners and other regional games.”