In its triumphant return to bowl season, New Mexico has earned a trip to ... New Mexico. That might not be where most players hope to go for a bowl game, but it's great for an improving Lobos squad that will get a home field advantage against border rival Arizona.
New Mexico hasn't been to a bowl game since 2007 -- a shutout win in this same game against Nevada -- and it looks like things are on the upswing for the Lobos. Granted, the Mountain West hasn't been great this year, but New Mexico was in the tougher division and came out tied for second. The program has really struggled after the terrible Mike Locksley era, so this is a needed step in the right direction under coach Bob Davie.
There has been considerably less excitement in Tucson this season. Arizona won the Pac-12 South last year, but things didn't go as smoothly this year. Anu Solomon and Jerrard Randall split time at quarterback, due to Solomon's poor play at times and injury, and the entire Wildcats team was very inconsistent. There were the blowout losses to Washington, UCLA, Arizona State and Stanford, the close losses to Washington State and USC, and the win over Utah. This team has talent, but it hasn't always utilized that talent well.
How to watch, stream and listen
TV: 2 p.m. ET, ESPN
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Spread: Arizona is favored by 10 points.
Three big things to know
1. What will New Mexico's home field advantage be like? Not many teams get to play at home for bowl games, and the Lobos will have that luxury in their first return to the postseason since 2007. Considering that drought, could New Mexico fans come out en masse? The Lobos will need the advantage as big underdogs.
2. Here's a plus for Arizona: The Wildcats will have star linebacker Scooby Wright back from injury, as he's been practicing for the game. Wright was a contender for every major defensive award heading into the season, but he hardly played due to injuries. He'll be a major asset, and his absence for most of the season really hurt the Wildcats.
3. Solomon showed a lot of promise in his first season with Arizona, but he had a bit of a sophomore slump that was hurt even more by injuries. He should be healthy for the bowl game, but will his play be improved? If it is, he'll give Wildcats fans a lot more hope heading into next season.