Arizona Bowl

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Arizona Bowl
Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl
Stadium Arizona Stadium
Location Tucson, Arizona
Operated 2015 – present
Conference tie-ins Mountain West, Sun Belt
Nova Home Loans (2015–)
2016 matchup
South Alabama vs. Air Force (Air Force 45–21)
2017 matchup
Utah State vs. New Mexico State (New Mexico State 26–20 OT)

The Arizona Bowl is a post-season college football bowl game certified by the NCAA that began play in the 2015 season. The game, which is held at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, is played between bowl-eligible teams from the Mountain West Conference and Sun Belt Conference. Since its inception, it had been sponsored by Nova Home Loans and officially known as the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl.

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 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 Mountain West teams, marking the first time since 1979 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).[1] 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 Cactus Bowl).[2]

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,[3] 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 does not have a bowl-eligible team to play the Arizona Bowl.[3][4]

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 did not play each other in the season, and they are in opposite divisions.[5]

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 is the fifth bowl game in which the Sun Belt holds a primary tie-in.[6]

Game results[edit]

Date Winning Team Losing Team Attnd. 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[7] notes


Year Offensive MVP Defensive MVP
Player Team Pos. Player Team Pos.
2015 James Butler Nevada RB Ian Seau Nevada DE
2016 Arion Worthman Air Force QB Weston Steelhammer Air Force DB
2017[8] Larry Rose III New Mexico State RB Leon McQuaker New Mexico State LB

Most appearances[edit]

Rank Team Appearances Record
T1 Air Force 1 1–0
T1 Nevada 1 1–0
T1 New Mexico State 1 1–0
T1 Colorado State 1 0–1
T1 South Alabama 1 0–1
T1 Utah State 1 0–1

Appearances by conference[edit]

Through the December 2017 playing, there have been 3 games (6 total appearances).

Rank Conference Appearances Wins Losses Pct.
1 Mountain West[n 1] 4 2 2 .500
2 Sun Belt 2 1 1 .500
  1. ^ The 2015 game was contested between two Mountain West teams.


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.)[9] to provide interactive in-game content, as well as pre-game, halftime, and post-game shows for the webcast.[4][10][11]

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.[12][13]

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) will no longer be involved in the broadcast.[14]


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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Austin's bowl game hopes delayed to 2016". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  2. ^ "Mountain West adds Arizona Bowl to its post season lineup". MWConnection (SBNation). Vox Media. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Inaugural Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl to kick-off in Tucson on Dec. 29". Turner Sports. Mountain West Conference. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "Sun Belt gets secondary affiliation with new Arizona Bowl". Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  5. ^ "Commissioner calls bowl matchup of two MWC teams 'a travesty'". Retrieved 30 December 2015. 
  6. ^ "Sun Belt adds Arizona Bowl to postseason tie-in lineup". The Advertiser. Gannett Company. Retrieved 8 October 2016. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Time Inc.-Backed 120 Sports to Launch Internet Video Network with MLB and Other Leagues". Variety. Retrieved 30 December 2015. 
  10. ^ "Arizona Bowl: Campus Insiders to stream game, TV partner in the works". MWConnection (SBNation). Vox Media. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  12. ^ "Arizona Bowl: American Sports Network to air game". MWConnection (SBNation). Vox Media. Retrieved 7 November 2015. 
  13. ^ "NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl returns to ASN in December". American Sports Network. Sinclair Broadcast Group. Retrieved 8 October 2016. 
  14. ^ "Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl to air on CBS Sports Network". Retrieved 19 April 2017. 

External links[edit]