By Brian Murphy
The Las Vegas Bowl will keep the No. 1 selection among bowl-eligible Mountain West teams through 2019, while Boise’s Famous Idaho Potato Bowl will have the No. 6 pick, according to a report from ESPN’s Brett McMurphy.
The Poinsettia Bowl (San Diego) will have the No. 2 pick. According to the report, the Hawaii Bowl (Honolulu), the Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth, Texas) and the New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque) will share the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 picks. If Hawaii is eligible, it will play in the Hawaii Bowl.
The six-year contracts run from 2014 through 2019.
The Mountain West has current tie-ins with all six bowl games. The current order is Las Vegas, Poinsettia, Armed Forces, New Mexico, Hawaii and Famous Idaho Potato. Boise State has won the last three Las Vegas bowls.
The 12-team league is looking for a seventh bowl, according to the report.
Mountain West teams will also have the opportunity to play in one of the six “College Football Playoff” bowls. The six games (Rose, Fiesta, Cotton, Orange, Sugar and Chick-Fil-A) will have one spot for the highest-ranked conference champion from a group of five conferences (Mountain West, Conference USA, Mid-American, American and Sun Belt).
The Mountain West told the Idaho Statesman on Tuesday morning it is still finalizing its bowl agreements.
Projected bowl lineup 2014-19
1. Las Vegas (vs. Pac-12)
2. Poinsettia (vs. Navy in 2014, BYU and Army in 2015 and beyond)
3/4/5. Hawaii (vs. American or Conference USA)
3/4/5. Armed Forces (vs. Conference USA)
3/4/5. New Mexico (vs. Conference USA)
6. Famous Idaho Potato (vs. Mid-American)
What it means
• The new lineup (just like the old lineup) will not offer the Mountain West many chances to test itself against teams from the current BCS conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12).
• With potentially three games against new-look Conference USA (a league that has been gutted by the American Athletic Conference), the Mountain West needs the new teams in C-USA to play well or risk unappealing bowl match-ups.
• On the plus side, all of the games are in the West (if you include Texas as west). That means fans should be able to attend any of the games.
• With the sixth pick, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl isn’t likely to have much choice in the team it selects, but having a tie-in with the Mountain West is critical to the bowl’s future.